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Hamptons and Montauk on the cheap: Nightlife, dining and more 

The Sloppy Tuna restaurant in Montauk has a

The Sloppy Tuna restaurant in Montauk has a roof-deck bar and restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  Credit: Gordon M. Grant

If you're from "up-island — what native Hamptonites call the rest of Long Island — you may be financially wary about trying to enjoy beautiful, celebrity-packed South Fork. Whether you’re with a group of friends or a family of four, there is a lot to do, see and eat that won’t break the bank. Here are some tips on how to spend a day in the Hamptons for under $100:

Live music, beaches, nightlife and more 

Kirk Beach: A free-to-park, right-by-downtown ocean beach in Montauk (95 S. Emerson Ave.); elsewhere in the hamlet you’ll need a pricey permit or pay $10 to park at Hither Hills State Park (which is not near the village at all).

Parrish Art Museum (279 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill; 631-283-2118, a family-friendly art museum, kids under 18 are always free; $12 for nonmember adults.

The Clubhouse (174 Daniels Hole Rd., East Hampton; 631-537-2695, it’s an entertainment center with bowling, indoor corn hole, an arcade and mini-golf. There’s also a restaurant with a bar plus an outdoor bar. No cover to enter; there are several nights of live music and DJs. There are some pricey entrees, but burgers are under $20, as are several other dishes. Bowling off-peak is $40 an hour, $60 peak (Friday through Sunday); mini-golf is $15 per player, $12 for children.

Memory Motel, The Point, Sloppy Tuna, these bars appeal to a mainly millennial crowd at night, and while prices can vary on holidays or for special events, you can usually get in for around $10-$20. If a DJ is spinning at any of these spots, expect a lot of energy. For an inexpensive yet relaxed experience, try Liar’s Saloon (408 West Lake Dr.; 631-668-9597). It is a local hang, but perfect for anyone looking to have a mellow beer ($1 draft beer) and maybe some Friday night karaoke.

Fire pit at Gurney’s Montauk (290 Old Montauk Hwy.; 631-668-2345, Facing the Atlantic Ocean, this huge hotel allows people to enter the premises and hang by a fire pit that blazes all year; in the summer there’s often live bands and DJs early evenings. Food and drink are available in the hotel restaurant, while adult beverages are served at an outdoor bar. The scene is also family-friendly, but you will do just as fine with adults-only.

Indian Wells Tavern (177 Main St.; 631-267-0400, Amagansett is small but has a scene thanks to this spot (and Stephen Talkhouse down the block). The Tavern is a traditional pub restaurant that recalls similar venues around Long Island where DJ James Ryan spins Fridays and occasional musicians play; if a cover charge is in effect it’s in the $10 range.

The scene at Surf Lodge (183 Edgemere St.; 631-483-5037, is generally well-to-do, but they do not charge a cover to get in. Entry is at doorman’s discretion, so while you may end up waiting a while or not make the cut due to capacity rules — but technically -- if there is live music at Surf Lodge, you can walk up and get in for free; it does happen at times. Reservations are really the best way to secure entry -- but that means you’re buying a meal, and the entrees here alone are almost all over $30 each, which isn’t exactly cheap -- so if you are willing to risk it, you can see some hot bands with buzz play here for free.

Sole East (90 Second House Rd.; 631-668-2105, is doing a similar series with indie bands, and you can technically walk in for free, but space is limited. Again, reservations mean you’re playing at least $30 for an entree, but they are the secure way in. On the other hand, you can just show up and see what happens.

Beach Bar (58 Foster Ave.; 631-723-3100, is a holdover from the days when Hampton Bays had several clubs from which to choose. Its competition may be gone, but you’re paying $10-$20 tops to get into an often-packed dance party.

Boardy Barn (270 West Montauk Hwy., Hampton Bays; 631-728-9733, Come Sunday afternoons in the summer, the “Barn” has been a destination since 1970, with a basic formula: dress casual (don’t wear orange, it’s the security color), pay the door fee (usually $20, goes up for special events, holidays), hang out and have a drink — AND grab some smiley-face stickers, which are given out like crazy.

 Puff 'n' Putt(659 Montauk Hwy., Montauk; 631-668-4473, offers mini-golf for $9 per person per game, while Hamptons Mini Golf (668 County Rd. 39, Southampton; 631-283-2158, is $12 for kids 15 and younger, $15 older (both are cash-only).

Brunch, dinner and small bites 

Cromer's Market (3500 Noyac Rd., Sag Harbor; 631-725-9004, Instead of a sit-down restaurant, Cromer's is a small supermarket that has a deli counter and serves some hot foods. Its fried chicken is a local favorite; you pay by the pound. My recommendation: buy the fried chicken wings -- they’re good-sized, have a unique, touch-of-buttery taste (IMHO) and you can get a dozen for around $20. You don’t eat there but there are several area parks free to enter and would work for a picnic.

Mary’s Marvelous (107 Newtown Ln., East Hampton; 631-324-1055, Open for breakfast and lunch, this nook is reasonably priced and serves delicious hot or cold sandwiches, rich breakfast items and other tasty treats — you should be able to come away without spending more than $10 for a meal (per person).

Brent's General Store (8 Montauk Hwy., East Hampton; 631-267-3113, straight-up delicatessen; sandwiches aren’t more than $8, family-style dinners are no more than $35 or so.

One Stop Market: 299 Springs Fireplace Rd., East Hampton; 631-324-6055, Similar to Cromer’s; a market with hot food available.

John’s Drive-In (677 Montauk Hwy., Montauk; 631-668-5515, Quick burger and grill-food option in Montauk, and it’s not actually a drive-in, nor does it have a drive-thru window. Dating back to the 1960s, it’s cash-only and serves grill food, sandwiches and ice cream; most items are under $10.

Sip'n Soda (40 Hampton Rd., Southampton; 631-283-9752, An old-fashioned luncheonette, this restaurant has been in business since the 1950s and still serves home-made ice cream. It’s cash-only, but you’ll only need about $7 for its biggest burger and $4 for its legendary Lime Rickey drink.

Eckart's Luncheonette (162 Mill Rd., Westhampton Beach; 631-288-9491) dates back to 1911 and has cool things to see— like a rack of (look-only, no touch) magazines and newspapers that are decades old and an old-fashioned lunch counter. The menu offers all-day breakfast, lunch and ice cream, with most main items in the $9-$12 price range.

There’s one McDonald’s and one Burger King in Southampton and there is a second McDonald’s in Hampton Bays. For round-the-clock fast-cheap snacks, there are 7-Eleven stores in Montauk, Sag Harbor and Southampton, plus others in the West End (that’s west of the Shinnecock Canal). There are pizzerias in Montauk, Amagansett, East Hampton and Sag Harbor, and Chinese takeout in each hamlet save Bridgehampton. Southampton Village and Bridgehampton have Carvel ice cream shops.

If you need a cheap fix on general items while day-tripping, there’s a Kmart in Bridgehampton (2044 Montauk Hwy.; 631-537-6449,

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