The Stephen Talkhouse: A Unique Hamptons Experience

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The Stephen Talkhouse: A Unique Hamptons Experience

You can’t say you’ve been to the Hamptons unless you spent an evening or two at the 44-year-old Stephen Talkhouse. Every summer, the Stephen Talkhouse features notable musical acts, including 50 hall-of-famers who have performed at the venue over the years, from the Rolling Stones and The Who to Sir Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, and Van Morrison.

A staple in Amagansett, located at 161 Main Street, the Stephen Talkhouse, named for a Montaukett (1887-1921) who is famous for his treks from Montauk to New York, has been around since 1970, starting out as a small bar. Then, in 1987 when a group of music-lovers took it over, its popularity exploded and the bar began growing even deeper roots in the community.

“We have become a famous institution,” said 27-year manager and part-owner Peter Honerkamp, who was once a reporter with the New York Post.  “Everybody knows us because we sell a good time.”

The bar is also known, he said as a place that is laid back, casual, friendly, and unpretentious; where locals, celebrities, and weekend visitors mingle with the goal of having a great time.

The good times started rolling, said Honerkamp when he and his partners introduced music to the bar with part-owner Klyph Schwartz and Eddie MacNeil, first taking the stage in September 1987.

According to Honerkamp, other acts soon followed and people began flocking to the nightclub.

With its popularity soaring, Honerkamp said it was decided that an expansion was needed. So, in 1994, the club was expanded, but still is known as one of the smallest nightclubs in the world — able to handle 125 people. Yet it still features a stage and three bars; one inside, a tiki bar outdoors where smokers can congregate, and one more on an enclosed patio deck.   

“We are small, but we have a great sound system and great music,” said Honerkamp, adding that the living-room feel of the club adds to its allure.

Adding to the club’s warm, wooden décor, said Honerkamp, is a wall of nude photos.  The photos, which Honerkamp says are tastefully taken by one of the nighclub’s bartenders, feature women who asked to be put on the wall alongside several photos of the nighclub’s bartenders. 

“There are a lot of beautiful women who come to the club,” said Honerkamp, who said he began hanging the nude photos about ten years ago.

On any night of the week, music enthusiasts can stop by the Talkhouse to hear the sounds of guitars, pianos, drums, trumpets, and saxophones filling the club as patrons sing, dance, and have their drinks filled up by the bar’s bartenders, some of whom have been working at the Talkhouse for between 15 and 27 years.

“We offer such a wide selection of music that all age groups can enjoy,” said Honerkamp, who himself loves the rock and roll sounds of the 1960s, but prides the nightclub for offering everything from blues to rock and jazz.

Notable acts coming this summer include Lez Zeppelin, which will perform on July 3; Judy Collins, who will be performing on July 19; Leon Russel, who takes the stage on July 30; Sheila E, who performs on August 6; and Marc Cohn who will perform on August 9.

Other acts being showcased include Jonathan Edwards on July 4, Loudon Wainwright on July 5,  the Original Wailers on July 12, Marc Broussard on July 18, English Beat on July 25, Rhett Miller on July 31, Lilly Marat on August 8, Isabel Rose on August15, Ben Langer on August 22, and Celtic Cross on August 30.

“We really offer an alphabet soup of acts,” said Honerkamp, who recommends that those looking to visit the Talkhouse this summer, check out all the acts on the club’s website.

He also recommends purchasing tickets in advance since some shows sell out; though tickets, which range in price depending on the act between $10 and $125, are also available at the door.

Aside from main stage performances, the Talkhouse features karaoke night, reggae and open mic nights, as well as Tuesday night drink specials. 

The club is also known for hosting numerous community fundraisers, including ones for local charities, as well as for the Wounded Warrior Project, which will hold its annual Warrior Ride on July 19, which the Talkhouse helped organize.   

While those of all ages flock to the talk house on any given night to see a special performances, Honerkamp said that at 10:00 p.m., the bar changes gears as a younger crowd starts to shuffle in, ready to get their party on and take the dance floor by storm.

“We have a lot of boys coming in to meet girls,” said Honerkamp, who said that the Talkhouse is one of the safest nightclubs around.

The Stephen Talkhouse opens Monday through Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. and Thursday through Sunday it opens at 2:00 p.m. For more information, call 63-267-3117.

BONUS: What's Hot in the Hamptons for Summer 2014

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