Wednesday, September 5, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Ole Barn, Inlet

It’s so BIG. If that isn’t your first impression when you enter The Ole Barn on Limekiln Lake Road in Inlet, then you must be from Texas or Montana. Bearing a ranch theme with wagon wheels, oversized ceiling fans and rough pine booths and walls, it feels like a bar that should on a dude ranch, not the stand-alone bar that it is.

Nearby Limekiln and Eighth Lake state campgrounds bring many patrons, but it is the snowmobilers in the winter that fill it to its capacity of 300. It reminded us of summer camp. Or what we imagine summer camp must be like.

The square bar, not quite centered in the bar area, easily seats 25 patrons. The wood simulated laminate top with red padded edges and matching backless stools welcomed us to sit and observe. A model train waited at its station overhead with a painted backdrop depicting a village scene. The train wasn’t running while we were there, but 350 feet of track take it throughout the restaurant, its cars sporting billboards in miniature advertising local businesses. Benched tables fill two walls and several round picnic tables try to fill some of the large space near the entrance. A collection of hundreds of caps covers a good portion of the plank ceiling. The spacious dining room is separated from the bar by a partition of booths.

Though beer taps can be seen behind the bar, the Ole Barn currently serves beer in cans only, in about a dozen varieties. As Pam looked over the diverse liquor selection behind the bar, she observed a few PVC pipes. Upon inquiry, we learned from our bartender, Allison, that they are portals for the Beer Can Express, the first we’ve ever seen or even heard about. Volunteering a demonstration, Allison explained that the cans are deposited in those pipes and are whisked off, bank tube style, for storage in a large silo located outside of the main building. There’s a fine example of Adirondack ingenuity!

With four televisions and a winter-based clientele, the Ole Barn is frequented by NASCAR fans.  Annually, the Old Barn hosts Zippy’s Crusade for Kids, a charity snowmobile ride put on by Greg and Nan Zipadelli. A two-day event to raise funds for kids in need, the fundraiser features food, music, an auction, and a celebrity autograph session sometimes attended by such NASCAR icons as Tony Stewart. The 2013 event will be held on January 25 and 26.

The Ole Barn offers live music during the winter for their snowmobile patrons. A pool table and lottery scratch tickets complete the entertainment offerings. They also host weddings, banquets and private parties. Family owned since 1967, and currently by Ron and Kathy Hausen, the restaurant specializes in homemade and Italian specials, among others, moderately priced. On the lighter side, salads, burgers, sandwiches and pizza are featured. More substantial entrees “from the barnyard” include ribs, NY strip, and chicken. “From the pond” you can select haddock, clams or calamari.

The Ole Barn has a Happy Hour daily from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. featuring $3.00 well drinks, domestic beers for $2.00 and draft beer, when available, for $1.50.  They are open year-round, but close between Columbus Day and Thanksgiving in the fall, and during mud season in the spring. They open at noon and close at 10 p.m. or later. They are open Thanksgiving Day, but closed on Christmas.

If you’re looking for a quiet place for an early afternoon drink and a bite to eat, stop by the Ole Barn during the summer months.  For a hopping place to go after a good snowstorm, the Ole Barn might not be so vast and quiet.

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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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