- As I stated in the first installment of this Oak Bar series, many great oak bars are found in great hotels all around the world. On the East End one such bar is at The Palm
Restaurant at the Huntting Inn in East Hampton. Believe me, this intimate beauty fulfills all the requirements.
The Huntting Inn has it own storied past and is one of the oldest buildings in East Hampton. It was originally constructed as a family residence for the second Presbyterian minister of East Hampton, the Reverend Nathanial Huntting. The house was built in 1699 and added on to over the years by both the original and subsequent owners. The most dramatic alteration came in 1875 when it became a boarding house and then again in 1912 went it officially became an inn and new wings were added.
Of course, this is a bar review not a restaurant review, but the outstanding reputation of "The Palm" restaurants as some of the finest steakhouses in the world has been well documented since the first one opened in New York City
in 1977. Their East Hampton location in the Huntting Inn is no exception to the rule.
Cozy and very, very oak at The Palm Restaurant at the Huntting Inn in East Hampton.
As you enter this historical landmark a stroll past the reception desk will lead you into the bar area. Warm and woody - very woody - there is wood everywhere! On the left side of this very small bar area are three wooden booths where the same kind of full food service you find in the main dining room is available. Like all great oak bars, you can order anything from the menu while sitting at the bar itself.
The bar is barely 25 feet long, fits about a dozen leather trimmed stools and, of course, there is the mandatory brass foot rail. Again, the whole bar structure is oak and it is simply beautiful. The bar top has a short lip on the customer side and 18 year veteran Palm bartender Douglas Goetz informed me that the original curved "Chicago
rail" had been removed several years ago to facilitate bar dinning. A Chicago rail, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is a curved 5-6 inch wide molding that provides an arm rest when standing and leaning against the bar.
Douglas Goetz is a 18-year Palm veteran and master mixologist.
The back bar is truly a work of art with an elaborately carved edifice and round carved columns that frame the traditional back bar mirrors. Although not entirely sure of the origin, Goetz believes the exquisite woodwork was saved from a 150 year old Brooklyn brownstone that was going to be demolished. Kudos to whoever had the foresight to save this magnificent craftsmanship.
There is a digital server station, but standing proudly beside it is the original brass cash register, gleaming in all its splendor. Two understated flat screen televisions are mounted in the corners and thankfully there is no point of sale beer brand posters or sports memorabilia hanging on the walls.
Apparently the liquor stocking at this bar is seasonal, as Goetz assured me that with fall the single-malt scotch selection increases to about 20 varieties. I had my usual 5 p.m. Bombay martini, which was Douglas Goetz perfect and appropriately included vermouth, as I didn't order gin on the rocks. For the vinophiles in the house there are 30 wines by the glass, including some locals. A bit odd is the fact that the bar at the Palm does not offer any draught beer, but there is good selection of bottles from which to choose.
If the bar area gets a little too cozy for you, you are free to wander with your drink into two adjacent lounge areas that are tastefully appointed with overstuffed easy chairs and sofas. Notable in one area is the grand piano and in the other a working fireplace, that is again framed in exquisitely carved woodwork. If board games are your fancy, there seem to be plenty of them available and stacked upon the piano. (Personally, I'd find a shelf for them somewhere).
One of two adjacent lounge areas that are so very tastefully appointed.
Strewn board games aside, the bar at The Palm is without a doubt one of the most beautifully appointed Oak Bars in the East End, or anywhere for that matter. The food is excellent, the service superb and the bar companions smart and convivial, as I myself had a lovely conversation with Kim and Brian Mahoney of Connecticut during my visit. As busy as The Palm is in the summer, I can personally attest that it becomes cinema central with the arrival of the Hamptons International Film Festival
in October. I suggest reserving now if you want a room in the Inn or a table in the dining room, as The Palm is the place to be pre- and post-screenings. As for me, I'll be at the bar.
The Palm at the Huntting Inn, 94 Main Street, East Hampton, NY 631-324-0410 or www.hunttinginn.com
Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com