For a skinny stretch of sand across the Great South Bay, Fire Island proves to be one of Long Island’s crown jewels for summer fun, with a selection of unique nightlife events and day parties to sample. Here are some top stops for good times.
Serving as a summer spot for Fire Island visitors since the late 1930s, this restaurant, bar, club and marina has a reputation for drawing crowds so large you can see and hear the weekend scene at its height from the Ocean Bay Park dock over 900 feet away. Expect good times every summer weekend, especially during its long-running "Sunday Funday" party (featuring live reggae and DJ beats) -- but live music and DJs are usually part of the Saturday experience as well.
1 Cayuga St., Ocean Bay Park; 631-583-5000; INFO flynnsfireislandny.com; FERRY FROM Bay Shore
With an amazing ocean view, the deck is a draw alone (it's been renovated for the first time in decades). Add in DJs on Friday-Saturday nights, live music Saturday and Sunday afternoons, plus karaoke on Mondays, adult bingo on Tuesdays and trivia on Wednesdays -- and it's hard not to find a time when fun isn't on the menu. (Then again, for an actual menu, guests can grab lunch and dinner at the Casino Grill daily.)
1 Trustee Walk, Davis Park; 631-597-9414; INFO casinobarfireisland.com; FERRY FROM Patchogue
Castaway's Bar and Grill
Like CJ's, this perennial draw goes deep outside the summer season to celebrate Halloween and St. Patrick's Day, and also brings in occasional live music performers, but Castaway is better known for going into a full dance-club mode by bringing in party DJs to spin summer weekend evenings.
310 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach; 631-583-0330; FERRY FROM Bay Shore
Another annual summer draw, its Saturday night stage shows offer wild bands and bouncing crowds, easily visible from the (car-less) street. The usual Sand Bar event calendar is cemented by live bands and DJs on weekends, backed by frequent drink specials.
470 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach; 631-224-2796; FERRY FROM Bay Shore
During the week, this on-the-bay opportunity serves a $31.75 three-course meal (Mon-Thurs: June-Labor Day), but for weekend party purposes this spot has a big dance floor and DJs Friday and Saturdays from midnight until 4 a.m., as well as a late-night happy hour 11 p.m.-1 a.m.
470 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach; 631-583-8800; INFO maguiresbayfrontrestaurant.com; FERRY FROM Bay Shore
The seafood-heavy menu is the main event, but weekends draw daytrippers and locals alike for drinks in the bar or the courtyard, where one can lounge on outdoor furniture set in a sandpit. Expect live music Friday-Saturday after 5 p.m., and watch the Surf's Out website for upcoming theme parties.
1 Bay Walk, Kismet; 631-583-7400; INFO surfsout.com; FERRY FROM Bay Shore
CJ's Restaurant and Bar
You might not have been ready for Fire Island when this year-round spot threw its annual St. Patrick's Day and Halloween shindigs, but the usual summer scene is also slated to return to this popular party stop well-known as the "Home of the Rocket Fuel," a powerful cocktail (pina coladas infused with vodka, tequila and 151-proof rum). Expect live music weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
479 Bay Walk, Ocean Beach; 631-582-9890; INFO palmshotelfireisland.com/cjs-bar-restaurant; FERRY FROM Bay Shore
Pines Party Weekend 2016
Taking over the entire community, this massive bash brings in celebrity DJs and sets up several related parties across the Pines, both indoors and on the hamlet's beach. Expect a tremendous crowd, wild costumes and dancing until sunrise, with Morabito (pictured) scheduled as the headlining mixer. Sponsored by the Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association, net proceeds are allocated to benefit a number of nonprofit organizations. (The 2016 theme is to be based on the roller skate-powered, Olivia Newton-John classic film "Xanadu.")
Fire Island Pines; INFO July 22-24, pinesparty.com; FERRY FROM Sayville