Wednesday, August 3, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Tow Bar Inn, Old Forge

We’re not sure how many other bartenders might also work at the Tow Bar, but if you enter and find Jack, a.k.a. Jackson, a.k.a. Famous Jack, a.k.a. Action Jackson behind the bar, sit down, relax and expect to enjoy yourself immensely.

Whether it was Jack, our new-found friends (the “Tow Bar buddies”) or the fact that it was our 6th and 8th bar (perhaps making us vulnerable) the Tow Bar is at the top of our list in Old Forge. It didn’t take us long to realize we wanted the Tow Bar to be our last stop of the night so we stayed long enough to get some fact checking done, left for another bar, then returned afterward. Our work finished for the night, we were ready to just have a couple of drinks or shoot some pool without “working”.

Jack, head mixologist, has worked at the Tow Bar for 21 years! Apparently, he came with the deed when the current owners purchased the bar five years ago. His proud supporters, our Tow Bar buddies, strongly professed him to be the best bartender. Having witnessed him in action, his patience was outstanding, but what stood out above all other qualities was his genuine friendliness. Imagine working in a bar for 21 years and having any patience at all!

TOW in Tow Bar stands for Town of Webb. Having driven around Old Forge several times on Saturday, we had already formed the opinion that Old Forge was a village within the Town of Webb, but learning the origins of “Tow” confirmed our deduction. The Tow Bar is open seven days a week and only closes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Open from noon to 2 a.m., the Tow Bar caters to locals but enjoys entertaining (verb as well as adjective) visitors. In line with catering to locals, they offer live entertainment on Sunday night, when local workers tend to get some time off to fraternize with their friends.

The Tow Bar’s 20 or so bottled beer choices are unpretentious and mostly domestic. Drafts include LaBatt Blue, Blue Light and Budweiser, all at pretty low prices. The bar is well-stocked and Jack will happily improvise if he doesn’t have what you’re looking for.

The works of Doug Green, Tow Bar’s “house” cartoonist, are displayed throughout the bar. One they are especially proud of is the cartoon of John Ratzenberger, Cliff Clavin of Cheers fame, who stopped in and played pool with some of the regulars. They list Sandra Bullock among other famous visitors to the Tow Bar. Yankee, Dodger and Giants fans will feel comfortable taking in the bobbleheads, old photos, and autographed memorabilia displayed throughout the bar. Several TV’s are strategically placed and NASCAR stats are in evidence so you can probably catch the race there on Sundays, if you’re so inclined.

The Tow Bar seems to have something for almost everyone – sports, pool, darts, friendly patrons and a terrific bartender. If you go, be sure to mention Happy Hour in the High Peaks. I think they’d like to know we weren’t just making this stuff up.

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.





2 Responses

  1. Kim Ladd and Pam Ladd says:

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