As of Thursday, Sept. 8, there is a new player on the nightlife circuit . . . and it is big.
How “big” – as in “important and well-received” – is yet to be determined, but size-wise it already has few peers, and activity-wise it has plenty to offer right from the get-go. It is The Emporium in Patchogue, and it is not like any current nightclub, concert hall, restaurant, pub or bowling alley (yes, bowling alley) anywhere on Long Island, as it is in fact all of these things at once.
With today’s nightlife generally taking place in bars or restaurants, one late-night hangout usually isn’t much bigger than the next, with only the spaces within these places not dedicated to dining used by each as either a dance floor or lounge area. But The Emporium has gone in the opposite direction, presenting guests with a cavernous, hangar-like structure that can handle a capacity of 1,100 people. It starts with the dance floor and stage; the dancing zone is sunken down about five feet below the floor level, accessible by stairs. Easily able to provide boogie space for a few hundred people, the below-ground section leads directly to a performance platform and is furthermore fed by its own bar – meaning patrons can get their beverages without having to escape back out and up, regardless of if they are dancing or catching a show.
Meanwhile, above that dance floor bar – and an entire flight of stairs above the main level itself – is a balcony with tables and standing room that could easily double as a VIP section, and all of this is only one half of The Emporium’s layout. Across from this grandiose performance area, there is a second bar and a four-lane bowling alley, decorated with graffiti-like writing designed to reflect black light and create a “cosmic bowling” atmosphere. (Rates are $20 per lane per half-hour weekdays, $25 weekends; 8 person-per-lane maximum, bowling shoes are not required.) Both the dancing and alley extents are equipped with DJ booths – although, since this is all one massive chamber, it is unlikely both would present different musical selections simultaneously.
Closer to the entrance, a number of fenced-in tables are placed for dining, and there is a menu of salads, pizzas, entrees and desserts presented for lunch and dinner. West of that there is yet another tavern area – festooned with black-and-white photos of rock stars – which then leads to …a wall. But, as this tremendous establishment has demonstrated, space is the name of its game – and that is further proven with the placement of an outdoor patio and beer garden beyond that barrier, providing yardage for individuals outside as well.
The arrival of this singular, all-purpose place for the late-night crowd (it’s open until at least 2 a.m. daily) is proving to be exciting, as its opening night (Thursdays are “country nights;” $5 admission for line-dancing and live music) saw a very strong response – which could mean Fridays (live bands) and Saturdays (DJ dance party) could be equally busy, or even more hectic – so be sure to get there early to find parking, as even with an extremely sizable lot nearby finding a spot could be tough. Or then again, perhaps a carpool to The Emporium is in order, as regardless of how crowded the car is on the way there, chances are there will be room enough for all inside the club.
The Emporium: 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue, 631-627-8787, theemporiumny.com