Monday, August 04, 2008

Catch The Wave: Surf Lodge

I am not going to call myself a nightlife forecaster or anything of the sort, but I will say this; bottle service is on its’ way out. Paying $750 for a bottle of vodka or $6000 for a magnum of champagne has simply lost its’ luster.

Case in point; the success of this summer’s Surf Lodge in Montauk, a hotel/bar/restaurant venture by Jamie Mullholland and Jayma Cardosa, whose last joint project included Cain in New York and a few summers back in Southampton.

As former frontiersmen on 27th Street, this duo seems to be pioneering the next trend in nightlife by offering an option that is simultaneously high-profile AND low-key.

Within five minutes of walking into Surf Lodge last week I ran into a particularly Page Six-friendly publicist, and the owners of Intermix, while mildly “attending” a birthday party for seemingly, the most popular boy on Wall Street.

It was a scene without a being a scene, a near impossible balance to strike. But then again, that’s kind of the definition of Montauk, so the location is a major plus.
At Surf Lodge, surf boards adorn the walls, surf and skate films roll on plasmas, and Bob Marley dominates the soundtrack. Its’ design aesthetic is a complete Disney-fication of the town’s true surf culture roots, but the contrived décor doesn’t seem to bother anybody, including myself. Cynicism is not supposed to make it past East Hampton. And with that, Surf Lodge is free to flow.

Since Montauk is literally “The End” (of the Earth it feels like), here are my Surf Lodge words of wisdom before heading out:

*Montauk is not close to anything, and the hotel is booked until 2009. Start calling in favors from friends who have crash pads in Amagansett, East Hampton or anywhere close enough to be taxi-friendly.
*Having said that, don’t drive there. In addition to the heightened DWI-potential, the parking lot is increasingly over-capacity and has become a nightmare, soon be regulated by the town.
*Bring lots of cash. You don’t want to start a tab at the bar because you could be waiting 30 minutes just to close it out at the end of the night. And save enough to get you home. Regulated cab fare is a Big City notion and is NOT welcome in these parts.
*Since it takes a while to get a drink, pre-drinking is always a plus. So bring some booze and hot dogs to your friends place nearby in exchange for them letting you sleep in their living room.
*Try to coordinate with someone who is eating there, ideally with a later reservation. Seating is key, but the only way to snag a table is to inherit one from your friends who have finished their lobster rolls.
*Attire is cute and casual. Ladies, leave your heels at home.
Final Word: Surf Lodge may not be authentically “surf ” or authentically “Montauk,” but they are offering something authentically new to New York night-lifers. I would bet even Kelly Slater would have a good time. I certainly did.

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