Even after the summer season has come to a close, many bars and restaurants in the Hamptons maintain that upbeat vibe, and friendly atmosphere. This holiday season, catch up with old friends and reminisce about cheerful memories from the years that have passed, and sip creative cocktails and nosh on your favorite bar menu bites. Here, I highlight my top five bar menus that excel in crafting not only specialty drinks but food items as well, from the sophisticated to comfort classics.
Page at 63 Main
The staff at Page at 63 Main are some of the friendliest, and jovial folks around. This is a place guests come to for fresh, locally-sourced menu choices and consistently exceptional specialty cocktails that you may find yourself boasting about in the days ahead. Choose from any of the six generously portioned “Back Page” Brick Ovens Pizzas ($12), including the my favorite, The Greek, with kalamata olives, lamb meat balls, feta cheese and oregano. Still hungry? Consider splitting the crispy calamari ($10) or the chili con carne with Vermont cheddar ($10), a true comfort classic. Pair your food choice with their Signature Page Chocolate Martini. A salute to the holidays, it is prepared with mango chocolate vodka, house-made chocolate ganache, and finished with half-and-half. The interior was recently redone and now evokes a seaside, quintessential charm with its white tablecloths, monochromatic walls with grey and white tones, and huge windows with rays of sunlight pouring in. You may find yourself in awe of their Aquaponic system in the conservatory; growing now are turnips, arugula, lacinato dinosaur kale, red veined sorrel, vivid choi, cucumbers, Mexican marigold mint, and more. The bar menu happens Sunday thru Friday from 4-6:30pm.
The Living Room c/o The Maidstone
Come to a restaurant that is just like home, cozy up with your furry friend on one of their colorful sofas in the dimly lit lounge, or spark up some lively chatter at the intimate bar, adjacent to the lounge and just in front of the dining area. The menu is focused on traditional Swedish are with American influences from chef Mathias Brogie. Featured menu favorites include their ever-famous Swedish meatballs with whipped-to-perfection, creamy mashed potatoes, and classic condiments such as their house-made lingonberry sauce ($31/$20 all night on Fridays), or their tasty Mussels ($17) with chives, white wine, and Chevre cheese tucked away in each mussel. Finish your meal with a pot of one of their fine quality loose-leaf teas with sugar cubes and a spot of milk. Wrap up the evening with my best-loved sticky toffee date cake oozing with syrupy toffee sauce. Coming to visit after work? Enjoy everything from the bar menu at 50% off!
A crowd favorite, Rowdy Hall is the place to be during the weeknights (and weekends) when the “snack menu” ranges from comfort classics to exotic twists on old favorites. Think their Steamed Pork Buns (my go-to after work treat) artfully arranged with Berkshire pork belly, pickled vegetables, and Hoisin sauce ($7.50), or my second choice, the (two) Thai chicken lettuce wraps ($6) that are a masterpiece in both presentation and tropic-esque flavor. Cocktail choices worth noting are the classy Remington Model 10 (aka #3) crafted with Rowan’s Creek Bourbon, Rowdy Shrub #3 (local peach), sparkling wine, lemon, and Angostura bitters served in a pint glass with brandied cherries, and the Mrs. Apple with Tito’s vodka, Calvados, local apple cider, served up with a cinnamon-sugar rim and an apple chip ( $13 each).
Fresno is the place I rush to after work hours during both the summer season and sporadically during the autumn and winter months. Only open for dinner, Fresno brings traditional new American fare to its grandest level of satisfaction. With reservations filled to capacity almost every summer night, the dining area and bar is the place to have a fulfilling meal, spectacular drinks, and lively conversations. Bar favorites extend off of their “starters” menu section, including the Frisee au Lardon, with a delicately poached egg and warm tarragon, with a bacon vinaigrette ($14), and the artfully formulated Salmon Tartare with scallion, lime, jalapeno, and a carefully stacked potato gaufrette ($16). At the bar, you will find Diego, one of the sweetest bartenders around, who can prepare you cocktails with a South American flair such as The Upside Down Martini made with dry vermouth, and Farmer’s organic gin, and a pickle berry garnish ($14), or the Barrel Aged Negroni, which is equal parts Contrato sweet vermouth, Campari, and dry gin. The gin is aged for three weeks. Garnished with grapefruit bitters and an orange peel ($14).
Amid the pedestrian-friendly streets of the Southampton Village is Little Red, a quaint, upscale restaurant and bar. Tucked away adjacent to Agawam Park, a passerby could easily miss it. Step inside this dimly lit, neighborly space that offers a classic café style dining experience and an active, upbeat bar scene. Known as the “In Between Menu” from 3-5pm Friday thru Sunday, guests can enjoy a refreshing salad or generously portioned Butcher’s Board with the works to share. Amid their locally sourced, and diversely creative menu prepared by Head Chef Bob Abrams, are fish and chips, burgers, calamari, and a grilled flatbread pizza. I personally recommend their Roasted Beet Salad with red and gold beets, Roquefort crusted goat cheese and a port wine reduction ($14), and the Little Red Grilled Cheese sandwich with Brie, slow roasted duck, braised cabbage, and Dijon ($24).