First Call: Hamptons 2014

While most venues out east come and go, a few manage to stay put and stay busy

As local thermometers finally start cracking 60°, it seems safe to say the “polar vortex” has checked out and spring is setting up shop. Need more proof that the winter is gone? Look no further than The Hamptons, as the East End’s nightlife scene is getting ready to launch.

At this point, the adventure awaits, as many of the places that turn out to be the hottest are still in the works (although such news nuggets as an East End extension of the midtown Lombardy Hotel restaurant Harlow and a Daniel & Derek Koch Hamptons-based “Day & Night” party to come have already been gleaned) – but that’s part of the Hamptons adventure, discovering that new party or delicious dish. However, there are a few options that are virtual perennial locks to be busy all summer long.

A critical venue to keep on your short list is Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett. Already open since March, it’s a casual bar and music hall that offers a calendar of concerts from both East End musicians (like Nancy AtlasThe Lone Sharks, Caroline Doctrow) and bigger artists, such as Taj Mahal (May 24th), The English Beat (June 27th) and Suzanne Vega (August 15th).

Show tickets can be pricey, but there’s little-to-no attitude to be expected at this very laidback joint, and even when there’s no performance happening it’s often open for other events on most nights. But make no mistake – while you don’t need to buy table service, on weekends you may find yourself standing in a line that stretches for blocks to gain entry, and the Talkhouse tends to stay extremely crowded past 2 am between Memorial Day-Labor Day, especially between Thursday-Saturday.

And in addition, it’s not just popular with bar-hoppers and club-goers looking to dress down, as celebrities are sighted here frequently.  Such notables as Sir Paul McCartneyJohn MayerBill and Hillary ClintonJimmy Buffet and Jimmy Fallon have been spotted in the past few years, with the latter two also playing some tunes on separate occasions. (161 Main St.)

You are less likely to stumble upon a celebrity at The Sloppy Tuna in Montauk, but then again all the serious surfers know they can stumble in right out of the water, as this immensely popular hangout is actually up against the beach – and the ‘Tuna is 100% dress code-free at all times. One of the wilder Hamptons prospects, it also sees lengthy lines to gain entry, but once in all are good to eat, dance and do drinks — with patio deck-equipped dining upstairs and a dance floor down. Scheduled to re-open mid-May. (148 S. Emerson Ave.)

At this point, guarantees for single-stop nightlife blasts must come to close, as really the only sure things left involve more of town “crawls” than just a visit to a lone location. An example of this is the village area in Bridgehampton, as its scene is not only completely underrated (as it’s neither celebrity-driven nor super-expensive) but possibly the most successful year-round part of the Hamptons experience. Whether you arrive in March, May or post-Labor Day, those looking for fun can walk between the bars of restaurants AlmondWorld Pie and Bobby Van’s. Not exclusive in any way, the food is always tops and the personality of all three establishments is classy and upscale but casual. (1 Ocean Rd, 2402 Montauk Hwy, 2393 Montauk Hwy)

You may have noticed that none of the aforementioned places offer such famed Hamptons trappings as celebrity DJs, $10,000 bottles of Moet and sightings of “Housewives” from various reality shows – and if you crave such accoutrements, it would be strange for those happenings not to happen, so no worries. But where? Stay tuned.