Blue Parrot: The Secret Space

James J. Mackin
The Dirty Bird Margarita (center).

East Hampton’s Blue Parrot Bar & Grill, tucked away inauspiciously in an alleyway just off of Main Street, enjoys a storied history. The original bar was founded in the early 1980s, when a fleet of local surfers established a go-to haunt for those looking neither to see nor to be seen. That first iteration lasted until 2006, when the Blue Parrot closed. Three years later, a coterie of Blue Parrot loving actors, artists, musicians, and businessmen saved the Parrot.

The goal, in 2009, was to revitalize a Hamptons classic without too much intervention. The space was cleaned up a little, but the identity remained roughly the same: a casual, surfer-esque hangout that welcomed everyone — especially locals.

“It was really important for us to preserve a casual and understated piece of history,” Blue Parrot managing partner Sarah Chapman said of the investors. “We were concerned that brand names were taking over the town at the expense of the locals (or local establishments).” Chapman and her co-partners view the Blue Parrot as a place where locals can dress down and enjoy a more casual version of the Hamptons. “It’s a hidden gem in the center of town. We love that you have to ask for directions to find it,” she said. “Everyone is welcome even your dogs.”

The bar and restaurant serve both lunch and dinner seven days a week, from May through October.

A full decade has now passed since the Blue Parrot reopened, and, in honor of that 10-year anniversary, the team is opening its doors to celebrate. The restaurant will partner with Green Beetz, an educational not-for-profit that focuses on teaching middle schoolers about sustainable, healthful eating. From 3 to 6 PM on Saturday, July 13, the Blue Parrot will host a Green Beetz-co-sponsored party called the Family Fiesta, with games, adult- and kid-friendly libations, crafts, and other entertainment.

At the Family Fiesta, raffle tickets will be available for purchase, to be drawn on August 25. Raffle prizes include some incredible offers, including a hand-crafted FAKTION surfboard; dinner for four at Sag Harbor’s Le Bilboquet; and two tickets for a live taping of “Saturday Night Live.” The Parrot will also launch a “pop-up margarita” for the event, in honor of the organization. Money raised will go to benefit Green Beetz and its mission of sustainability. Additionally, Sarah Chapman’s siblings, Andrew and Anna, sit on the host committee for Green Beetz’ 5th Annual Green Beetz Day, a family-friendly daytime benefit that will take place at Anna Chapman and Ronald Perelman’s East Hampton home, The Creeks on July 27.

The Blue Parrot has cultivated a distinct following, with regular patrons returning night after night for a fresh, comfort-driven take on Mexican cuisine. The drinks, of course, are just as popular — if not more popular — than the food. The Parrot’s signature drink, the Dirty Bird, is a house margarita that is served on tap and served in a Mason jar. The drink is “served really strong” and has been described by some passionate drinkers as the provider of “the veil of happiness.”

A wide-open space makes for an excellent spot for people of all ages to congregate. The Blue Parrot welcomes margarita lovers, yes, but it also welcomes young families, older couples, and just about anyone in search of a Hamptons bar without the Hamptons attitude. “It’s like a really fun dive bar that you can go to that also has fresh food,” Chapman said. “You see older people, young people, and people with families totally in unison. It’s a place where every generation goes and wants to be.”

As for the Blue Parrot’s off-the-beaten-path location, Sarah Chapman sees that as an asset. “It’s the perfect location for what we want,” she said, endorsing the spot’s low-key ethos. “The best places are the secret places. We would never do this anywhere else.” A decade in, it looks like she won’t have to.

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