Judd’s Tavern, located on Canada Street in the heart of Lake George Village, beckons to the casual passerby as an ideal place to take a break from browsing the surrounding gift shops and arcades, duck in for a cool respite from the beach, or catch up on the day’s sporting events. A standard sports bar for locals and tourists, strategically-placed TV’s (12 in all) broadcast just about every contest that’s being televised at the moment.
The dark burgundy walls subdue the natural light spilling in through the large streetside windows. Commercial-grade carpeting and a suspended ceiling help keep this small space from being too noisy. Games and activities include foosball, a pool table and a jukebox. Judd’s Tavern isn’t large, but is of sufficient size to make it a comfortable place to meet others. Some sports bars are so big that patrons could spend hours and not speak to anyone outside their social sphere. The bar seats 16 and additional tables can accommodate another 20 patrons. This bar is more intimate and conducive to meeting and interacting with people.
Although Judd’s wasn’t very busy when we arrived, the bartenders seemed to be prepping for a busy night, stocking coolers and checking inventories. One bartender, Zack, was friendly and attentive, answering questions as he catered to the growing crowd. Pam’s first question was already answered by a sign on the wall advertising a Birthday Cake martini, a Jelly Ring Martini, the Veggie Mary and the Spicy Mary. For local-themed drinks, try a Twisted Tourist or a Sandy Bay Slammer. Other mouth-watering cocktails include the Gentleman Jack, Bazooka Joe, Orange Creamsicle and the Berry Patch shot. Pam chose the Jelly Ring Martini special, consisting of Stoli Chocolat Razberi vodka, Godiva chocolate liqueur and a splash of cream and tasted remarkably like the real thing!
Draft beer choices are abundant. Several craft ales and IPA’s including Southern Tier’s 2XIPA, make an impressive line-up. Eight or so domestic bottled beers round out the beer menu. Kim decided on Purple Haze, a light, fruity wheat beer produced by Abita Brewing Company in Louisiana. A hazy, golden color with just a blush of raspberry pink, the aroma was of fruit, though the raspberry didn’t carry over much to the flavor.
Judd’s Tavern has been in business for seven years and is open from noon to 4 a.m. in the summer months, noon to midnight during the off-season, with no black out dates. The best time to visit is during the summer and on Sundays during football season. With NFL Sunday Ticket, you will find every NFL game being televised. Happy Hour drink specials are featured Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. While not a full-service restaurant, they serve food and are notorious for their wings (which, of course, are the best in town), offering 13 varieties including Wings of Fury (for which you will have to sign a waiver) and Caribbean Jerk wings, and also claim that their quesadillas are equally enticing. Musical entertainment is featured sporadically. With accommodations available all over Lake George, Judd’s caters to foot traffic in summer and in winter during the annual Winter Carnival. The clientele tends to be mostly local, but visitors are encouraged and welcome.
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.