Boys who just want to have fun (with other boys) are out of luck in the Hamptons. For the first time since the sixties, there is no gay club. “Please,” pleads one fashionista, “tell me where my share—eight single gay guys—can go at night!”
Until recently, the answer was a no-brainer: the legendary Swamp club in Wainscott. But in 2001, it was bought by openly gay Scott Storbo and Scott Gray, who named it the Star Room and turned it straight, insisting that a heterosexual crowd (with Tara Reid leading the way!) brings in more money. The Swamp had been a fixture since 1977, when business partners Brent Newsom and Bill Higgins promoted it by handing out potent “rum funnies” at Two Mile Hollow, the gay beach. Calvin Klein, David Geffen, Sandy Gallin, and Barry Diller were patrons.
Most gay Hamptonites say assimilation has killed same-sex socializing. “In 1978, there was a need for a gay restaurant,” says Newsom. “Then, if three guys walked into a place, people were like, ‘What’s going on?’ And God forbid five or six!” There’s also the competing Pines in Fire Island—some find it too raucous (Robin Byrd summers there), but the houses are cheaper.
For now, East Enders on the prowl hit Almond restaurant in Bridgehampton and Magnolia in Sag Harbor on weekends. But Almond co-owner Eric Lemonides is eyeing spaces for a full-time gay bar. “To just throw a party at your house and not have anything to do afterward is a bummer,” he says. “It has to be more fun out here.”