East End’s Best Dives

Sometimes it is hard to denude the East End restaurant scene of grandiose decor, showy scenery, and exorbitant prices of cocktails. The extravagance can cause a bit of discomfort if you are simply looking for a small watering hole crowned by a rough finish. Time has never dimmed the charm of mellow light and prosaic interiors. Especially around here, where the few quirky dive bars not only leave your purse comfortable, but also admit patrons in rubber flip flops.


Photo: Grant Monahan

Liars (Montauk)

What’s the definition of Montauk? Ask Liar’s Saloon, the local refuge that has notoriously put into the words what we have all known for some time now, Montauk: “a quaint drinking town with a fishing problem.” Past the crowds of town, you’ll find Liar’s. Nestled between fishing boats and a dirt driveway on West Lake Drive, most patrons hang outside on the dock, heckling at the outsiders and downing $1 Bud.

Drink: Mudslide

Advice: Bring cash.


Photo: Grant Monahan

Wolfies (East Hampton/Springs)

When cocktails and heels are too taxing and abundant, head to the king of all dive bars out east: Wolfie’s Tavern. Most nights, you will find Springs’ locals and service industry vets unwinding at this rural hideaway, grabbing a $5 domestic draft before hitting the horseshoes and billiards.

Drink: Pick your domestic draft

Advice: Call a taxi when leaving.


Photo: Grant Monahan

Murfs Backstreet Tavern (Sag Harbor)

You don’t even have to go inside Murph’s to understand what it’s all about. Actually, no one really goes inside, except to order. Most frequenters gather in the backyard, which also happens to be the the back end of Main Street. Listen for the howling and shouting and you’ll find yourself at Murph’s.

Drink: Bottled Beer

Advice: Buy bottled beer — the chance of someone spilling your draft is high.


Photo: Grant Monahan

MJ Dowlings (Noyac)

The special thing about MJ Dowling’s is that it’s a typical sports-dive with a menu that should be taken seriously. They brag about their steak, and they are allowed to do. A game room with pool and arcade games makes it easy to socialize. Whatever you choose, a strong cocktail with gourmet beef or a beer with wings, MJ’s will not disappoint.

Drink: Gin & Tonic

Advice: Bring friends.


Photo: Grant Monahan

Shagwong (Montauk)

Shagwong embodies the dive more than you know. You’ve got an offbeat style of architecture, an unassuming crowd, dim lighting and strong pours. If that doesn’t tickle your dive-fancy, there’s rumored to be a special-access area of the restaurant below ground. Just kidding 🙂 .

Drink: Budweiser Shot

Advice: Dance the night away.

Side Bar of Late Night Eats after Leaving the Dives.

  • Booby Trap – MTK
  • Pizza Village- MTK
  • Disco Fries @ South Edison- MTK
  • The Magic Shawarma Garden @ Ruschmeyer’s -MTK
  • Corner Bar- Sag Harbor
  • Astros Pizza- AMG
  • Hampton Bagel- EH
  • Your local 7-11