As Memorial Day weekend 2014 came to a close and the summer season in the Hamptons got underway, two of the East End’s newest stops emerged as successful spots to catch a brilliant, cocktail-in-hand glimpse of the setting sun.
Naturally, Long Island’s many bays, harbors and other waterways allow for striking vantage points for one to witness le soleil slip below the horizon -- both in and out of the Hamptons -- but the newly opened Harlow East in Sag Harbor and the 6-week-old Bay Kitchen Bar in East Hampton have quickly proved worthy of being included among the local sunset-gazing opportunities.
Away from its dining section, Harlow East (1 Long Wharf, 631-725-5858) has a full bar; a nautical-white space almost free of decor (save for three standing surfboards bedecked with images of X-rayed fish), with a scene that should inspire mass appeal, as the age of the clientele ranges from mid-20s to over 60 -- and while most men present are attired in collared shirts with rolled-up sleeves, slacks and clean jeans, there are more than a few gents sporting clean, dressy pairs of shorts mixed in with the many people seated alongside the four-sided bar counter (the women are also casual, with ladies in both spring sweaters and summer fashion, such as flowing dresses, sun hats, wedges and big-lens sunglasses).
Guests can come here for wine, beer and specialty cocktails, and stay indoors or head out to Harlow’s deck, which is mostly located beneath a blue awning, and also features a subdivision set directly under the sky.
Once outside, all are clear to ogle Sag Harbor Bay, a view that occasionally includes some impressively massive yachts anchored at its dock, but is mostly filled with sparkling waters, boats off in the distance and -- when the time is right -- a lovely view of the sun slipping behind the North Haven peninsula and Shelter Island (weather permitting, of course).
On the other hand, Bay Kitchen Bar (39 Gann Rd., 631-329-3663) does not have much of a dedicated al fresco area. But what it lacks in outdoor seating it makes up for with height, as BKB sits a good 10 to 12 feet above the ground, accessible by way of a right-angled stairway that does feature a small open-air couch area at its midway bend.
Those seeking a social scene rather than a full meal can head right into Bay Kitchen’s bar area, which offers a room-length tavern counter space, a couple of small tables and a fireplace. Attendees are similar in age and dress to those found at Harlow -- but with no true deck, guests looking to unwind can instead move to a lounge section equipped with short tables, couches and a secondary bar that offers bartender access via large windows.
Wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails are served (including three $14 juleps: blackberry, pineapple and bourbon vanilla), as is that promised sunset (again, when the weather is clear). Bay Kitchen’s elevation helps intensify the view by lifting it above most of the docked marine vessels and parked cars found along the property’s shore giving guests a full look of the sun as it reflects off Three Mile Harbor and sinks behind the shorelines of Dayton Island, Sedge Island and Sammy’s Town Beach.