Wednesday, September 7, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Duffy’s, Lake George

Soon after the departure of Hurricane Irene, having taken her toll on Lake George Village, we felt that another trip to Lake George at the close of the village’s summer season was in order. Duffy’s Tavern was first on our short list. We had been there briefly on Memorial Day weekend as heavy rains were washing out numerous roads in the Town of Thurman, where Kim lives, and found it fitting that this fine summer had been sandwiched in between disasters.

Duffy’s sits in the heart of Lake George Village, not quite lakeside, between the Boardwalk Restaurant and Bella’s Deli. The exterior is a crazy jumble of multiple add-ons and materials; the upstairs deck appearing the most recent. Music was coming from above, so up the stairs we went. Duffy’s Tavern is a great venue for entertainment outdoors. The upper deck is more like a wrap-around porch than a deck. One of three bars is located on the upper deck and seats ten but mainly serves the needs of the friendly waitstaff. A bar on the ground level was moderately busy. The interior bar upstairs was closed, and people seemed to come and go at the outdoor bar on the deck.

Approximately 15 tables are available outside, with comfortable bar height seating at each. Neal McHugh of the River Rats Band played solo acoustic music at just the right volume for a busy Labor Day weekend: classic Neil Young, James Taylor, Tom Petty and lots of other great stuff people our age like to listen to. A back corner of the upper deck is designated for smokers, allowing them to participate and not offend.

Seating ourselves, we took out our notes. Before we could even get started, we were approached by a man who had seen us come in, following us to our table. Apparently, Kim bears a striking resemblance to someone named Lori from Brookfield Connecticut. Introducing himself as Frank, he seemed amazed at the resemblance and soon his companions, Kevin and Jen, came over to comment. Photos were taken like Kim was some celebrity, making her feel a little awkward, but not minding the attention. It wasn’t long before she seized the opportunity to plug our book and blog and hand out business cards as she shamelessly told our new acquaintances to “like” our Facebook page.

Duffy’s offers a variety of specialty drinks including a Mai Tai, the Lake George Iced Tea, Planter’s Punch and the Passionate Screw. The Duffle Bag appears to be a concoction of their own design, a rich and sensuous blend of vodka, peach schnapps, Southern Comfort and orange juice. Pam started with the Passionate Screw, ate all of the fruit garnishes, and moved on to try the Duffle Bag. She claims the Screw was her favorite, but is partial to garnishes. At about $7 to $8 each, they are worth it in both size and quality. A modest selection of bottled domestic beers are offered in addition to LaBatt Blue, Shock Top, Yuengling, Landshark and Bear Naked drafts. Kim ordered a Landshark lager, new to her, crafted by the Margaritaville Brewing Co. in Jacksonville, Florida. It was light, crisp and quite the perfect accompaniment to a lazy afternoon on the deck.

We didn’t eat at Duffy’s, but a variety of tasty-sounding appetizers and entrees was tempting, most in the $7 to $11 range, though baby back ribs or a steak or chicken and ribs combo are priced at $12.95 for a small serving or $18.95 for a large. They also have a kids’ menu.

Accommodations are available within walking distance to Duffy’s. Lake George, Shepard Park beach and the shops, restaurants and other tourist draws are also in the immediate vicinity.

Duffy’s is open from 11 a.m. to close, all year long, with three bars and live music on a regular basis. The main bar downstairs hosts live regional bands and a younger crowd later at night. The deck usually features acoustic music in the late afternoon. It’s one of those places where it’s easy to settle in, get comfortable, and not want to leave. Which is exactly how we felt, having invited ourselves over to the table with our recent new friends from Connecticut. We said our good-byes and took more pictures, each of them sporting a new “Happy Hour in the High Peaks” hat and a smile.

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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Kim and Pam Ladd

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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