A Tribute to the "Old" Drift Inn
from the The Improper
TRAGEDY HAS STRUCK THE Hamptons and our nightlife will never be the same. I’m sure by now you have heard the devastating news that our beloved dive bar, Drift Inn, met its maker this February and burned to the ground.
Drift Inn located on Dune Road in East Quogue was by far the most popular bar among the middle class Hamptons partiers. Although considered a dive bar, it had more class and charisma than Surf Club and Casey’s combined, though that’s not saying much.
If you didn’t get there by 10pm then you were guaranteed to wait on a thick line full of anxious and impatient out-of-towners just waiting to spend their hard earned beer money. Being an original Hamptonian, this bar had great appeal. Not only could we cut the line, but the bartenders were high school buddies who hooked us up with free beers and shots, and mostly were just happy to see us! The Drift was always a happy environment. And there were hardly any bar brawls; probably because they actually checked ID’s and didn’t let eighteen-year-olds through the door.
I loved the Drift Inn’s set up too. There were three bars you could go to for a refill. But the main attraction of Drift Inn was the freedom to be inside, outside or just hanging with your friends on the front porch, which was contoured with bench-like seating. It was also the best place to go dancing. By the end of the night, the entire inside was your dance floor. It didn’t matter where you were standing, if you felt like dancing you did. If you felt like shouting the words to “Bounce Around the Room” or “Moulin Rouge” you could—no one cared.
The second to last time I was there was this past summer for my best friend’s bachelorette party. Since the Drift was her favorite bar we started there and never left. We owned the place that night: striking poses on the lifeguard stands; dancing on the bar; flirting with the bouncers, bartenders, and random guys; and of course, our mugs landed in Summer Life Magazine the next weekend. Oh the memories! We even had my ten-year high school reunion there.
The Drift Inn was so unique. But the Drift is gone and we just have to deal with it until they rebuild it right? They will rebuild it right? But I still need to know what the hell happened. How do you have an electrical fire in the middle of winter when the bar is closed for the season? Like most, I’m limited to second and third hand gossip and I’ve heard electrical fire and even arson, yes I said arson. Well I guess this shouldn’t surprise me considering a couple of years ago the Pavilion burned to the ground one winter as well. Hmm, what a coincidence. I have to be honest, I didn’t bat an eyelash about the Pavilion, it was a snobby restaurant that offered expensive cuisine and very bad service, but the Drift Inn is another story, it was our Saturday night spot!
So now that Drift Inn is no longer an option, here are my suggestions for alternate watering holes. If you can tango with snobs, don’t mind paying twenty to park and twenty to walk in the door before you’ve even had a drink then I say hike out to Southampton and party at the Tavern or Jet East. The draw back is your fellow peers are not really celebrities, they just think they are.
But if you’d rather party with the down to earth then I say go to Seven. Great atmosphere, plenty of real estate to buy rounds, a huge dance floor to get down on and pool tables for the athletes. Only disadvantage: no outdoor partying. If you do crave the outdoors then your best bet is the Surf Club. Now I used to be a huge Surf Club fan, loved the music, tons of friends, plenty of space and they even sell pizza. But trust me there is a major downside. Let’s just say that if the bar doesn’t want to check IDs then maybe you should because you don’t want to get arrested for sleeping with a minor.
Drift Inn is without a doubt irreplaceable, unforgettable and hope-fully resurrectible. This is my tribute to the Finest Saturday Night bar in the Hamptons: The Drift Inn.