Wednesday, August 17, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Tony Harper’s Too, Old Forge

The Old Forge (and vicinity) Pub Crawl Part II was reaching its conclusion. For those of you who are just joining us, that Saturday in July was a productive one. The first part started at the Big Moose Inn, then on to the Way Back Inn and the Red Dog Tavern.

We took a break for a lunch meeting then drove out to Daiker’s, then continued back toward Old Forge, stopping at Slicker’s. We dropped the car off and continued on foot to the Tow Bar. Our next stop: Tony Harper’s Too, a.k.a. Pizza Clams for the visually impaired. The “Tony Harper’s Too” portion of the sign is barely visible, but the owner’s husband Don, whom we had met at Slicker’s, had already advised us of its location.



Located on Main Street in Old Forge, across from the Tow Bar, the unique exterior is hard to miss. Stone and brick, outside and in, a semi-circular façade extends the confines of the interior, creating a sense of being outside while in, (or vice versa). The three-sided bar, built of corrugated metal topped with a polished hardwood top continues outdoors, creating a breezy open feel. This was not your typical pizza and clam shack. An acoustic duo played near the entrance as a few of the patrons danced informally outside. There was no seating left at the bar and the restaurant tables were full.

We crowded up to the bar to order a drink. Finding plenty of beer choices, both bottled & draft, Kim chose an Apricot Wheat from the Ithaca Beer Company. As busy as she was, the bartender took our order right away. While we awaited our drinks, a woman returned to her seat at the bar and looked annoyed that we had infringed on her space. Pam tapped Kim’s shoulder and gave her a look that said, “Get out of her way.” Kim moved aside, and they both smiled apologetically to her. Who can resist those sincere smiles?

Moments later we introduced ourselves to the woman and were in the thick of one of those shouting conversations that take place over live music. The bartender came from behind the bar and delivered our drinks. Eventually we politely escaped the conversation, the woman’s boyfriend or husband having tired of being ignored, and got back to the review we had come for.

Pam recognized a few men she had first seen at Daiker’s, then at Slicker’s and who were now here at Tony Harper’s Too. We said hello and decided to try being on the outside looking in. No seats were available out there either, but we were able to stand at a pub table. The music was just as good to hear outside and many young people stood around on the patio, talking, dancing and just enjoying themselves. We spotted Don, who tried to introduce us to his wife and owner, Lisa, but she just wouldn’t be distracted from her conversation with friends. Don’s construction company, D.E. Murphy Constructors, designed the bar and the building and we admired his workmanship from where we stood. Looking up into the turret-like structure, the ceiling was a spoke-work of pine, an enormous metal chandelier hanging from its center.

Tony Harper’s Too is open from 11 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. during the week; until midnight on weekends. The website includes entertainment schedules, the history of Tony Harper’s and full menus, so check there for more detailed information. Armed with the knowledge that this was a fun place to go, we excused ourselves and headed across the street to the Tow Bar, having promised earlier to return there for a couple of drinks – off the clock.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.

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In 2013, sisters Kim and Pam Ladd self-published Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide and a companion Happy Hour Trail Passport. As they continue to market and distribute their current book, they are back on the trail doing research for their next project – a guide to breweries, wineries and distilleries in and around the Adirondack Park.

In 2014 they created their own drinking event, a bartender competition they call “BARRED!”, which they expect will become an annual event held in the early spring in collaboration with Basil & Wick’s in North Creek.

With the lofty goal of becoming the Adirondack "Drinking Authority," Kim and Pam report on drinking-related topics and events inside the Blue Line here at the Almanack and at their own blog. You can also visit their website, follow them on Facebook, and Twitter.

The pair have spent most of their lives in Warren County. Pam has a degree in Computer Science, but her passion is mixology. She and her family live in Warrensburg. Kim is a freelance photographer with a degree in Advertising Design and lives in Thurman with her husband.





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