With Labor Day fast approaching, it may seem a bit late to re-examine the Hamptons scene, but if your goal is to hit the busiest, most heavily-partying sections of the East End – make sure to keep Amagansett in mind. And furthermore, no worries if you can’t make it until the summer’s done, for things there tend to stay busy well past the end of the warm weather.
To begin, when discussing nightlife in this small section of East Hampton Town (it’s about 6.29 square miles in size), the main event is always The Stephen Talkhouse. Home to concerts, bar nights and other types of parties, even in chilly months like November it’s possible to find yourself waiting on line to gain access. However, between Memorial Day-Labor Day the concept of a “line” stretches from just having a few people waiting while IDs are checked to seeing a couple of hundred people standing in a row that files down the sidewalk past nearby storefronts. Once inside, visitors can catch bands and performers ranging from Grammy winners to rock icons to cover bands taking the stage on any given day. As for the crowd, expect an eclectic mix ranging from high-powered executives, doctors and lawyers to surfers, musicians and average, middle-class Long Islanders -- but watch carefully -- for every year a number of celebrities are caught mingling amid the hubbub.
The Stephen Talkhouse, 161 Main Street, 631-267-3117, stephentalkhouse.com; possible cover charge on bar nights, concert tickets vary in price $10-$90.
Another stop is Indian Wells Tavern – a restaurant and bar, it’s open all year, all week (the Talkhouse is open most of the year, but not open every day between September and May). Diners can easily grab burgers and full entrees, but when it comes to the pub section, the weekends (and some weekdays) are positively packed with people. Casual-but-neat is the right way to dress, but forget the Hamptons ZIP code; this tavern is not much different from its contemporaries “up-island” (that’s East End slang for Long Island west of Westhampton Beach) when it comes to delivering laid-back but lively nights of tunes, brews, cocktails and conversation. However, when out-and-about on the South Fork during icy January and February, it’s good to know about this stop, as it – unlike almost every watering hole within 20 miles – will be open for meals and drinks until at least 10 p.m. daily.
Indian Wells Tavern: 177 Main St., 631-267-0400, indianwellstavern.com; possible cover of $5 at the bar Fri-Sat after 9:30 p.m.
To find another hopping hang nearby, one must venture off Main Street – but only by about 20 feet. Hidden away from those who only notice Talkhouse and Tavern by passing car, The Meeting House is recessed toward the back of Amagansett Square, a small quad of grass wrapped by a sidewalk and shops. It’s primarily a place to do dinner (or Sunday brunch), but at 4 p.m. every day the bar opens and can get super-busy, superfast. Come weekends, a well-dressed (but still casual) group ranging about 25-45 in age completely fills the taproom, taking on such unusual finds as cider and UK beers among the draft choices; red and white wines are obtainable as well. Naturally, things will be quieting down here come the late fall, but the weekends at Meeting House should be still good to go once Columbus Day 2012 has come and gone.
The Meeting House: 4 Amagansett Square, 631-267-2764, meetinghouseamagansett.com; no cover.