Wednesday, August 8, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: P-2’s Irish Pub, Tupper Lake

The brick building, trim and neat, stands just feet from the sidewalk on Main Street in downtown Tupper Lake. P-2’s Irish Pub, illuminated in red and green neon, replaces its former moniker, Al’s Lounge. Inside, a suit of armor standing guard at the pool table silently observes our entrance.

Dimly lighted with amber pendants and recessed spotlights, the interior’s Irish pub characteristics gradually come to light. The curved bar a rich, dark wood with red padded front, shows signs of its age and character. Old cigarette burns mar the top, scars of forgotten conversations and decades of good times. Arrow back bar stools match the studded green faux leather walls, padded for comfort. Tin ceiling, oak woodwork, worn wood floor and round, solid oak pub tables surrounded by sturdy backless stools all lend warmth, character and charm in this intimate space.

Our last stop on day one of the Happy Hour in the High Peaks 2012 Summit Tour, we found P-2’s Irish Pub living up to its motto: The Place to be in the Adirondacks. Two couples were eating, drinking and relaxing at a pub table to the side. A half dozen women clustered at the end of the bar, laughing, drinking, and engrossed in conversation appeared to be well known to Debbie, the bartender. Debbie greeted us right away, ready to take our orders. Beer selection was a no-brainer for Kim, who spotted among the eight draft handles a Plucky Rooster (Plattsburgh), as yet untapped in her repertoire, and with an interesting history. Tired after four hours of pub crawling, Pam fell into her usual safety net – a vodka and grapefruit.

One by one, people just kept arriving. Clientele is mixed between locals and visitors, but you might find it difficult to discern the two. Behind the bar, Debbie is friendly and attentive to both. A local named Dan summed it up as a regular pub with good people, good staff, good music and open to visitors. Pam accosted two couples from Canada as they prepared to leave on their motorcycles. They shared their thoughts about their first visit to P-2’s, reporting good food, friendly service and added that Debbie was extra helpful with information about the area. We spoke with a number of regulars who had nothing but praise for P-2’s and its staff. When we started asking questions, Debbie pointed out the owner, a woman gradually making her way down the bar, stopping to greet every patron along the way. We were told she’d eventually get to us. We were talking to Henry, our bar neighbor (and the Patriot Chef), as Michelle approached. Henry has created a line of seasonings and sauces, which P-2’s uses and Michelle wholeheartedly endorses. Thanks for the Loyalty sample Henry!

We finally introduced ourselves and our purpose to P-2’s owner, who filled us in on the pub’s history and took us on a tour. Al’s Lounge was founded in 1966 by Joseph “P-2” LeBlanc, but its history really dates back to 1949, when it was known as Ivan’s Lounge. Six years ago it was acquired by Joseph’s daughter, Michelle LeBlanc Blair, and revamped into P-2’s Irish pub, named in honor of her father.

P-2’s has since expanded with the opening of the Franklin Dairy Music Hall, a converted barn located behind the pub. The barn was home to the Franklin Dairy until the 1980s and had been used for storage. Following much restoration and renovation, P-2’s hosted its first concert this past July. Deemed a smashing success, the old dairy aroma was replaced with the essence of stale beer!

It’s a small pub but seems able to handle any amount of activity. The full size bar seats 10 to 12. Six tables accommodate at least two dozen more patrons, and P-2’s still has room for a pool table and darts. Two large screen televisions are enough to follow your favorite game, but not be consumed by it. Team photos and collages attest to P-2’s community spirit. They seem to sponsor a team for everything! Open WiFi is available to customers. An ATM is on site, possibly for Quick Draw enthusiasts, but Visa and MasterCard are also accepted. Parking is available in the adjoining lot, or on the street, and P-2’s is located just one block from the snowmobile trail.

P-2’s is open year round, opening at 2 p.m. in the summer and closing at 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. They are closed on Sunday. In the winter, they open at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Happy Hour is daily from 4 to 7 p.m all year long. Music is a staple at P-2’s with open mic night most Thursdays, featured artists in the pub on Friday and Saturday, the Outdoor Summer Music Series under the tent, and more in the works in the music hall! See their website and Facebook page for up-to-date listings.

Drink specials range from the signature Blue Margarita to a P-2’s style Black & Tan, with spontaneous drink options in between. And it’s the only place in town that serves Guinness on tap. In addition to the draft beers, an interesting array of bottled and canned varieties rounds out the rather nice selection. All of their food is rumored to be the best, but their chicken wings, chicken breast dippers and sweet potato fries are favored among some of the patrons on hand. Pricing is modest, as most menu items are priced under $10.00.

Offering outstanding service, loyal and happy customers, modest prices, and a musical hotspot, we found P-2’s claim as The Place to be in the Adirondacks to be accurate. At least in the Tupper Lake region.

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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.

4 Responses

  1. AdkBuddy says:

    P-2’s is a great place to stop by for a beer or two and friendly banter.

  2. LozerBoozer says:

    I love P-2’s…a great place! I just wish they served
    Smithwick’s. But still an awesome place !!

  3. Debbie Jones says:

    Hey Girls – Thanks for the great review!!! Great job!!! You didn’t miss a thing!! 🙂


  4. Heidi Knowlton says:

    We stopped for a couple and had a great time! Michelle is an excellent host! Thanks for the fun!