Sticks & Stones Bistro & Bar in Schroon Lake was just a twinkle in the eyes of owners Steve Holmes and Gary Tromblee when we were wrapping up the selection of our favorite bars in the Adirondack Park. The doors opened at the same time as our book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, hit the market. We recently visited Sticks & Stones and walked away knowing they were a “High Peak” in our book. A Happy Hour MacNaughton.
Sticks & Stones will warm your bones. Located at 739 Route 9, Sticks & Stones occupies the former Adirondack Rustics Gallery, previously owned by well-known artisan, Barry Gregson. Steve and Gary maintained the famous Gregson family character of the building when they transformed it into a bar and restaurant. A crude fire pit in front beckons the rustic camper in some. Another fireplace and tall propane heaters on the dog-friendly slate patio appeal to the urbane. Anticipating a hearty winter patronage, bonfires are planned for the coming season. Whether to merely chase away the chill on a cool evening, or to provide heat on a cold night, warmth is all around.
We were greeted by the owner, Steve, and the comforting smell of wood smoke. Both implied, “My lodge is your lodge.” The ambiance within is warm and alluring, with or without the glow of a blaze in the monumental stone hearth. Knotty pine walls and cathedral ceiling, braced on the shoulders of massive log beams and columns, envelope the wide-open great room. The mellow sheen of the polished wood floor, illuminated by sconces, spotlights, and an antler chandelier, tame the wilderness. A blend of rustic and refined furnishings and accents embellish the lodge theme. Handcrafted furniture, wood sculptures, a birchbark canoe, and framed artwork impart a personalized hominess. More creature comforts can be found in the four carved bears who stand as sentries, bearing the ends of three booths near the bar. The bar is another Gregson creation. At least 30 feet long and seating up to 16, the bar top is crafted of huge slabs of hand-polished cherry, walnut, and hickory, and faced with a virtual forest of saplings and tree trunk pedestals.
Sticks & Stones will quench your bones. Kim’s subtle glance at the beers on tap sent the bartender, Alex, on an eloquent barrage, naming and describing each with equal passion. History lessons and trivia followed suit, with a brief but informative synopsis of each, providing a fully informed choice from the handful of very nicely selected draft beer offerings. Kim chose Paradox Brewery’s porter, trucked all the way from down the road at Schroon Lake’s own new brewery, and described by Alex as “vitamin beer” (one a day!).
Pam, in her “so many liquors, so little time” fashion, studied the shelves, searching for inspiration. Sensing her struggle, Alex rushed to her aid. After several probing questions, he suggested an Old-fashioned. Not just any old Old-fashioned, but his very own. Pam had to agree that it was the best she had ever had, while admitting she hadn’t had many. Sticks & Stones cocktail menu includes a variety of coffee-based drinks, distinctive martinis and cosmos, and their own Adirondack Mojito, but improvising seemed quite welcome. The wine list of roughly 25 varieties is also available, with offerings from glass to bottle. Drink prices are a tad high for the area, but a buy-one-get-one Happy Hour special is featured Monday through Thursday from 4 to 7 pm.
Sticks & Stones will fill your bones. The culinary offerings are creative and diverse, with locally sourced produce, meats, and cheeses whenever available. Wood fired pizza is the specialty, but the Eggplant Adirondack Stack is a most favored appetizer. Looking like a terra cotta football helmet on a utility cart, the Marra Forni pizza oven serves as a focal point between the bar and the kitchen, offering additional heat at the corner of the bar, though likely unwelcome in the summer. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan choices fill the menu. Whether looking for pizza and wings, fresh and lively salads, burgers and fries, or steak and seafood, the dining choices have you covered, and take-out is available.
The bar and restaurant are open seven nights a week. During the current off-season, Sticks & Stones is open Monday through Thursday from 4 to 10 pm; on Friday and Saturday from 11:30 am to 11 pm; and on Sunday from 11:30 am to 10 pm. Summer hours the first season were 11:30 am to 11 pm daily. Entertainment is often featured on Saturdays during the summer.
Sticks & Stones will please your bones. Whether inside or out, the atmosphere is intriguing. Food and drink selections are every bit enticing. Friendly, professional staff are readily attending. A warm welcome to our 47th “High Peak.”