By Amy Rosner By Amy Rosner | June 28, 2021 | Lifestyle Feature
Welcome to the roaring 20's with a twist—an extra dirty martini twist, that is—but this time the place to be isn’t East Egg, it’s the East End. Or as Montauk locals and those in the know call it, “The End.”
Our protagonists are Sasha and Oli Benz, the “End of the World” power couple who are taking the Montauk party scene by storm.
See also: Here's Who Will Be Performing In the Surf Lodge's Outdoor Concert Series This Summer
Sasha Benz is an Australian entrepreneur who began her career as a fashion stylist working for Harper's Bazaar, Vogue Australia, Sony Music, and Vanity Fair. In 2014, she launched the online media magazine All My Friends Are Models which brings issues and stereotypes in the modeling industry to the forefront.
In 2015, Sasha was relocated to Montauk to act as the Creative Director for The Surf Lodge, a boutique hot spot hotel for the music and fashion elite. Two years later, she ventured into the tech game launching Cinq App which was dubbed the newest “business meets social networking tool” for the millennial generation.
Alongside being a mother of three, Benz founded the boutique Wyld Blue named after her two children at the time. Her stores are a curation of her impeccable eye for style and detail, as well as an homage to her years traveling the world and absorbing the cultures of home meets lifestyle. She currently has a store in Montauk and Aspen, and is continuing to expand locations.
Sasha’s husband and partner in crime, Oli Benz, is a true beach kid from a small Oz coastal town, Noosa. His mantra has always been “surf by day, music by night.” After being scouted at a surf shop, Oliver soon won the hearts of Australia as a model and actor where he graced the pages of many iconic magazines and well-known commercials.
Determined to bring his talents internationally, he followed his heart to New York and married Sasha in 2014. Oli's budding career in the DJ industry followed soon after.
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Oli hit the ground running in the entertainment industry and never looked back. Comfortable in the spotlight and a natural behind the decks, Oliver has found himself playing at all major hot spots across NY, LA and Oz. Growing up in a jazz-infused home has influenced his unique style. Oli is widely known for his disco funk retro flair, and to always get the d-floor tapping.
Oli's record Jungle Heart is set to release early July. The name represents how he envisions falling in love. When writing, Benz starts with a beat and/or percussion and the rest of the music writes itself. Jungle Heart is about winning over someone’s love which can be compared to looking through a Jungle-wandering, getting lost, and being immersed in the beauty.
Sasha and Oli currently live in Montauk year round, where they have built their love nest and unformidable empire.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with the curators of Montauk’s social scene to track the evolution of Hamptons biggest party hub- what it’s been like, what it looks like, and where it’s headed.
During the heat of the pandemic, when it really did feel like the end of the world, Montauk natives had the advantage of much more space and outdoor ability. According to Sasha and Oli, there were a lot of intimate gatherings with your crew and dinners with your immediate bubble. Even though it felt like Groundhog Day, there was a lot less isolation on account of a lot more open space.
In this regard, there was still fluidity to socializing, but in a reimagined way. Businesses who reinvented the wheel came through stronger than those that didn’t adapt to the times. The Montauk scene was forced to shift and pivot to parallel the new normal. Companies that did so successfully ended up on top, whereas the laggards were weeded out.
As Montauk’s hottest duo put it, “Everybody is taking a breath saying, ‘we are here and are going to make the most of it.'”
Sasha divulges she has never seen parties like this before. “It’s good old-fashioned dance parties. People are on the piano and dancing on chairs. People aren’t afraid to go out. And not just the party goers, but the moms and parents, too.”
Post pandemic, there is fresh energy to being outside and an increased admiration for the establishment and the workers that are doing it. People are respecting the process of being out and entertained.
Naturally, there is a heightened appetite for socializing and meeting new people. Partying is a catalyst to do so. Consequently, the epicenter of Hampton’s nightlife is bringing people closer together than ever before.
The bustling Montauk party scene is in full swing, and everybody is here for it. Sasha attributes the success of the Montauk party scene to a strong edit of diverse artists, musicians, and creatives not just from NYC, but from around the world.
The crowd that typically comes in over the summer are younger, affluent and “go big or go home” people in all senses of the word. The typical Montauk visitor loves travel, is involved in a number of inspiring entrepreneurial projects, and is deeply fascinated with the entertainment that is on display.
When describing the uniqueness of the Montauk social scene, Sasha states, “So many opportunities and conversations take place each weekend. You don’t know who you will end up meeting or bumping shoulders with. It’s a much more evolving and moving crowd, as opposed to some of the other Hamptons towns that see the same families visiting each season.”
The Montauk crowd is forever evolving and that’s what makes it so unique to visit. No weekend is the same, and no party ever feels dated.
Coming from the Surf Lodge connoisseur herself, Sasha says the star-studded music hub is back in action. Come here for the live entertainment and eye candy. Saturday night at Selrose is also a great place to dance the night away. Both East End classics are known for their elite, curated crowds. For a chiller vibe, she recommends Crows Nest and Duryea’s for great food, great vibes, and great sunsets.
The Benz powerhouse projects that Montauk will soon be a year-round destination. Most businesses would turn the lights off and shut the doors in September, but Sasha and Oli don’t think Montauk is going to shut down come the fall.
Sasha predicts that Montauk will be “The New Manhattan within the next five years.” A lot of business owners are moving out east and sticking around. Montauk will no longer just be a summer getaway, but a homebase for many entrepreneurs.
When asked to predict the next Montauk hot spots, the Benz’ believe the usual suspects will remain strong and consistent. These businesses have good teams and formulas to curate a good night out East.
The Benz duo has left their mark on the Montauk music scene. According to Sasha and Oli, Montauk’s rich music history has existed long before them, and will continue to exist long after them. But that’s not to say they haven’t immensely shifted the narrative of entertainment and nightlife in this iconic East End town. This duo’s legacy will live on for years to come!
Photography by: Sasha and Ollie Benz