If your idea of nightlife includes hitting a bar for drinks and socializing, then our Long Island guide is just what you want. Capitalizing on first-hand experience and extensive research, we've located the best bars in Long Island for hanging out and kicking back in. From long-lived mainstays like Red Dish Grill & Martini Bar to busy places like Rare Olive Lounge that get lots of 10Best reader approval, we present the top bars in town and offer details about them all. What's the energy like? How do the bartenders pour? Are most bars located in the Huntington area? No fear - we share all the facts!


An impressive dinner menu and killer martinis wow patrons at this popular restaurant and cocktail bar. Among the delectable menu items are pank- crusted chicken breast with balsamic dressed tomato, red onion, basil and fresh mozzarella, and pan-roasted snapper with rock shrimp, green beans, artichoke hearts, red potatoes and roasted tomato vinaigrette. Over 30 martinis, from the down and Dirty (vodka, dry vermouth, olives) to the Oatmeal Cookie (Kahlua, Goldschlager, Baileys, butterscotch and vanilla ice cream) provide for a delightful cocktail hour or after dinner treat. Darkwood chairs and black and white accents flank the upscale casual interior.

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Maxwell and Dunne's features one of Plainview's top happy hours, complete with great prices on beer, wine, and mixed drinks and tasty appetizers like baked stuffed ciabatta and sweet coconut shrimp. The speakeasy-style setting recollects a Fitzgerald novel, much to the delight of the well-dressed 30-something clientele. Cigar smokers find safe haven in Churchill's cigar store and lounge, which features cozy seating, plasma screen TVs, and plenty of premium cigars. A great place to enjoy cocktails and a bite to eat before or after testing your luck at Race Palace, an OTB facility in what was once the Vanderbilt concert hall.

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Where does Ocean Beach's 20-something crowd hang out during the summer? It's a safe bet that you'll find a good many of them at this Bay Walk watering hole, where cold drinks and terrific food (try the fried calamari – it's a local legend!) serve as welcome complements to the lively atmosphere. And lively it is, with classic rock blaring from the sound system, folks hanging out on the porch like at a beach house, and the occasional swinging light (be warned: it's against the house rules to touch the light fixtures). NB You must take a ferry to the island.

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Savor green apple martinis and tasty hors d'oeuvre and enjoy live bands from the patio of this spunky restaurant and lounge. If you're looking for dinner, it's hard to go wrong with flavorful eats like lobster linguini or marinated skirt steak, prepared in the open kitchen. Happy hour with live music Friday 5pm-7pm. NB The live music begins at 7pm and goes until 10pm; DJs after that.

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Honu Kitchen and Cocktails
Photo courtesy of honu kitchen & cocktails

This restaurant and bar combines a sleek, contemporary design with tropical accents like red lanterns and palm trees. Hawaiian inspired dishes like tempura of red snapper and smoked chili pork tenderloin with cucumber and mango line the menu. Linger at the bar over a signature coconut martini, and keep your eyes peeled for celebs – Billy Joel, Daniel Baldwin and Joey Fatone have all made previous appearance here! VIP lounge available by reservation.

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As the name no doubt anticipates, red is the preferred color at this New York Avenue restaurant and lounge. Euro-chic decor and a big city attitude set the stage inside, and the sleek bar area is a favorite gathering place for area hipsters. If hunger pangs hit, the restaurant menu offers appetizing entrees like banana-curry tiger shrimp with jasmine rice or grilled filet mignon with spicy béarnaise sauce. There's also an equally-tantalizing lineup of appetizers and a stellar wine list. Outdoor seating is available on the back patio. Dinner reservations are suggested.

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Elegant and urbane, Polo Lounge attracts a well-heeled clientele who enjoy sipping evening martinis or glasses of wine amid richly stained hardwood floors, cozy banquettes, a round bar, and recessed lighting. The aptly named Conservatory, meanwhile, offers a brighter, garden-like setting with hanging plants and glass walls and ceilings. After dinner, you may want to head to the lounge for after-dinner drinks, enjoying the music of a pianist serenading the crowd. Reservations are encouraged.

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Hampton Bays

A local fave since the early '70s, Boardy Barn sports a laid-back, casual atmosphere where folks feel free to be themselves. Cheap beer and great music are mainstays, much to the delight of the fun-loving 20-somethings who clamor here each Sunday for a bit of Hamptons-style rowdiness. Don't be surprised if the party spills outside during the summer, and keep in mind the house rules: if you misbehave and are asked to leave, all exits are final.

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