Let’s journey back one hundred years to the 1920s when Canoe Place Inn first opened its doors on the east end of Long Island. The legendary American architect, William L. Bottomley, was the mastermind behind Canoe Place Inn’s signature Dutch Colonial Revival-style. Originally intended to replace an inn that had burned down in a fire in 1921, CPI quickly became the hottest meeting place for politicians and celebrities.
Fast forward seventy years, Canoe Place Inn transformed into a trendy east-end night club throughout the nineties and early 2000s. However, in the early twenty-first century, CPI sat vacant and neglected until its refurbishment by Rechler Equity Partners in 2018. Now, it has been revitalized as a magical dinner spot, wedding venue, and inn, returning to its stylish 1920s roots, but with a modern twist.
With an impressive scale, including a 350-person catering hall, a 90-person tap room and library, and 20 guest suites and 5 cottages, Canoe Place Inn has reemerged as a landmark in the hamlet of Hampton Bays.
Behind the extensive bar is bartender Andre Hines, who sat down with me to discuss the secrets behind CPI’s charming atmosphere. Originally from Jamaica, Andre has been bartending on the east end for the last six years. Hines recalled, “I had a great meal and conversation with Bartender Jake, and that was it.” After witnessing the meticulous design and intentionality of the bar and restaurant, Andre couldn’t help but envision himself working there.
Stepping into their library room transports you to a lodge in the woods. Adorned with luxurious leather couches and intimate booth seating, all centered around a blazing fireplace, the library room is my go-to spot for a cozy drink with friends. This room is just steps away from the main dining area and an elongated bar that overlooks all diners. CPI’s attention to detail doesn’t stop at design and construction; it extends to all aspects, particularly their cocktail and dinner menu. Hines’s favorite cocktail to make from the menu is the Spiced Margarita. “Tequila is my favorite spirit, along with mezcal, and I’d say the Margarita, when made with fresh ingredients as we do at Canoe Place, is my favorite cocktail,” said Hines.
Canoe Place Inn exudes an alluring and inviting vibe that is challenging, even for a writer, to put into words. There’s a room or seat for everyone here. Hines alludes to this point when he says, “We strive to create a memorable experience for all guests, and you can feel it the moment you step onto the property.” It was difficult for Hines to pick a favorite bartending memory from his time at CPI, but what he said reflects the magic that comes with being behind the bar at Canoe Place Inn. “No one memory stands out as a favorite, but the best ones stem from meeting amazing people and the interactions and relationships that form not only with me but also with other guests. It’s wonderful to see people meeting, coming together, and having a great time,” said Hines.
When not tending the bar at CPI, you can find Andre working at the new Watermill hotspot, Kissaki, or enjoying a drink with Cris and Ali over at Dopo Argento. If you stop by CPI, be sure to order Andre’s favorite drink, a mezcal negroni. See you there!