If you are familiar with the Hamptons you will know that there are new additions each season or a new twist to an existing restaurant, hotel or club. However, if you are thinking of making this your first season, the Hamptons technically does not exist – it is a collection of five beach towns at the Eastern end of Long Island – Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Montauk.
These five towns all have their own personality, Southampton represents "Old Money" with the oceanfront mansions on Gin Lane, Sag Harbor – the old whaling harbor and up and coming, East Hampton – home to celebrities and Montauk, the more bohemian surfing capital at the end of the Long Island Rail Road (or LIR R).
The social season is in high gear starting from Memorial Day through Labor Day with every weekend being packed with events, adventure and dining all playing big roles. Here is our selection of some of the staples and newer places to be and things to do to get the most from your summer.
WHERE TO DINE
A mixture of classics, returning stars and new entrants characterize this summer's dining recommendations.
Zach Erdem has created in 75 Main the most valuable people watching lunch-spot at the heart of Main Street. Endlessly busy and with Executive Chef Mark Militello, former a James Beard Award Winner and once one on Food & Wine Magazine's list of "10 Best Chefs in America" keeps the cuisine buzzing.
CLAUDE'S AT SOUTHAMPTON INN
Named for a treasured member of the Owners family, Claude's is a hidden gem in the heart of Southampton. With dining options indoors, should the weather be inclement, al fresco in their courtyard or poolside, the cuisine is firmly set around the classics for casual dining by day and more special by night and is open for breakfast daily, Sunday brunch, with live entertainment, and $30 prix fixe and a la carte dinner menu Tuesday through Saturday.
Veteran Upper East Side restauranteur Tony Fortuna returns to the Hamptons in 2019 at the same location as when he helmed Savannah's several years ago. The cuisine is exquisitely simple, very well executed and just so consistent time after time. It is a sure fire hit and will be a tough reservation to score.
This popular eatery, designed by Southampton Social Club owners Ian Duke and David Hilty, sits in the iconic Bowden Square and is open all year-round. With Duke and Hilty working alongside award-winning Executive Chef Scott Kampf, who has been featured on Food Network's Iron Chefs of America, the trio continues to bring innovative Mexican cuisine to Southampton throughout the year.
UNION BURGER BAR
New for the 2019 Summer season and co-located with Union Cantina is the no-reservation Union Burger. The menu of the day is a range of fresh, custom burger recipes with hand cut fries and milkshakes for the child in all of us craving comfort food. A craft bourbon selection is also showcased for the adults.
WHERE TO PLAY
South Beach / South of France inspired genius opposite the Southampton Railway station at the SOUTHAMPTON SOCIAL CLUB. Outdoor gardens with cabanas and bottle service meet a contemporary dining scene, bar and music all summer long. Expect queues and more queues unless you know the secret password… but that's the nature of a secret is it not?
An alternative to the gym workout class, By day head to HAMPTON HILLS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB where, amongst the grounds nestled in 2,000 acres of pine barrens is a challenging 18-hole golf course and tennis courts. Test drive a membership there or find a willing friend who is a member to experience one of the more unique courses in the Hamptons, between the storied book-ends of Bethpage which hosted this year's 2019 PGA Championship and Shinnecock Hills, the host of the 2018 US Open.
By late night, AM SOUTHAMPTON is one of the few remaining nightlife spots and this season is located close to the center of Southampton. Last season saw VIP guests including 50 Cent, Ja Rule, Fat Joe, Michael Jordan, Fetty Wap, 6ix9ine, Jada Kiss, Carmelo Anthony, Amber Rose, and Fabolous; as well as some of the most regarded DJs in today's scene such as Cedric Cervais, DJ Chuckie, Nervo, Thomas Gold, Rehap, Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike, Blau and Thomas Jack.
WHERE TO REST
If that menu of food, sport and fun exhausted you, then clearly a respite is in order – but not too far away from all this action. THE SOUTHAMPTON INN fits the bill perfectly, winner of awards including Dan's "Best Breakfast" and "Best Hotel," the Southampton Inn is a classic, welcoming haven in the heart of the historic Southampton Village, offering the personal attention of a bed & breakfast with the services and amenities of a hotel. Surrounded by world-renowned beaches and estates and Rockwellesque village life, the Inn is the ideal place to relax and recharge for the next weekend in the Hamptons.
Tried the new Blu Mar restaurant and then partied until dawn at AM Southampton, by 75 Main's Zach Erdem and managing partner Richie Hosein? Why not complete the trifecta and stay with friends at THE HARPOON HOUSE. Newly opened this season, the boutique hotel provides you with a walking distance location from everything Southampton has to offer. Should that feel too much of an expedition after a long night why not just pop into Blu Mar to refuel and get ready to start again?