A Local’s Guide to Patchogue

Eat and drink your way through Patchogue like a local. We’ll show you how.

Patchogue is alive all the time—not just for its “After 5” festival.

If you’re not from around here, you probably can’t pronounce “Patchogue”—and for good reason; Patchogue was originally inhabited and named by natives from the Unkechaug Nation. The word means “Patches of Water” and when you take a deeper look at this booming town nestled on the South Shore of the Great South Bay it is, in fact, full of lakes and rivers rendering the name really appropriate (and also kind of beautiful). There’s so much for locals and visitors to do in this lovely town that’s made up of patches of water, that I think it often gets overlooked as a great way to spend a summer day.

To Do

Alive After Five

Alive After Five is a free summer street fair that takes place on certain Thursdays (yup, you guessed it) after five o’clock. Currently in its 15th year, this event has grown so much that the village now provides shuttles from local St. Joseph’s College and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church to manage parking and leave room for foot traffic. This event includes six stages of live music and entertainment, nearly one-hundred retail vendors, almost a dozen food trucks (plus all those wonderful local venues), children’s activities and amusements, and more! Plus, if you’re local, it’s impossible to walk down Main Street and not see a friend or neighbor. This is what summer is all about.

Don’t let its unassuming facade fool you; Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center is a hidden gem.

Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center

This center is in fact a hidden cultural gem of Patchogue. Tucked away behind Main Street (on Terry Street), the center regularly shows an assortment of eminent mainstream, independent, and foreign films, as well as offerings of opera and plays live from world stages. This not-for-profit constantly offers film series and festivals with guest speakers. They even offer a three-week, short documentary film production class over the summer that is held nearby at Isabella Rossellini’s farm. Classes are suitable for adults and kids ages 14+.

Davis Park Ferry

There are conflicting views about how Fire Island got its name with some supposing it was a misspelling of the Dutch word “vier” which meant five when describing the number of inlets. Others have more romantic views of pirates luring boats filled with cargo to the island by setting large fires. (Who doesn’t like a good pirate story?) I always just assumed, however, that it was the way the island looked like it was on fire during the sunset because it faces south after all, which makes it sunny all day. Whatever the name, an 18-minute ferry ride will deliver you to Davis Park on Fire Island. This public beach has all the required beach amenities such as life guards, public restrooms, an oceanfront bar and restaurant and snack stands.  You can also feel free to bring your own picnic. It feels like a vacation thousands of miles from the mainland.

Carman’s River Canoe and Kayak II

Carman’s River Canoe and Kayak II offers rentals, tours and lessons for canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. It is located on the Carman River and in the Wertheim Wildlife Refuge. The Carman River is home to over fourteen species of native fish, leaving you the option of spending a lazy afternoon catching dinner while enjoying the beauty of your surroundings (that’s what I consider efficiency), or taking your Instagram account up a notch by exploring the wildlife & waterscape while unleashing the photographer inside of you who’s just dying to be set loose. If the latter sounds more your style, Carman’s Guided Kayak Photography Tour is designed with you in mind.

To Eat and Drink

Late lunch with my pops.

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PeraBell

Do you ever go to a place, swear you’re going to try something different, but in the end order the same thing you always do? There’s a reason for that: Sometimes, a place does something so right, you just can’t risk not getting it (I call this the “But What If This Was My Last Meal?” game, because honestly, you’d totally regret it if you didn’t just get your favorite). Anyway, for me at PeraBell, it’s the Baked Mac & 4 Cheese appetizer which is covered in cheese (obviously), has the perfect crunchy top, and is flawlessly paired with bacon and chives. I usually follow this with the Chop House Burger and Fries.  It’s a glorious mess, so we usually end the evening here.

Happy hour done right 👌 #happyhour #friday

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Rhum

There’s no better way to escape our everyday world than by enjoying island-inspired cuisine on the rooftop of Rhum. Opened in December 2016 by David and Rachel Hersh, owners of Rumba and Cowfish in Hampton Bays, this restaurant brings much needed Island Time to Patchogue, as well as the incredible fine cuisine they’re famous for. Whatever you order (I’m partial to the NOLA Shrimp) you can be sure it will be delicious and, of course, a relaxing time well spent with family and friends. Especially if you go ahead and order one of the many rum-inspired drinks on the menu. (Obviously.)

We're still thinking about all the firkin awesome casks at #CaskAlesFest. Which one was your favorite?

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Blue Point Brewing Company

Famous for its Toasted Lager, Bluepoint Brewery—one of the largest craft brewers on Long Island—has been a fixture in Patchogue since 1998. In 2018, the ever-so-cozy location will be giving way to a larger Brewhouse which will include a restaurant, a tasting room, and an outdoor biergarten (yes!) at the former location of Briarcliff College (and to locals, the site of the old lace mill). While the news of this opening is highly anticipated, let’s all just take a moment to be nostalgic and pay homage to the original location before its retirement, where this little brewery was born and grew before us into the iconic Long Island beer that it is today.

The Meetball Place

“So let me get this straight, it’s a place that only serves meatballs?” I asked my friend who insisted we had to go here. “They’re not just meatballs,” he said. I remained open-but-skeptical—that is, until my dinner arrived. I chose the sampler of three meatballs each in a different sauce (that’s right, three meatballs and I am not ashamed of it—nor the bourbon vanilla milkshake I ordered afterwards for dessert). #YOLO

If you guys know us here, you'll know that we have an appreciation for well made, simple, chug-able Pilsners, especially when they are created by some of our favorite local breweries. Right now we've got @interboronyc Bushburg Pils, clocking in at a respectable 5.5%. It's also part of our Happy Hour, and yeah, that means it's a ridiculous $2.50 all week long from 3-7. It also would be the perfect quencher with our Bratiques this lunch. Some might argue that Pilsners are just a new way to be session IPAs (I'm looking at you @thebrewpastor) but what we love about this style: it's old as fuck, it's focus is on lovely biscuity malts and a little hit of hops and THAT'S IT! Nothing else to get in the way. That doesn't mean we don't love us some IPAs, sours or imperial stouts; it does mean there's a time and a place for everything, and it's not always DIPA time (crazy, we know. I guess I've gotta give back my beer nerd card 😢) . . #hoptron #hoptronbrewtique #craftbeer #killerbeer #patchogue #longisland #localbeer #beer #pilsner #happyhour #lunch #local #maps #glasses #thereexistsmoreinthisworldofflavorthanjusthazyNEIPAs #soonIwillbetarredandfeathered

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Hoptron Brewtique

Hoptron Brewtique offers patrons a chance to discover new brews and expand their palate by trying out a hodgepodge of craft beers making this a great destination for beer geeks and novices alike. With a real-time tap list which usually includes at least one hard cider, you can always check what’s available. Oh, and did I mention that they also have a state-of-the-art wine station serving up all the best vino from local vineyards? It’s a great gathering place for light fare (or even to keep the night going after an early dinner).

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Carri Horner works, writes and lives in New York. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton.