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Have you ever wondered what teachers do during their summer break? 

Those who are not teachers envy those three months, which they assume are spent lying by the pool and vegging out.  

 If you asked my fifth-graders back in Connecticut, they would probably come up with some creative ideas about how I spend my time off, including disintegrating into thin air on the last day of school and magically reappearing again on the first day. 

I remember telling my class once that I had seen a movie over the weekend at the local theater and their eyes widened. One actually said, “You go to the movies, too?” From time to time I have to remind them that I am a human with a normal life.

The truth is, my summers are usually filled with teaching summer school or babysitting other people’s children or both. It seems to be a year-round gig for me. Ever since parents deemed me worthy and capable of watching their children at around age 14, I have been working summers. 

As this school year nears its end, I am beginning to feel the itch of freedom. It will be my first summer off since I started working.

Luckily for me, fate has stepped in, as my parents have purchased a new North Fork summer home. Rather than spending the warmer months on the North Shore of western Long Island revisiting all the same spots I have been during past summers, I will be exploring the North Fork and all the places it has to offer a (temporarily) unemployed 26-year-old.  

Although I spent many summers on the North Fork thanks to my godparents’ summer home in Southold, I have never explored it as a young adult. The past few years I have been to a few wineries suggested by my parents, but what I really want to visit are the places where I can find folks around my age. I want to find the hidden gems that may not be as commercially popular, but still offer a wicked (adopted New Englander term) happy hour or nightlife scene. My search isn’t exclusive to just places where alcohol is served, but it doesn’t hurt. I figure other young people who are looking for fun on the weekends are probably at these establishments as well. 

Patrons at North Fork Taps and Corks on the evening I visited. (Credit: Amanda Lubin)
Patrons at North Fork Taps and Corks on the evening I visited. (Credit: Amanda Lubin)

I spent my first Saturday night out at North Fork Taps and Corks in Southold. This comfortable and quaint establishment is tucked away in the Feather Hill complex on Main Road in Southold and offers a healthy menu of local wines and beers. 

From the moment I walked through the door, I knew this was a place I was going to frequent this summer.   

I quickly jumped into a conversation with Bernadette Buckley, one of the four partners at Taps and Corks, as she served me a Blue Moon and gave me the history of the charming bar that opened in August 2015.  She told me about the ins and outs of the establishment, including the story behind the handcrafted wooden bar made by business partner Kevin Grannigan, how patrons are allowed to bring in or order out their own food and that they are rapidly becoming known for the best pint of Guinness on Long Island.  

Although newly established, patrons were quick to jump in and tell me how much they’ve enjoyed their time over the last nine months. 

“You can come down here by yourself and feel like you have company,” JoAnn DAngelo, who works at Raphael winery in Peconic, told me. “They support local vineyards and I send people their way.”  

The sense of community and company was definitely felt in the room. People were having conversations with one another from across the bar and each new patron that walked in was greeted by Bernadette and those around her. As I enjoyed my pint of Blue Moon, Bernadette filled me in on all the exciting events that Taps and Corks has to offer, including Open Mic night on Wednesdays, Paint Nights and private parties in the adorable upstairs loft, and food trucks, wine and cheese pairings and oysters on Saturdays that will be sure to draw a crowd. One local man seated next to me put it perfectly when he said, “You can enjoy local company, local beer, and who doesn’t like a Guinness?”  

North Fork Taps and Corks is located at 53345 Main Road in Southold, (631) 876-5246. It is open from noon to midnight seven days a week.

You can find a list of all events, and videos of open mic night on their Facebook page,

It is conveniently situated near the Southold Hampton Jitney stop and the Long Island Rail Road station. And it’s a place you must check out. 

This summer we’ll follow along with Amanda as she experiences different establishments on the North Fork for the first time and blogs about it. Next week she’ll visit the Broken Down Velise in Mattituck.