The thing about winter is this: It lends itself to a certain style of eating and drinking. If summer is all pink tinted sunset and glittery dinner by candlelight, winter is a huskier version. We take comfort in the rib-sticking, in the dark and inviting, in the cozy. We take comfort in sports bars, as it happens, or, at least, I do. While football is on television — and in the long few months between football and summer weather — the sports bar, with its diet-crashing cuisine and laissez-faire attitude, has my attention.
That’s where The Point comes in. People often refer to Montauk as the Drinking Village with a Fishing Problem, and you can see why, in a village of 3000 that balloons to 30,000 in season, that might be a truism. There’s not much to do when the weather is bad. The majority of the town’s restaurants close. Liar’s Saloon, which is, notably, open 365 days a year, serves only one thing to eat: toaster oven-hot frozen pizza (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it, but don’t count on it for get-through-winter sustenance, either). But at The Point, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, you can always expect — even in a town that shuts down with the passing September tumbleweeds — a convivial crowd.
There are 17 flat-screen televisions, as well as NFL games and drink specials. There are, naturally, chicken wings. On Tuesdays, the bar and restaurant host a bustling trivia night. Most nights, a three-hour Happy Hour (from 4 to 7) boasts half-price appetizers and drinks. And there are so-called Sloppy Sundays, featuring $3 well drinks after 11 PM (any local server or bartender is already privy to this particular promotion). The Point knows its own identity, and it’s not trying to put on airs. This is a bar, first and foremost, with the added bonus of snackable food.
Given the cheekiness and self-recognition inherent in The Point’s unofficial mission statement of partying well into the night, you might not expect any great shakes when it comes to the food. But actually, the food here is delicious, in a predictable but satisfying way. Baked clams are only one of many fresh seafood options. (Are you surprised to see seafood occupy a prominent position on a sports bar menu? You shouldn’t be; this is Montauk). Local blackened seared tuna, scallops, and steamed mussels are all good bets. But the wings are king. These are true Buffalo-style beauties, slicked with hot, buttery sauce and served with — you guessed it! — blue cheese on the side.
There is an actual buffalo dish, too. I mean the meat, which is served as a burger, along with lettuce, tomato, and onion. If that’s not your speed, there is a regular burger, a turkey burger, a chicken sandwich, a fish Reuben, a Philly cheesesteak, and more. As far as casual cuisine is concerned, the options are plentiful. Isn’t that exactly what you’re looking for in the middle of the long, cold winter? Hot wings and choices?
The Point is also the most popular watering hole of the epic, annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which is, in some ways, a swan song to winter. If you make it to the parade this year, you may find yourself waiting for a spot to open up. The Point’s raucous post-parade party is a yearly tradition.
But you don’t have to wait until March to enjoy the simple pleasures offered at The Point. In fact, any winter evening will do. Sidle up to the bar, order a plate of those wings, and remember that winter is just a short moment in time. Might as well enjoy it while you can.