Rarely when the Hamptons come up does anyone first think about the “blue collar” crowd, so to speak. Birdies Ale House located at 801 County Road 39 in Southampton wants to ensure that aspect of our community doesn’t get lost among all the glitz and glamour usually associated with the East End.
Owner Emma Beudert, East Hampton native, opened Birdies last July, taking over the space that was previously the Blue Collar Bar. She aimed to keep those previously established roots strong, also incorporating the beloved sport of golf among local crowds to further bring this community together.
I recently stopped in at Birdies for the first time and immediately felt the friendly small-town atmosphere. I could tell how much the area meant to Emma as a fellow local and could relate to what it means to be part of this small community in a way that simply can’t be adequately explained to out-of-towners, vacationers, and part-time Hamptons goers. I wanted to find out more about Emma’s vision and what led her to open Birdies, which she spoke about further with Hamptons.com.
What is Birdies Ale House all about?
EB: On the surface, BAH is a casino-style sports book bar designed to provide betting enthusiasts with real time data, betting platforms, and multiple TVs and betting screens. At its core, BAH is all about creating an environment where everyone feels welcomed, strangers quickly become friends, and the comradery that forms from cheering on your favorite team is almost instant.
How do you decide which beers and drinks to carry? Is it important to you to support local brands?
EB: You have to do a lot of taste testing—ha! Trends. The market is no longer just liquor, beer, and wine. The market for N/A beverages, RTDs (ready-to-drink cocktails), and spiked seltzers is booming. You also have to listen to your customer base and hear what they want to see on the shelves. Given the chance, I always try to find a local brand who can fulfill the needs of the customers. For example, our coconut rum is Montauk Rumrunners, our RTDs are Talkhouse Encore, our vodka is from Matchbook Distillery, and our draft selection includes Montauk Brewing Co. and Springs Brewery. As a native East Hamptoner, it’s hugely important to support the hometown homies.
Does Birdies serve any food or have a kitchen?
EB: BAH is a tavern with late night bites but our space and ability to make food is limited. Lucky for us, we are right next to Melrose Pizza and Goldberg’s Bagels, so we encourage our customers to bring in their favorite pie or bagel combination and belly up to the bar. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
What’s a must-try drink at Birdies?
EB: The Transfusion. No matter the time of day, it won’t let you down—it’s so refreshing! A proper Transfusion contains vodka, ginger ale, grape juice, and lime juice, but you can also switch the spirit to tequila. It’s a great N/A option too!
Can you talk about some of the events or regularly scheduled happenings on the Birdies calendar?
EB: We try to stay very relevant, and this means scheduling events, sometimes multiple, each week. Every Saturday night we have live music, and we host trivia on the first Monday of every month. Additionally, we host the major sporting events in conjunction with a beverage sponsor where patrons can sample new products and win merchandise. There is always something going on at the bar.
How would you describe the atmosphere at Birdies?
EB: We aim to be the friendliest bar in the Hamptons, similar to a Cheers vibe. It’s our job as bartenders to provide a five-star customer service experience and that includes creating an atmosphere where everyone feels like family, your chosen family that is.
It seems the name ‘Birdies’ is golf-related, can you talk about that?
EB: That is correct! We are surrounded by four of the best golf courses in the country, so it only seemed right to channel that energy and create a “5th Club House” so to speak. The walls are decorated with golf themed photos and paintings, flags from the neighboring courses hang from the ceiling, our cocktail menu is inspired by golfers and golf terminology. It’s great when you get a caddy from Sebonack, a member from Southampton, a greenskeeper from Shinnecock, and an assistant pro from National all talking golf. There is a lot of pride going around in those conversations.
How and when did you get started with this business?
EB: I always liked the space, which was the Blue Collar Bar and I knew the previous owners had a loyal following and created a great watering hole. It’s hard to find small bars that are available for lease in the Hamptons. When I found out the space was for rent, I knew it was an opportunity that wouldn’t come around again. I started planning in December of 2021, I took over the space in March of 2022, and we opened that July.
What led you to Southampton?
EB: I have lived in East Hampton my whole life. My mom is from Hampton Bays. It’s home.
What do you love most about the East End customers?
EB: There is a large spectrum! And particularly where BAH is located, you get all walks of life. The three major contributing factors are the proximity to the golf courses, the Shinnecock Reservation, and County Rd 39. I love the diversity this brings. Everyone has a different life story, and usually there is some humor thrown into it.
What’s your favorite pastime or favorite part about being located on the East End?
EB: It’s a beautiful place with four very different seasons. I have always loved to enjoy the stillness of the winter, fish in the spring, play softball in the summer, and grab some beach days in the fall. I just wish I had more time!
What has been your greatest accomplishment working in this industry to-date?
EB: I have been working in the food and beverage industry since I was 13, washing dishes and bussing tables, which of course I still do. At this stage I can’t say I have any great accomplishments, but I am proud that I can create jobs for people in an environment that is fun, safe, and where everyone is rewarded for their hard work.
What is unique about Birdies that can’t be found or replicated at any other bar on the East End?
EB: The beer is still cheap. Ha! We have real-time sports tickers going around the bar, similar to what you would see on Wall Street. We have real-time odds boards giving patrons up-to-date data on sports betting. There are 14 TVs showing up to 6 different games and we are the only location on Long Island to have the newest OTB (off track betting) self-service kiosk technology. Our goal is to stay current with NY’s sports betting legislation and take advantage of the offerings as they become available in the next few years.
How much do the summer months contrast with the off season? Which do you prefer?
EB: We haven’t been open for a full summer yet so there are high expectations for this summer. Our business really took off in the fall with football, and it was an absolute blast. Football Sundays have been a highlight for sure.
Happy hour is every day from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. and there is always a daily $5 drink special!
For more info, visit www.birdiesalehouse.com