“Here’s your ‘Dirty White Hoe’,” Brady winks, passing me a large glass filled with half Double White Ale and half Black Raspberry Wheat. I’m already giddy to order another, just because I like saying the name.
I’m at Southampton Publick House in Long Island’s exclusive Southampton village. It’s the unofficial hub for the affluent and the beautiful. Settled in 1640, Southampton is actually the oldest English settlement in New York, named after the English Earl of Southampton. It had a prosperous history in terms of agriculture and industry, which has continued into today with beautiful, fertile land and many notable designers and socialites. Walking around the village, the ritzy ambiance is palpable as you pass perfectly coiffed families and peruse $400 belts. However, that’s not what you’ll find here. An affordable menu, award-winning beers and a comical bartender who lovingly teases his guests is more like it.
I grab my camera and snap a photo of the bar (above). Brady runs over to me.
“Redo! I wasn’t looking!” Then he smiles and winks. “You know, I also do nudes.”
I sip my “Dirty White Hoe”, the tart black and red berries mixing with the citrus and spice of the Double White. I wonder to myself how I went so long without tasting such magic.
My companion, Dave, is still unsure what he wants. The brewery features an array of year-round ales, seasonal beers and farmhouse brews. Brady brings us over a few samples. For some local flavor, their Southampton India Pale Ale is a great choice. A balance between the hopped-up West Coast-style IPAs and the Old World traditional European IPA, Southampton IPA is located somewhere between Europe and California, figuratively and literally. We also try their Southampton Altbier, which uses four grains and two hop varieties to create a malty brew with subtle herbal hop notes and a faint crisp fruitiness. Because it’s autumn, however, Dave opt’s for the Southampton Pumpkin Ale. I usually hate Pumpkin Ale, but Southampton’s contains more traditional “pumpkin pie” spices than usual, making it quite appealing to my sweet tooth (we went in autumn although they have seasonal beers all year long).
We mingle with friendly locals, an Irish immigrant named Joe and his local wife, Catherine. They’re regulars at the bar, which is obvious by the way Brady keeps shouting “He’s not really Irish!” and “JLo wants her sunglasses back!” at him. Joe tells us about a great dive we have to check out for dinner. Although we’re both Long Island natives, Southampton is a different breed from where we’re from, so we take his suggestion.
Around the corner, our tour of Southampton’s more laid-back fare continues as my companion and I discover a hidden secret. Driving past the posh boutiques, world-class restaurants and exclusive art galleries you’d never know that hidden behind the Chase Bank is Fellingham’s Restaurant & Sports Bar. Looking at the dingy white and green exterior, you would never know that inside is the best bacon cheeseburger you’ve ever tasted. Not to mention the menu itself is entertaining. If you’re into sports, you’ll understand the burgers themselves are named jokingly after players who resemble them. For example, the “Phelps Burger” consists of fresh fried flounder, while the “Cosell Burger” is bald, plain with “nothing on top.”
The dive also has seafood, chicken and pasta dishes, but for a cheap and delicious meal, I suggest you order the bacon cheeseburger. The bacon and cheese seem to meld together to melt in your mouth, while the burger itself is so plump and juicy it tastes like it was made from scratch.
Who knew that in Long Island’s most exclusive area, you could find such laid-back fare?