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Josh Lenhart is heading into his second season slinging drinks at Amagnsett’s Rowdy Hall. (Photo credit: Three Mile Media)

You can feel it from the end of the block — that distinct vibration of hustle and bustle that happens in restaurants that are alive and well. It immediately breathes new life into you just from being near it, especially in the middle of winter on Amagansett’s usually quiet Main Street. But not on this night, which is a Sunday in February; the recently re-opened Rowdy Hall is doing an excellent job of living up to its name.

For Lenhart, crafting well-balanced cocktails is not only work, it’s a hobby he enjoys at home as well. (Photo credit: Emily Toy)

Upon entering the beloved pub that re-located to downtown Amagansett from its original East Hampton Village home late last year, the energy is high, with a good chunk of the hamlet’s residents, both young and not-so-young, crammed into the small, narrow resto. But in a really good way.

Every table is occupied. A line of people looking for seats is quickly forming out the door. The dozen or so stools at the copper-topped bar are all full and there’s a two-person-deep crowd assembling behind it, patiently waiting for a drink. Hostesses are weaving in and out of the crowd as food runners whiz by with sizzling plates of escargot and crispy fish and chips. Servers glide back and forth from the dining room to the service bar to pick up and drop off trays of drinks predominantly consisting of martinis and pints of beer, from the super local, like Springs Brewery and Twin Fork Beer Co., to the mainstream, like Guinness stout. It’s lively and upbeat and it feels like the place to be.

Manning the service bar station is veteran hospitality professional Josh Lenhart, a long-time East End bartender originally from Vermont who now lives in Sag Harbor with his wife and two small children. “This year will be my second season here,” he says of his tenure at Rowdy Hall, though he formerly worked at Rowdy’s sister operation Townline BBQ in Sagaponack, as well as Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor, over the duration of the past decade or so.

The devil, truly, is in the details for Lenhart and his execution in building drinks is precise yet pliable.

After setting down a fresh handful of pints to his patrons, and with a quick nod and a smile, he does a smooth about-face, spinning 180 degrees around to pull two new drink tickets from the service printer and begins building another round of martinis.

Armed with a drink menu curated by Honest Man beverage director Chimene Macnaughton that pays a healthy homage to the classics, Lenhart’s style of crafting drinks is relaxed yet intentional. With ease, his jigger instantly becomes a fluid extension of his digits, as he methodically builds drinks with both hands for maximum volume. All the while his focus is consistently darting from what he’s making to who’s sitting in front of him, and ultimately, who is waiting for service beyond the bar seats. He’s efficient and calm and he’s operating three steps ahead.

Lenhart’s style is laid back but with an unrelenting professionalism and friendliness. (Photo credit: Emily Toy)

With “measure twice, cut once” as his mantra, Lenhart is a former woodworker, fittingly specializing in antique restoration. At Rowdy Hall, there’s no soda gun. All mixers are either in individually sized bottles and cans or in glass vessels topped with a speed pourer. There are six different types of ice used throughout each and every shift for specific reasons and there are at least half a dozen different types of glasses in rotation for service.

The devil, truly, is in the details for Lenhart and his execution in building drinks is precise yet pliable. He can be the guy you need when you just want to belly up to the bar for a couple pints and a couple of yuks when the clock strikes 5 (for the past 11 years, Rowdy Hall has held a Mug Club, where members are able to proudly drink their brews from a numbered, custom-made personal German beer stein with a pewter lid). Or he can be the person to thoughtfully assess and then recommend the perfect glass of wine to accompany whatever you’re munching on from the English-pub-meets-French-bistro style menu.

“I always like it when bartenders can do that thing where they read your mind, so I really try to understand what the guest is looking for,” he says.

And he does.

Operating cleanly and, dare we say, elegantly, executing drinks quickly and consistently, there’s a six-ounce pour of water at his station to accurately model the measure of his wine pours each and every time. His fruit and edible garnishes look immaculate. His beer pours (available in both half and full pint format, or as a flight of 3, if you want) are uniform and crisp with just the right amount of head. He can effortlessly garnish cocktails with a pair of tweezers rather than using his fingertips when the bar is three deep. It sounds like a small, insignificant feat, but it’s impressive and at the end of the day, appreciated.

A self-described lover of Old-Fashioneds, Lenhart says he’s constantly adjusting ratios and ingredients to take the beloved libation to the next level. “At home I’ll play around with a maple infused simple syrup or use orange bitters instead,” he says.  

The Bella’s Big Easy. (Photo credit: Emily Toy)

Those who are seeking to get their Old-Fashioned fix at Rowdy Hall can look to the Bella’s Big Easy, a riff on a Sazerac that has notes of an Old-Fashioned, and what Lenhart says, “is simple and classic, of course, but really holds it ground.” In a mixing glass, he blends Sazerac rye whiskey with Gilles Brisson Cognac V.S.O.P. He then uses a rich Demerara syrup infused with fennel pollen. He adds three dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters, to balance the drink, then a scoop of ice, and stirs with a barspoon for about 10 seconds or so to properly chill the concoction. He washes a rocks glass with a splash of absinthe before adding a house-made ice sphere that contains fennel fronds within it, doubling as a garnish, and pours the drink over top.

“It’s a great sipping cocktail,” he assures, noting it’s bright and well-rounded “without punching you in the face.”

It’s refreshing to know that Amagansett has a pub again. So, whatever your poison is, be sure to pay Lenhart a visit and let him build you a cocktail. Or pour you a beer. Or pick out that elusively perfect glass of wine. He’ll do it in no time and it’ll be damn near perfect in almost every way.

Bella’s Big Easy

Prep Time 1 minute
Serves 1 cocktail


  • 1 1/2 oz Sazerac rye whiskey
  • 1 oz Gilles Brisson Cognac V.S.O.P
  • 1/4 oz Demerara syrup
  • 1 splash St. George Absinthe Vert
  • 3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
  • 1 ice sphere (with fennel fronds frozen inside)


  • Wash rocks glass with absinthe; add ice sphere.
  • Add whiskey, Cognac, Demerara syrup and bitters to a mixing glass.
  • Add ice and stir until well chilled (about 10 seconds).
  • Double strain over ice sphere. Cheers!