Life on Long Island
Already seeming very summer-like in Sag Harbor
Every year there is always a buzz about the burgeoning Hamptons scene, and although this spring is well underway, thoughts of what’s to be hot during the summer of 2013 on the East End can make it seem as if Memorial Day Weekend is months, not weeks, from now. However, for an immediate taste of where people will soon be hanging in the Hamptons, Sag Harbor has already gotten rolling with two new already opened options.
It’s really too early to completely predict what a new spot will eventually achieve simply by the pre-season public reaction, but a good start is a good start – and Madison & Main (126 Main St., 631-725-6246) is definitely on the rise. Opening its doors about a week ago (second week of April 2013), this restaurant and lounge has taken root in the former home of the New Paradise Cafe and has replaced the now-defunct upscale diner-style room and its oceanic murals with a sleek eatery that extends from Main Street to the lot in back.
Madison features a front-end bar and a back-end deck with a retractable roof; along the way two long dining rooms line a brick wall that sports a faded ad showing the house name, giving the venue an appearance of long residency versus one of recent arrival.
The menu offers a sizable selection of upscale American food, but for those who want “just drinks,” there are beers available by draft or by the bottle, with the latter served large format (Long Ireland Celtic ale, Brooklyn Local #1, Chimay Reserve) or small. Signature cocktails are also possibilities, such as the “Fresh Peach Champagne Cup” (Domaine Chandon Brut Rosé with peach puree), the “Pink Pick-Up” (Hennessy cognac, lemon juice, lime juice, sliced berries, splash of cherry juice) and a “Spicy Tequila Gimlet” (Avion tequila, lime juice, grapefruit juice, rose water simple syrup, jalapeňo).
As for entertainment, live music and a possible light DJ night may be coming once the mode is full-blown summer, but Madison & Main plans to absolutely be a late-night stop for weekends, with evenings not ending until well past midnight. Crowds have already discovered M&M, with a dressy group of customers aged 25 to 55 already filling the seats.
Meanwhile, the former digs of Phao now belong to The Cuddy (29 Main St., 631-725-0101). Phao was notable for its late closes year-round, and while the new establishment is looking at more of a pre-midnight close most evenings, there is a dedicated bar for those seeking imbibing over ingestion. A fashionable crowd, aged 25 to 55 on average, has also already settled in since The Cuddy opened last Wednesday (April 17), with upbeat “Sag-sters” (hip Sag Harbor twentysomethings) looking very summer-like sitting in the street-side windows. For dining purposes, gastro-pub is the move, with a menu of contemporary fare currently serving for dinner – and the decor has changed from the former Phao’s darker, “urban alley” look to the use of creamier, whiter hues and earthy, rustic wood showing.
As for the rest of town, La Superica (2 Main St., 631-725-3388) is back open and busy, LT Burger is bustling (62 Main St., 631-899-4646) and Bay Street Theatre (Main and Bay Sts., 631-725-9500) has several Saturday events scheduled (baystreet.org) before the end of May. With all this energy already in place as the rest of the South Fork is mostly still setting up for the summer, perhaps a new nickname for this happening harbor stretch could be “First Hampton.”