Hampton Bays is a community which takes pride and is rich in its fishing heritage. Its proximity allows easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, making the hamlet the second busiest commercial fishing port in the state next to Montauk. The school mascot is appropriately the Baymen paying homage to the culture. Also, thanks to this ideal location one can experience a number of great beaches and water view dining spots. The downtown is small by “Hamptons” standards helping to create an overall cozy, comfortable feel.
If you’re looking to dine with a view of the water, your choices are almost endless. Oaklands Restaurant on Dune Road at the Shinnecock Inlet is beautiful, however the gorgeous indoor atmosphere cannot even compare to the AMAZING water view. The menu features American cuisine focusing on, what else, seafood. The food is excellent but the view alone is worth the night out. For another water view you can’t beat, try Indian Cove on the Shinnecock Canal. Also specializing in seafood, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
The Canal Café serving up great seafood is described by one local as “a diamond in the ruff.” Located behind Hampton Watercraft, it’s a convenient stop for boaters or an après beach crowd. If Italian dining is your pleasure, Edgewater Restaurant will be a hit, offering outdoor deck dining with a view of the bay. The Beach Hut located at Meschutt Beach is a casual spot perfect for a low-key bite and a few drinks with friends overlooking a fabulous sunset. Tide Runners, on the canal, is the place to be for happy hour on Friday nights in the summer with live music, good food and even better drink specials. You won’t want to miss out on the brand new hot spot in Hampton Bays, Rumba Restaurant and Rum Bar. With a stylish island atmosphere, interesting and eclectic cuisine, and a cool rum bar, this gem on the water is sure to be a big hit.
While the water view establishments surely come with their perks, there are several inland jaunts definitely worth a mention. Tom McBrien’s Restaurant and Pub is an adorable Irish cottage serving up fantastic marinated burgers and is host to a laid back pub crowd all year. On Main Street be sure to check out the historic Italian joint Villa Paul, and if you’re in the mood for a quick slice or a pie to go, John’s Pizzeria is the best.
Included among the restaurants on Main Street are also a select number of retail locations including the long-standing Skidmore’s Sports, the place to go for your beach and pool gear. Erika’s and Fandango both offer ladies fashions. And, of course, downtown would not be complete without the movie theater.
Fishing is a popular pastime in Hampton Bays as well as a serious sport for some, and a career for others. As for recreational and sport fishing there are numerous spots to cast your line from shore, like along the Shinnecock Canal. Another great way to have a positive fishing experience is to charter a boat that comes fully equipped with everything you need and a knowledgeable captain. Reel Good Sport Fishing located in Jackson’s Marina offers two boat choices, a smaller one for bay fishing and a larger one that heads to the Ocean, depending on what you’re looking to catch. Commercial fishing is big business in Hampton Bays with many baymen following in long-standing family traditions. While many fishermen will express passion for their actual job, it is no secret that they are frustrated and going through rough times due to the influx of federal and state regulations.
Speaking of fresh seafood, Hampton Bays has it in droves. Cor-J Seafood is a mainstay on the East End and quite an experience (you may want to wear your rain boots instead of flip-flops)! Tully’s is another seafood market which also offers prepared food to enjoy outside on picnic tables. Brewsters Seafood Market is a prime choice for fresh fish whether you want to take it home to prepare or dine there. They also offer catering.
A trip to Hampton Bays would not be complete without a stop at one of their lovely beaches. Meschutt Beach, home to the Beach Hut, is not only a fun place to go for food and drinks but a good beach for kids. It’s location on the bay makes it an easy and safe spot for little ones to enjoy and parents to relax. Ponquogue Beach and Tiana Beach are both run by Southampton Town so they are open to the public with a parking permit that you can purchase for the season or for the day. They are both great options to enjoy fun in the sun.
As Memorial Day weekend approaches we can’t overlook the bar and nightlife aspect of the destination hamlet. Beach Bar is an obvious choice for drinks and dancing. Locals recommend starting at Tide Runners for the pre-party and then heading to Beach Bar for late night. And, of course, you cannot speak of the Hampton Bays social scene without mentioning the infamous Boardy Barn. Open only on Sundays all afternoon through the evening, “The Barn” is certainly not for everyone, but if you’re looking to party hard and drink lots of beer, there is no better place.
From food to fishing, this historical hamlet has lots to offer so why not spend some time getting to know Hampton Bays this Memorial Day.