Where one can stand near the sand with a drink in hand
If you’re looking to mingle in the Hamptons while situated by the water, there are a few options that will indeed take your fun times right to the surf.
A common misunderstanding of the Hamptons is that many of its big events and parties take place on a beach. The fact is, while there are dozens of sandy spots for bathing and sunning, direct public dining-and-drinks action on the beach is actually limited.
That said, anyone looking to take in the sun, sand and surf while socializing simply must head to Montauk, and spend some time at Navy Beach. Located right off of Fort Pond Bay on a private beach, guests can eat, drink and lounge only footsteps from the water. Tables are in place for those seeking a meal (which here can include such comfort foods as buttermilk fried chicken with cheddar-jalapeno cornbread, lobster rolls and a crispy calamari salad) – and there is lounge furniture set in the sand as well, perfect for either watching the sunset or for the occasional fundraiser or set of live music. (16 Navy Road)
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa also provides an aqua-adjacent chance to dine and unwind — but unlike Navy Beach is actually on the Atlantic Ocean, so don’t be surprised if the waves actually crash around your toes when the surf gets properly agitated. Seaside eating takes place here as part of Gurney’s “Beach Club” restaurant, which provides full-service dining for those looking to munch or sip cocktails while curled up under a blue-and-white umbrella, seated on a beach chair. In addition, private cabanas are available, and Gurney’s is a very party-friendly venue, so be sure to get connected via social media to keep track of any events that may be popping up (such as Sound Waves, a unique event that is centered around offbeat DJs, some of which are notable alternative rock and new wave stars; it’s at Gurney’s in 2014 on Saturdays July 19-August 31). (290 Old Montauk Hwy)
Unfortunately, aside from any sort of food truck finds, there aren’t any other pure eat-on-the-beach opportunities…but that doesn’t mean one can’t find fun extremely close to a shore, as Harlow East in Sag Harbor has started to prove. It opened in late May, and so far this outpost of NYC’s Harlow (found in midtown at the Lombardy Hotel) has already taken off with the upscale/casual crowd out east, giving hipsters, yacht owners and regular folk alike a chance to have fun along the town’s harbor. Inside the restaurant, there is a dedicated bar with a four-sided counter, in a sparsely-decorated room that is only punctuated by a large mirror adorned with faux mini-butterflies and a trio of surfboards dotted with pics of X-rayed fish. Cocktails, wine and beer are served, with an ageless crowd that also moves outside to Harlow’s massive deck. The patio is partly sheltered by an awning, but at Harlow all stations outside are excellent vantage points to catch the many boats that sail off in the distance and the multitudes of people that regularly stroll Sag Harbor’s Long Wharf – as well as, when the time and weather is right, a lovely glimpse of the many spectacular sunsets that Sag Harbor sees all summer. (1 Long Wharf)