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The Hamptons season starts early in Montauk

Dinner on Surf Lodge's outside deck in Montauk.

Dinner on Surf Lodge's outside deck in Montauk. Photo Credit: Newsday / Bruce Gilbert

The adventures that await all who will explore and visit the Hamptons this summer are already a hot subject: What new places will open? What established spots will return? What will be the big draw?

These questions will be answered soon after Memorial Day weekend, the traditional time for many seasonal nightclubs to reveal themselves to those who can't wait to get in and have some East End fun. . .but then again, a good portion of the crowd that invades the Hamptons are already there. You may wonder, if so many of the upscale and internationally-driven hangouts elsewhere are yet to open, where are these seasonal early birds flocking to?

As it turns out, one Hamptons hamlet tends to jump the gun, and once again has started throwing parties that brings in the hipsters, guests in trendy clothes, limos and luxury cars before all: Montauk.

While most of the lounges and clubs west of Hither Hills State Park were still dark, many venues in Montauk were holding their grand openings -- and with The Montauk Music Festival in full swing from May 12-15, these gatherings once again saw some steady attendance.

The proof was evident with a journey around Montauk on Friday, May 13 around 12:30 a.m. (so make that Saturday, May 14 then) -- starting with a stop at Solé East. At this hour, things were winding down after an evening of four live bands and patrons relaxing on the patio. . .but conversation and laughter still filled the air.

Next stop was The Surf Lodge, and as it was over at 'Solé the setting was subdued -- although here the music was still pumping loud and the bar was still doing steady business. Outside, a few guests got the firepit going and while it wasn't all that chilly, the sight of the flames inspired many to come out and investigate.

Another site still handling visitors late into the night was Six-Six-Eight The Gig Shack. Located on Main Street, the scene is mostly a small tent draped over some chairs and benches, while a string of lights shaped like peppers dangled above. A dwindling but lively few kept things going -- while over on the western side of Main, The Point Bar & Grill was absolutely bustling, still filled with revelers at around 2 a.m.

In a town that can be otherwise sleepy much of the year, last weekend proved that this section of the South Fork is very much in competition with the rest of the Hamptons for the East End party title of 2011.


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