The Essential Social Agenda: Summer Evenings on LI

by Meena Ellsbury

imageVery few places have such a wealth of social happenings that stepping out onto the scene, and being seen, can become a career (at the very least, part and parcel to career advancement). But as any forward thinking, fashionable person knows, socializing is an art form.

The last year has blessed our region with the addition of several chic restaurants and lounges that offer luxurious ambiance, polished crowds, exciting menus and libations and most of all, discerning maitre d’ who understand why they have the following they do and honor that at all costs. Mondays are often a good time to rejuvenate after the busy weekend and returning to work. Use the time to center yourself and prepare for the week.

Tuesday evening is the time to step out for a one-cocktail-catch-up with an old colleague or mentor. Prime Restaurant commands the most attractive corner of Huntington Bay. Whether nibbling in The Lodge, sipping gin & tonics at The Wave Bar, mingling on the patio or taking in the incomparable vistas from The Cabana Bar, the mood is consistently relaxed, the crowd is manageable and the staff is attentive.

With the US Open behind us, Carlyle on the Green has announced the return of their Party in the Park. The sprawling Carlyle patio overlooks the famed Bethpage Black, and is the perfect setting for this summer series of outdoor music. Boasting designer cocktails and light café menu, your Wednesday nights can now take on a casual, but discerning style.

By Thursday night, exquisite Limani Restaurant dignifies guests with soft, but sophisticated décor contrasting blues and whites with dark browns that creates a natural beauty that transcends to clientele, staff and every detail between. Impeccable European tastes will delight all the senses, plan for a two-cocktail conversation with friends to enjoy the full experience.

Prudent use of half-day Fridays can make that window of early evening your most productive time of the week. Speranza and Annona are geographic opposites but twins in that both are modern Italian restaurants where sipping Campari is perfectly acceptable (as is mingling across social strata).

Weekends are the Olympics of social behavior—in The Hamptons of course. The red carpets are rolled out for the region’s VIPs and our celebrity neighbors. Super Saturday, Polo at Bridgehampton and The Hamptons Classic remain afternoon favorites for some, and do draw a fair assembly of paparazzi, but the key is to judiciously attend the haute galas. Between now and Labor Day, evening events presented by Southampton Hospital, Guild Hall, Parrish Art Museum, Hamptons International Film Festival, Rush Philanthropic Art for Life (often hosted at Russell Simmons’ home), The Ross School, and Bay Street Theater all include at least one must-attend occasion. Start at one of the many Jobb’s Lane gallery openings or end the evening at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center for cultural enrichment.

Whether these suggestions are intriguing or personal tastes sway you in another direction, maintaining good manners, keen conversation and a friendly, positive attitude cannot be compromised. The key to elegance is understanding that more is not more, and the attempt at grandeur comes off as flashy (read: tacky). “Too muchness” is to be avoided at all costs. That is to say, too much makeup, jewelry, cologne, volume (when speaking), movement (of hands, also when speaking), name dropping, drinking, display of money, self-involvement or anything that draws unnecessary attention to the person doing it is unforgivable. Fashion and elegance are not synonymous. Graciousness does not come with a price tag. It comes from within and is refined by modesty, lightness of attitude and consistent courteousness; even the correctness of a simple thank you can be undone when said in a condescending or otherwise brash tone. No matter where you go, keep in mind that Long Island is in fact not very long and social indiscretion will find you.