Every Sunday afternoon, one corner of Instagram erupts into brunch close-ups, beach selfies, cocktail snaps, and pictures of hugging friends. Hashtagged #sundayfunday — with 28 million impressions and counting — the collective body of work vividly conveys how a particular generation (often those younger than 35) squeezes every last moment out of the weekend, chilling with friends until the day melts into evening, often with food or drink in hand.
When The Bangles sang “Manic Monday” in 1986, they probably couldn’t predict that their lyrics — “I wish it were Sunday, ’cuz that’s my fun day” — might later birth a hashtag with such sweep that it often evokes eye rolls, but never quite goes away. (The song was actually written by famous workaholic
Prince, who apparently needed an aimless day of indulgence once in awhile, too).
Surrounded by water and buffeted by summer sunshine, Long Islanders are some of the original weekend fun-day trippers.
Chilling outside with a beer and some friends on Sunday afternoon is a deeply etched custom here, whether on the beach or a dockside patio to bars such as the Oak Beach Inn, where Long Island Iced Tea made its debut and the debaucherous Sunday scene was legendary.
The OBI is gone, but Long Island still abounds in Sunday hangout spots where you can drink in some water views, tip back some clams and swig a beer — or, if you prefer, savor sashimi and a spritzer while donning white linen.
Whatever your proclivities, there’s a place somewhere along Long Island’s 118-mile length that match them. Want some steel-drum music and a plate of baked clams? Head to Amityville. Crave a raw bar tower and people watching? Huntington beckons.
Following are seven divergent places, scattered across the island, united in their mission to make your Sundays memorable, and photogenic
The Clam Bar at Bridge Marine
If you want a place for children to roam wild and free (within eyeshot) while you down some plump littleneck clams, head to The Clam Bar at Bridge Marine (40 Ludlam Ave., Bayville): Just across the bridge from Oyster Bay into Bayville, tucked into a marina on West Harbor, is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it smattering of covered tables, plus an outdoor bar and busy kitchen turning out clam chowder, burgers and rosy-pink littleneck clams. The Clam Bar at Bridge Marine is a no-fuss kind of place, and as befits its name, the clams are some of the best around, dug right from the nearby harbor. The clam bar has been dishing them out since 1990, said manager Alexandra Balisky, and Sundays are busy — especially with families. “Sunday is the one day of the week most people have off,” Balisky said. Some visitors boat in and tie up to the Clam Bar’s 160-foot-long floating dock. Though the Clam Bar is a family-oriented spot, the relaxed, rustic open-air bar evokes Caribbean beaches, and serves beer and wine only. Once you’ve had your fill of steamers — or the creamy, crunchy lobster roll on a buttered bun, rent a kayak and paddle off the calories around Mill Neck Creek. More info: 516-628-8688; open noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays
Steamed lobsters are cleaned and turned into lobster rolls at The Clam Bar at Bridge Marine in Bayville.
If you want a California-esque vibe with lawn games and views for days, head to Cowfish (258 E. Montauk Hwy., Hampton Bays): Finding Cowfish is slightly tricky: Once you exit Montauk Highway, you’ll hook around a fish market to find the marina and hilltop that Cowfish calls home. Its architecturally stunning outdoor bar seems to soar above the marina, and scoring a bar stool there rewards you with drinks such as a Home Wrecker (vodka, ginger liqueur, muddled cucumber, sour mix and ginger ale) and sweeping views of both the water and games of cornhole going down on the manicured lawn. Sunday afternoon attracts a mix of coifed locals and people headed back to the city after a weekend in the Hamptons, many of them lounging on white Adirondack chairs. The fare runs from light and snackable, such as sushi rolls, acai bowls and deviled eggs, to heartier plates such as a 22-ounce rib eye glossed with melted butter. When the natives get restless, they can hop on CowFish’s Rumbarge for the seven-minute ride to its nearby sister restaurant, Rumba, for a sort of a seafaring minibar crawl. More info: 631-594-3868, cowfishrestaurant.com; open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (bar until 11 p.m.) on Sundays
The prime cowboy rib-eye steak at Cowfish in Hampton Bays weighs in at 22 ounces. Here it is accompanied by a loaded baked potato, a glass of wine and a side of skillet cornbread.
Pop's Seafood Shack & Grill
If you want to hang around a firepit, sipping rum punch and meeting new people, head to Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill (15 Railroad Place, Island Park): With its palm trees, cabanas, sandy beach and fire pits, the rambling Pop’s feels like a miniature island kingdom where you can spend the better part of an afternoon wandering, eating, drinking and mingling. The crowd varies from groups of 20-somethings huddling for selfies to entire families tucking into pots of steamed mussels, a signature dish offered eight different ways (Pop’s serves 500 pounds of mussels each weekend). Multiple bars and dining areas can make ordering food and drink either confusing or adventurous, depending on your outlook, but for the ultimate casual experience, grab some raw littlenecks from the Pop’s on-site food truck, settle into a neon Adirondack chair with your feet in the sand and turn toward the live band that belts it out every Sunday afternoon. More info: 516-432-7677, popsseafoodshack.com; open noon to 10 p.m. (bar until 2 a.m.) on Sundays
Waiter Salvatore Giorlando of Island Park is about to serve several plates at Pop's Seafood Shack & Grill in Island Park.
Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market
If you want an unpretentious vibe, super-fresh oysters and some education, head to Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market (37 Front St., Greenport): It’s all about bivalves at Little Creek, found down an alley from Greenport’s Front Street on its waterfront. Oyster farmers Ian Wile and Rosalie Rung converted a century-old bait-and-tackle shop into a tasting room for their own bivalves as well as those from their fellow East End oyster farmers. More than a dozen varieties might be offered on a weekend day, from creamy Peconic Golds to briny Montauk Pearls, and you can eat them at the oyster bar or at a handful of umbrella-topped picnic tables. Knock a dollar or so off the price of each one by shucking your own — the eatery will supply you with gloves, tools and instructions. “We wanted to teach people to open their own, because it slows you down and you get more time to think about food,” said Wile. A rotating cast of local beers from Greenport Harbor Brewing Company are on hand for liquid refreshment, as are sake cocktails and local wine. And if oysters aren’t your thing, go for one of the colorful smørrebrød plates of open-faced sandwiches or conservas — canned fish that the staff will “decant” for you and serve with sliced baguette. More info: 631-477-6992, littlecreekoysters.com; open noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays
Opening oysters for customers at Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market in Greenport.
If you want to chill on a rooftop, a rare experience on Long Island, head to Rhum (13 E. Main St., Patchogue): At the top of this bustling, tri-level homage to tropical drinks and food is a tidy rooftop bar and deck with swings for seats and views over downtown Patchogue. Barely a year old, Rhum still has that scene-y feel, fueled with drinks such as Ti’Punch or prickly-pear margaritas, plus festive plates such as Caribbean-style wings with sriracha-coconut sauce or fish tacos. The roof deck is open on weekends only, and Sunday afternoons draw a mixed crowd, from millennials with watchchains on their jeans to families sprawled across the portico-like booths. More info: 631-569-5944, rhumpatchogue.com; open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays
Caribbean wings with sriracha coconut sauce and Danish bleu cheese, and a trio of tacos, are a few of the popular menu items patrons can nibble on at Rhum in Patchogue.
If you want a divey yet soulful bar tucked into a marina, head to Toomey’s Tavern (251 S. Ketcham Ave., Amityville): Toomey’s Tavern has occupied its hidden spot along an Amityville canal for more than 60 years, but can still be a surprise for first-time visitors, tucked as it is between the towering metal boat racks of neighboring marinas. Inside is a vaguely nautical dive bar, while along the canal is a rambling deck of wooden tables, as well as a grounded 1958 Ulrichsen boat that doubles as a weekend tiki bar. On Sundays, the outside tables fill with a motley crowd tucking into plates of baked clams or surprisingly good kung pao calamari salad in a ginger dressing and grooving to a steel-drum player or a rotating roster of live bands. The pours are generous, the people are laid-back, and it’s quintessentially South Shore. More info: 631-264-0564, toomeystavern.com; open noon to “whenever” on Sundays
The tiki bar is inside a grounded boat at Toomey's Tavern in Amityville.
If you want gourmet plates and a see-and-be-seen vibe, head to Prime (117 N. New York Ave., Huntington): If Toomey’s Tavern is at one terminus of Route 110, at its opposite end — both literally and figuratively — is Prime: An American Kitchen and Bar. One of the island’s premier fine dining restaurants reveals its more casual side on Sunday afternoons, when a sprawling outdoor patio along Huntington Harbor fills with a summer-pastels crowd eating sushi rolls and sipping margaritas at tables, bistro high-tops and pairs of Adirondack chairs backed into nooks. To hang here for the day is not cheap — cocktails are $15 and sushi rolls reach past $20 — but as Huntington’s only waterside spot, Prime attracts both a well-heeled crowd soaking in the yacht-club vibe as well as groups of friends swaying to live reggae near the cabana bar. More info: 631-385-1515, restaurantprime.com; open noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays
Mesha Steele and her music group Extremity perform at Prime Dockside in Huntington.