Wednesday, January 25, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: O.P. Frederick’s, Chestertown

Yet another gem was unearthed while mining the Adirondacks for the 46 best bars and taverns. Located at the backwater of Loon Lake near the intersection of routes 8 and 9 in Chestertown, O.P. Frederick’s Restaurant and Tavern is a year-round destination highly worthy of a visit. Much of their clientele are seasonal residents of Loon Lake, snowmobilers, and skiers from Gore Mountain, but many locals enjoy the tavern in the off-peak seasons as well.

Noting the (working) phone booth as we entered the tavern on a wintry Saturday afternoon, we were greeted by the warmth of the ancient and ornate parlor stove in the corner. Though the portly cast iron stove was grand in scale, the heat was significant yet never overwhelming. The lighting and the music that played in the background were equally subtle.

Preliminary digging at O.P. Frederick’s website promised an assortment of martinis and Pam already knew she was going to try the apple, ordering immediately as Kim reviewed the beer menu. Barely able to contain her anticipation, Pam pondered whether her martini would be a green apple martini or a sweet, apple-pie-like martini. As expected, it was sour green apple in a Jolly Rancher flavor and color. She launched into the verbal design of an apple pie martini as she sipped.

Kim, equally enthused with the beer selection, decided on Brooklyn Brewery’s black chocolate stout, a Russian imperial stout, rich, dark and aromatic, revealing new and subtle flavors with each swig. In addition, Lake Placid Ubu Ale and LaBatt Blue are always available on tap, along with a rotating pair of regional beers – two Magic Hat seasonals at the moment – and Blue Moon. Among the 15 bottled beers listed, Kim discovered Franziskaner Weissbier, assorted domestics, and Beck’s dark. Though not the motherlode, the beer choices are appealing and well selected. Drink prices are a little on the high end for the area, and O.P. Frederick’s does not have a Happy Hour.

We introduced ourselves to the friendly and easygoing bartender, Leana, and soon launched into a barrage of fact-finding questions. Leana has been at O.P. Frederick’s for eight years. We soon discovered that our paths had crossed years before at the former Colonial Arms in Warrensburg. We briefly reminisced about mutual acquaintances from those early days in our drinking careers as Leana tended to other patrons and the wait staff.

Though the tavern at O.P. Frederick’s has an official capacity of 40 persons, the bar itself seats eight. Three pub tables along the wall can accommodate nine more and a wall bar toward the back has seating for four. Two TVs are strategically located for watching whatever big game may be on. A modest deck out back offers picnic table seating in warmer months, overlooking the backwater edge of Loon Lake. Plaid tablecloths adorn the dining tables, with matching valances on the windows. A pair of snowshoes, mounted fish and game trophies and wildlife prints grace the pine walls, but we were more captivated by old black-and-white photographs and the nostalgic 1950’s era framed Winchester Rifle posters depicting a winter scene with a rabbit and another of a deer in flight.

O.P. Frederick’s is a restaurant and tavern and also offers accommodations at the adjacent Alp Horn Motel featuring five units. The complex has been owned by Robert and Vivian Frederick for the past 20 years, but the location has plenty of history as the Loon Lake Colony before that. We had an opportunity to meet Bob Frederick (wearing cargo shorts on this January day) during our visit and found him to be a very gracious host, proud of his establishment and eager to share history and memorabilia.

The dinner menu includes appetizers (smoked trout and duck burritos among them) from $5.99 to $9.95. Entrees from seafood and steaks to sandwiches and pasta range from $6.95 for a basic burger to $24.95 for surf and turf. Dinner and drink specials such as early bird and $5.00 burgers are featured throughout the week, and coupons can be retrieved and printed from their website. Show your Gore Mountain ski pass and get 10% off your meal. The tavern and restaurant open at 4 p.m. with dinner served until 9 p.m.

The bar closes between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. depending on the season. O.P. Frederick’s is closed on Mondays all year. They are known to close for a few weeks or the whole month of December and again in April.

O.P. Frederick’s is a warm, congenial place with affable and welcoming patrons. Whether prospecting for food, drink, or both, you’ll find a vein of hometown friendliness, good food and a variety of liquid refreshment.

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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