At one point this summer, my friend Christine and I decided that we would “research” a column on what it’s like to go to a nightclub in our 30s in the Hamptons. But somehow Labor Day came and it never happened. I must have been too busy sipping white wine spritzers, applying eye cream, and falling asleep before midnight.
There are also not many nightclubs left in the Hamptons, so it’s a challenge to find a true experience. When I was 21 (a million years ago), there was Star Room, White House, Pink Elephant, Dune, Resort, Tavern, and many incarnations of each, with names that changed every summer. I think it was all over when Axe Lounge came to town and guests were expected to pay $5000 for bottle service at a venue sponsored by $5 deodorant spray. I’d go to clubs here and there when invited or hosting a party, but I’ve never been a real “clubby” person. And now that I’m out of my 20s, it’s been a few minutes.
We were having lunch at the Hampton Classic the Friday of Labor Day weekend when I spontaneously decided to go to The Surf Lodge. It wasn’t planned or I wouldn’t have dressed like Strawberry Shortcake on the set of “Little House on the Prairie,” which, by the way, is the perfect look for the Hampton Classic.
The Surf Lodge isn’t exactly a nightclub, but it checks many of the boxes. It offers bottle service. It has velvet ropes (or boat rope to make it “Montauk”). There’s a huge line to get inside. You’ll find big-name DJs along with influencers galore.
DJ Cassidy was set to perform with a special appearance by 50 Cent, or Fofty as I like to call him now — if you don’t get the reference, Google it. Fofty was promoting his new champagne, Le Chemin Du Roi — also Google it.
We stood close to the stage. DJ Cassidy told the crowd that we would “party ‘til the sun came up.” I looked at my phone and realized it was 9 PM and knew that wasn’t happening, but I had another hour or so in me. What we did do was party until 11 PM at a decibel level deemed appropriate by East Hampton Town. DJ Cassidy was fantastic and gave all the good vibes. We were having a blast.
At around 10 PM, Fofty hit the stage. Things quickly escalated. The crowd rushed to the front and a fight broke out (checks another box on the nightclub checklist). We were pushed, but it was quickly under control.
After performing a few of his greatest hits from the ’00s, Fofty was done. He plowed through the crowd, instead of using the exit, with his entourage of bodyguards, causing a wave of people to fall. They jumped off the chairs and tables they were dancing on. I landed on a table reserved for bottle service, while 20 flailing millennials landed on top of me. Glass shattered everywhere.
I saw my life flash before my eyes and all I could think was, “It can’t end like this!” I imagined myself being impaled by the monstrosity of a chess piece on Fofty’s new champagne (which is why I told you to Google it). It was about to be checkmate on the life of Jessica Mackin-Cipro. I also couldn’t die in this horribly executed outfit. Luckily my life was spared with only minor cuts and bruises and a bad case of what I assume is still whiplash.
I ran out shaking. The man guarding the “velvet” rope asked me if I could exit on the other side. I told him that I had just fallen into a pile of glass and that he better let me out of the VIP area immediately. Leave it to me to have a problem getting out of VIP. (Not a humble brag, just recounting the events of the evening.)
Later that weekend, we knew this couldn’t be the end of our nightclub story. It was Sunday of Labor Day weekend, so we had to act fast. We needed to actually go somewhere at night, with a DJ, to make this story complete. Hedge Club was definitely out of the question, Fofty was performing there (we’re currently avoiding each other for the rest of my life — there was also an incident at a concert when I was 19 where I accidentally got pepper sprayed, but that’s a different story).
We landed on Beach Bar in Hampton Bays. As we entered around 11 PM, they said, “$20 please, and welcome to the Drift Inn.” The Drift Inn opened in 1995 and was once located on Dune Road. It’s moved locations a few times and now resides at Beach Bar. Beach Bar slash Drift Inn was a chill crowd, mostly early 20s, same as it’s always been. The music was the same music they played 10 years ago, with some new mixed in. This was the experience we didn’t know we were looking for, but so glad we found. We danced, we sang, we laughed, we saw someone try to breakdance.
My takeaway: No, I’m not too old for this, but I also won’t be out every night of the week, and I’ll probably go home early. And if 50 Cent is on the move, stay out of his way.