Wednesday, February 22, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: King Neptune’s, Lake George

With three bars of varying capacity contained in one building, the potential at King Neptune’s Pub and Nightclub was not best conveyed on this Saturday evening in February. Though our visit was during Winter Carnival in Lake George, given the winter conditions of 2012, it was not a typical Winter Carnival for any establishments in the village.

Neptune’s is generally closed all winter (December through March), but open for New Year’s Day and for four weeks during Winter Carnival. They have live music every Friday and Saturday whenever they are open, and this Saturday was no exception. They were readying the main bar for that night’s performance.

The middle bar, empty except for a lone musician hauling equipment in for the evening’s entertainment, is rather massive by general standards. The bar is situated in the center of the room, ready to accommodate a very large crowd. The glossy wood floor, polished slab bar, and pine walls lend a warm appeal to the large, open room. The few tables on the fringes of the room suggest the space is best left for standing and dancing while listening to the band. Its size is perhaps misleading, knowing all too well the potential of summer crowds to stuff the seemingly cavernous space and Neptune’s reputation for attracting those throngs with popular performers and an impressive lineup of over two dozen beers on tap.

Step down a few steps to the small, intimate pub nearly at the edge of the lake. The lower bar was open and a few early patrons were enjoying the warmth of the woodstove from the bar. With large windows throughout, the view would be exceptional in daylight at one of the tables along those windows. Outdoor seating off this lower bar overlooks the boardwalk and the lake, promising a great seat for people watching, sunning or enjoying the lake and mountain views. (You do have to use your imagination in Lake George in mid-February.) More outdoor seating on the main level takes you away from passersby, but boasts equally good views of the scenery.

The Crow’s Nest, a smaller bar on the upper level, is the third bar on site and features a rooftop deck. It is not open in the winter.

Like many who have spent years behind the bar, Mike, our acerbic bartender this evening, was at first somewhat brusque. As we explained our mission and began to probe his expertise, he became more forthcoming and informative.

Owned by Jim Quirk, King Neptune’s has been in business in Lake George for more than 40 years. They are open from 11 a.m. until midnight in the winter and until 2:30 a.m. on weekends in the summer. Happy Hour is from 4 to 6 p.m. daily. A lunch menu is available at Neptune’s with main dining at the Shoreline, its sister restaurant next door. The Shoreline features cruises with a band from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.

We watched the Winter Carnival fireworks display from outside the bar as we prepared to leave. Though visible indoors at the bar, Pam preferred to capture the sound effects as well as the visual, while Kim couldn’t resist another failed attempt at hand-held photography of the display. The bitter lake wind, freezing our fingers and bringing tears to our eyes, soon drove us to the car. Perhaps both a lakeside evening of fireworks and a night at Neptune’s would be better enjoyed when it isn’t so chilly.

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.





One Response

  1. John Warren says:

    I spent a good deal of my youth in Neptune’s beginning in the very late 1960s. My father was a fishing guide and kept his boat at one of the docks out front in very early 1970s.

    Back then it was known by many of the regulars (including the rowdy Tuna Fleet crowd my parents were a part of) as “The Little Bar” because the bar was so small. There was only one bar then, the rest of the place was a motel.

    I can’t remember the original owners name, but it was Pete and Marge Brown who bought the place in the early 70s and added the deck and the game room in an old gear locker and I believe also began converting some of the motel space to additional bar space in the mid-1980s.

    I have a lot of memories of that place, with dozens of stories of its denizens, which, in addition to the Tuna Fleet (TUUUNNNNAAA!) included the Warren County Sheriff, local luminary J.R. Earl (the elder, who took me to the track for the first time), a bunch of Troy police detectives, there wives and girlfriends, Manuel (a much older guy who I believe was Cuban who rowed a mile or two down to the bar every day, had a few, and then rowed home), Earl the Pearl, Leader, and more whose names I don’t remember – nearly all of them have now passed-on.

    Of course this was all before the boardwalk was built, even before the Shoreline tour boats were running. To get to Shepard’s Park from The Little Bar you had to hop chain link fences and walk across the yards.

    I’d love to hear from anyone who remembers some of those times.