Thursday, June 25, 2015


I've been lucky enough to spend a fair few summer weekends out in The Hamptons in my five years in New York. Finally a few weeks ago, a few girlfriends and I spent a whole long weekend in Montauk, which I've now declared as my favorite of all the villages along the Atlantic coast of Long Island. Montauk sits out on its own at the point of the island, and has a long history as a laid-back fishing and surfing town. Despite being entirely discovered by the whole of New York City, it retains the charm and chill you'd hope for, while still being chock-full of buzzy bars and restaurants.

So whether you can get into a friend's share house or find a hotel with an open room at some point this summer (or camp on the beach!) I've put together a short list of my favorite, can't-miss spots in Montauk.



RED HOOK LOBSTER POUND: I didn't know how much I truly loved lobster rolls until I had one "Maine Style" at this little spot, while sitting under a colorful umbrella on a mild Montauk Saturday. With a watermelon and feta salad on the side, it was the perfect beachy lunch. It was also $30. So, prepare yourself but also #treatyoself.

JONI'S: This place is packed even when the town feels kind of empty, so get there early. Get a smoothie, sandwich or wrap and try and snag a table under an umbrella outside. 

THE HIDEAWAY: We mosied into The Hideaway around 3 p.m. on a dreary Friday afternoon, hoping for a cocktail and a late lunch. Without a fuss and with plenty of seriously delectable tequila cocktails, we got exactly that. This nautical little spot is situated amidst fishing boats big and small, right on the lake. Sidle up to table here for a slice of the Montauk where you'll actually find some locals.

NAVY BEACH: Come for the sunset, stay for the bucket of seafood. Navy Beach has all the trappings of a perfectly nautical and just slightly French Riviera-esque waterfront restaurant. Snag a table or banquette on the beach if you can and prepare to indulge. Not surprisingly this picture-perfect location is not cheap, but the calamari is delicious and the seafood bake is the perfect amount of steamed lobster, clams, mussels and shrimp for two–so just go ahead and do it up right. (Navy Beach starts taking reservations exactly 2 weeks in advance, at 10 a.m.—so call early and set yourself up for the perfect evening on the East End.)


LEFT HAND COFFEE: This is probably the best iced coffee $4.50 can buy you within two blocks of the ocean. Grab one to go head down to the beach to have a stroll while you sip—it'll make the sticker shock much more tolerable, I promise.

INLET SEAFOOD: Thanks to The Infatuation's Montauk guide, we felt inspired to head out (way out) to this sushi spot that also happens to have a gorgeous second-floor deck and decent drinks. Just about a stone's throw from Gin Beach, this place is a nice spot to unwind and take in an awesome view of the Long Island Sound without the fuss and crush of a lot of other people our own age. Order the Montauk Monster and thank me later. (And order some sushi! We didn't but it looked killer.)

RUSCHMEYER'S: There's a certain alchemy involved in creating the perfect night at Ruschmeyer's, and it's not easy to achieve. You need a solid crew. You need to arrive already a little buzzed. The bouncers need to be in a good mood. You need the indoor dance floor not to be too packed—but the DJ is guaranteed to spin the right tunes, don't worry about that. When the right elements are in place, there are few things more magical than a night of lawn games, cocktails, and dancing all night at Ruschmeyer's. When they aren't, it's frustrating, expensive and ultimately, still pretty great.

CYRIL'S: I wrote rather expressively already about my love for Cyril's on the blog more than once. It's a bar and restaurant plopped right down next to the Montauk highway, and is known for it's wild daytime vibes. The drink of choice is called a BBC—just order it and don't ask questions. The attire is fresh-off-the-beach, and it's not uncommon to see that some guy has removed his belt and is using it to get the whole crowd to do the limbo.


DITCH PLAINS BEACH: After finally visiting Ditch Plains for the first time this summer, I can officially proclaim that it is my favorite beach on Long Island. Surfers (actual people who actually surf) are everywhere, as are their cool vintage cars, toned, tanned bodies and their adorable towheaded children. Get lunch at the iconic, legendary Ditch Wtich truck and settle in for a day of wave watching, beach combing, swimming and the most perfect ocean views for miles and miles. (Just don't park in the lot unless you have a permit—you'll get a pretty significant ticket.)

MONTAUK POINT LIGHTHOUSE: For a little bit of Montauk history that goes way way back, along with some gorgeous views and plenty of picnic spots, don't miss the Montauk Point Lighthouse. Commissioned by George Washington himself in 1792, it's about a 15 minute drive from town—and if you arrive before 4 p.m, you'll pay $8 to park. My advice? Head out there for a sit on one of the bench swings overlooking the ocean before the dinner hour or around sunset. Then scurry up the rock outcropping and make a loop around the bottom of the lighthouse to get views from all angles.

GO FOR A DRIVE: It sounds simple, but the best way to see The Hamptons different villages is to just drive around and look. Find yourself on Further Lane in East Hampton and peer through hedges to some of the most luxuriant, gigantic properties you can imagine—but watch out for deer! Take a detour down to Sag Harbor for dinner at The Beacon or over to Three Mile Harbor for drinks and ceviche at Bay Kitchen Bar. (Also, Bay Kitchen Bar was a place we stumbled upon whilst driving around and then were consequently blown away by the $5 rose happy hour and insanely good seafood.) 

SUNDAY NIGHT CONCERTS AT SURF LODGE: If you can finagle your way in, Surf Lodge has a better concert lineup this summer than any venue in Manhattan. See for yourself and prepare to start scheming a way into seeing St. Lucia on the 5th of July. Swoon.


{ The Montauk Beach House }

HOTEL / MOTEL / RESORT: At this point, finding a place to stay in Montauk on a weekend night is going to be tricky. However, there are always cancellations, and it's a good idea to keep an eye on deal sites like JetSetter (which is how we snagged a great room at The Montauk Beach House a few weeks ago). For serious luxury and spa amenities, splurge for Gurney's Montauk, also note that you can stay at Ruschmeyer's (but be prepared to party) or try one of the many Dune Resorts properties throughout The Hamptons.

CAMP AT HITHER HILLS STATE PARK: I have never done this, so I defer to my friend/photographer Bekka who camped here, just outside Montauk, just last week: "The best part of this campground is the proximity to the beach, it was about a 100 yard walk over the dunes to get to the beach. The campground was clean and well-maintained, although it completely books up up nearly 7 months in advance. We had to reserve our spot in January which means it's no good for a spontaneous trip, and it's also pretty crowded. The campsites don't have a grill or fire pit included, just a picnic table so we ended up buying a grill in Amagansett and cooked most of our meals there on site. Once you hit the Hamptons, the drive is pretty scenic so it made the 3+ hour trek from the city worth it."

A HOUSE: It's not easy to find an affordable house for a weekend stay in The Hamptons—especially one that hasn't already been booked—but it can be done. Ask around with friends and coworkers, surf the web and pray for a miracle.


HAVE CASH: Taxis in The Hamptons operate on a cash-only basis and Uber has been banned in the area. Expect to be charged per person, anywhere from $5 (from downtown Montauk to Ruschmeyer's, for example) to $15 (from Montauk to Amagansett).

DRIVE UP: Avoid cabs altogether (except when you go out drinking) by renting a car. This makes it exponentially easier to jaunt around and get to places like the lighthouse and The Hideaway during the day.

ARRIVE EARLY: Bars like Ruschmeyer's and The Surf Lodge become extremely tough to get into as the night goes on. However, bars like The Point and Memory Motel only get better as the early morning approaches.

TAKE YOUR TIME: Wait until after dinner to head back on Sunday night, you'll chase the sunset (nice!) and avoid the miserable traffic (more nice!).

TRUST THE INFATUATION: When in doubt, I trust their restaurant roundups above all others. Everything they recommended that we tried was golden.

USE RESY: If you're feeling fancy, download this nifty app and easily make reservations at some of the buzziest restaurants in The Hamptons—including La Brisa, Sunset Beach and Scarpetta Beach.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE Montauk - as well as Shelter Island. Looks like you babes had an amazing weekend! And yes, always trust The Infatuation xx