On a Sunday afternoon, more than 50 people are waiting in line for two hours, inching closer and closer to the entrance of popular Hamptons landmark The Boardy Barn. The only thing missing is a mechanical bull, but that may be too dangerous for the crowd that flocks to this bar each weekend.
The place that is only open for four hours on Sundays during the summer gets rowdy, but there are rules.
1. Don't wear an orange T-shirt. That's the color reserved for bouncers and blending with them is a no-no.
2. Don't walk around without a cup of beer in your hand, although most people seem to ignore that one.
3. No beer throwing.
So many rules you might say. But it doesn't dampen the mood. Walk in and expect to bump into make-out sessions, dirty dancing and patrons covered with stickers.
Welcome to The Boardy Barn in Hampton Bays.
Despite the location, the place is a hot ticket for Hamptons summer visitors. Many arrive two hours early to stand in line. Once inside, patrons can hang either in a small dimly lit bar, a tent with a bar or an outdoor yard.
The small bar has antiques on the shelves, old shoes dangling from the ceiling beams and pictures of past visitors and war memorabilia on the walls. It's a an ideal place to grab a $2 beer and dance. For those so inclined, the bartenders have smiley stickers that can help with introductions.
Don't get too excited, though. The cover charge is $20. And they don't mess around with underage drinking. Guys in uniforms look over the bouncers' shoulders while they check identification at the entrance.
On this particular Sunday, a patron wearing a Bud Lite T-shirt waits in line with 25 others who arrived on a party bus to spend a carefree late afternoon at the Barn. He said that the group goes here because of the Barn's reputation as a rowdy joint, and he likes the community effort to party.
His friend, Jill Buscacca, 24, has visited six times and she explained that it's best to come when it's raining.
"The dirtier you get, the better it is," said Buscacca, of Bellport. "And if you break a bone, you cut the line," she said as she smiled and pointed to her friend with a broken foot.
She also warned to not "pregame" because the four hours that the Barn is open (4 to 8 p.m.) is plenty of time to have fun.
This is possibly why the bouncers are everywhere -- overlooking the crowd, near the bars, in the tent and outside. They watch like unsmiling hawks. Visitors try to put stickers on the bouncers wearing the orange T-shirts with the words "Only doing my job" on the back. Mostly they fail and achieve nothing more than an uninviting glare.
For his fifth visit to the barn, Nick Sandalena, 27, decided to come as the designated driver for his group of friends. "If you're coming for your first time, it will be the best time of your life," said Sandalena, of Port Jefferson.
The music is mostly '90s and older rock that keeps patrons dancing, beers in hand and plastered with smiley stickers saying "Boardy Barn" or "Don't let Monday ruin your Sunday."
Hot dogs are available for $1 from a stand in the yard. It's hard to miss because on the roof is a sizable statue of a hot-dog man lathering himself with condiments. It's just something to hold patrons over until they leave to walk down the street to the Hampton Bays diner.
Some words of wisdom from those waiting in line about those rules and how to finesse them.
For example, the beer-throwing rule. There are signs everywhere saying, "No beer throwing."
But those in the know say there are subtle ways to pour a drink on someone that won't start a beer battle that would get a patron thrown out. Flaunting the system and getting caught means the troublemaker gets removed from the Barn by a muscular man who shoves said troublemaker through a door labeled "Happy trails to you."
Cost: $20 cover and $2 beers.
Time: Open Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m., but get there at least 2 hours earlier.
Atmosphere: Rowdy and crowded
Good to know: Wear clothes that you don't mind throwing out at the end of the night. Your shoes will get muddy and remember to bring cash with you in a Zip-lock bag. The better to spend dry money.
Something to entertain designated drivers: Ask for stickers at the bar and play a simple game with your friends. Point out a random stranger who someone must walk up to, say "hello" and slap a sticker on their forehead. That will keep anyone busy.