Almanack Contributor Kim and Pam Ladd

Kim and Pam Ladd

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.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Friends Lake Inn, Chestertown

We pulled into the gravel parking lot on this sunny winter Saturday, not sure what to expect from the Wine Bar at Friends Lake Inn. The first sight to greet us was a stream tumbling gently over rocks just outside a tiny structure we later learned was the sauna. A tiny footbridge traversed the waterfall where the stream began a steeper descent. Approaching the main building, screened balconies and seven gabled dormers emerging from the cedar shake roof of the inn’s modest grey clapboard exterior, we were greeted by one of the inn’s arriving employees who entered with us and pointed the way to the bar. » Continue Reading.


Kid next to water
Wednesday, December 7, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Black Mountain Lodge, Johnsburg

The Black Mountain Lodge is a motel, restaurant and bar located just minutes from Gore Mountain on Route 8 in Johnsburg and just around the corner from Peaceful Valley Road. The restaurant and tavern are located in the center of the strip of motel rooms, with plenty of parking. Built in 1953, the unassuming chalet exterior reflects that history, but the warm Adirondack lodge style of the restaurant and bar reflect recent updates. Kip MacDonald has owned the Black Mountain Lodge for the last six years and can be credited with the tasteful improvements.

Tiffany style lights and sconces add an air of sophistication and the heavy weave of the textured moose-themed curtains enhance the Adirondack flavor. Three-quarter pine paneled walls are accented by painted upper walls in a muted persimmon shade. An upended canoe suspended above the bar serves as overhead glassware storage. The stone fireplace, centered between the restaurant and bar, adds warmth to all patrons. Rustic pub tables provide seating beyond the dozen barstools at the bar. The angular, C-shaped bar is made from a pine slab with rough bark edges and occupies the back end of the restaurant. A deck off the back of the bar offers outdoor seating for up to 12 people in the summer season. A collection of 50 or so caps adorns the wall and ceiling near the bar. The story goes that one person tacked their cap on the ceiling and it just snowballed. Not to be excluded, we left a Happy Hour in the High Peaks hat for the collection. Tasteful outdoor-themed signs and beer advertising adorn the walls, accented by a display of antique woodworking tools.

The Black Mountain Lodge is a favorite among winter skiers and spring and summer rafters. A seasonal homeowner we interviewed describes it as reasonably priced, good food and family friendly, but did note that the bar and restaurant can get very busy during ski season. No official happy hour is offered, but some drink specials are available throughout the year. A selection of flavored vodkas inspired Pam to try something new suggested by the bartender, Sarah. A few draft brews are normally available, though the taps weren’t working at the time of our visit. Kim was disappointed, but chose something from the long list of the reasonably priced domestic bottled beers. The restaurant menu includes sandwiches, burgers, seafood and home-cooked favorites like chicken pot pie and meatloaf and, for the more sophisticated, duck and prime rib.

Live entertainment on a small solo or duet scale is occasionally provided. The Black Mountain Lodge is closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but otherwise is open 7 days a week year-round, serving dinner from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. If you’re staying in the area, the motel boasts 25 no-frills, clean, comfortable rooms at a fair price.

Well known by Gore Mountain skiers, the Black Mountain Lodge almost escaped us. We’re glad it was recommended to us. With friendly, welcoming patrons and staff, it is an Adirondack venue worth a visit any time of year.

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.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Olde Log Inn, Lake George

Located just north of Lake George Village on Route 9, The Olde Log Inn is open year-round for vacationers, campers and locals from Lake George and Warrensburg. As a restaurant and bar, The Olde Log Inn is a great place to escape the bustling village in the summer, eat a nice lunch or dinner, and sit on the patio and enjoy the mountain view and late afternoon sun.

As the name implies, The Olde Log Inn is of log construction inside and out, but has been remodeled recently enough to not appear “olde”. Originally Lanfear’s Country Tavern, the business has been in existence since 1976 and owned by Mike and Gigi Shaughnessy since 1999. The glossy pine bar seats about 15 patrons and is partitioned from the dining room by a windowed half wall that doubles as a bar counter, seating six, and close to the bar. The U-shaped bar allows for easy banter back and forth across the bar, and we became engaged in several conversations during our visit. Additional seating on the patio includes four pub tables for four each and five picnic tables, all equipped with shade umbrellas for use in the warmer seasons.

The cozy interior features checked country valances over the many windows, creating a homeyness which softens the predominantly rustic log interior. Currently decked out in holiday style, the canoe over the bar is trimmed in lights. Evergreen wreaths, swags and a tree tastefully invite the holiday spirit with your spirits. Windows on three walls allow plenty of light into the space, countering competition from the surrounding pine.

A stone fireplace in the dining area warms the far corner of the open floor plan. The dining room is an intimate space with seating for about 40 in closely spaced tables with appropriately rustic chairs. The Olde Log Inn caters to a healthy lunch crowd with its tempting offerings of sandwiches, salads, burgers, soups and appetizers all at reasonable prices. Dinner is served from 5 to 10 p.m. Entrees include pasta, steaks, ribs and chicken priced between $13.99 and $17.99. Their full menu is available online.

The Olde Log Inn’s Happy Hour is immensely popular with locals of all kinds and is offered from 4 to 6 p.m. daily. Though no unique drink specials are advertised, a light assortment of flavored vodkas inspired Pam to create a mixed drink with a huckleberry vodka base, which she dubbed the Huckleberry Crush. A handful of beers on tap include Smithwick’s, Stella Artois, Bud Light, Sam Adams Seasonal (Winter Lager at the moment), and local craft favorites Bear Naked Ale from Adirondack Brewery and Davidson Brothers Brewing Company IPA. Most popular domestics are available in bottles. The bar is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Sunday noon to 11 p.m. The kitchen is serving lunch, dinner and light fare Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Quick Draw is available at the Olde Log Inn as well as wi-fi so you can follow our blog or look up one of our drink recipes.

Summer tourists can find solace in the hum of traffic on the nearby Northway or perhaps a cool afternoon breeze from the patio. Campers on the other side of Flat Rock Road might find comfort in the cleanliness and hot running water in the bathroom. Snowmobilers may huddle by the fireplace to warm up and peel off some snowy layers. Local professionals and contractors can meet up with their friends, or make new friends, and seasonal workers from the village shops can hide out, leaving behind the over-stimulated parents and children vacationing in Lake George. Bikers might escape the crowds of Americade or stretch their legs after a long ride in the Adirondacks. The Olde Log Inn is a year-round destination.

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.


Kid next to water
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Burleigh House, Ticonderoga

The entrance door was freshly painted at The Burleigh House in Ticonderoga. (A neglected entrance is one of Pam’s pet peeves.) As we approached the bar toward the back of The Burleigh House, we experienced an absolute first in our many bar experiences this year – all of the patrons were women! Nope, never encountered that before. There were probably six women in all and it wasn’t the ladies’ auxillary night either. The bartender was cute and personable and male – maybe he was the attraction?

As we took a seat and surveyed our drink options, we were greeted immediately by the bartender named Luke. Kim and Luke discussed beer options but she ordered a soda since it was her turn to drive. Lake Placid UBU Ale, Switchback Ale, Samuel Adams Octoberfest, and Coors Light are available on tap, and several bottled beer, malt and non-alcohol choices are offered as well. Pam readily noticed something new behind the bar, a chocolate raspberry vodka. She and Luke set to the task of designing a drink and the waitress, Barbie, soon joined them. Luke suggested a white russian variety and it was done. While Pam sipped the delicious drink, the waitress worked out a name and posted the newly born “Razz-berry Kiss” on a specials board at $3.50.

Pam sat, half listening, quietly contemplating something, while the owner, Kim Villardo, shared the history of The Burleigh House with Kim. When she pointed out an old picture of the original Burleigh House, Pam turned to it and studied it rather intensely. On the ride home later, she said that she had a sense of timelessness at the bar, like she was sitting in the original bar long ago. We tried to pinpoint what caused that feeling. Was Luke dressed in black and white, with a bow tie and cummerbund? No, but he was professionally attired in khakis and a button-down shirt. Was it the women in their fancy hats with cigar smoking men milling around them? No, they were casually dressed and still no men to be seen. Was it the ambient lighting reflecting shimmering bottles and liquids off the mirrored walls behind the bar? Yes, perhaps, and maybe a combination of factors, too much alcohol consumption not being one of them.

In 1953, fire destroyed the original Burleigh House, once an elegant four-story hotel with a bar and an orchestra downstairs. A new structure replaced the original in a simpler fashion with a bar and restaurant, sans orchestra, but there is Quick Draw and they do occasionally feature live music. Although it is no longer affiliated with the Burleigh family, the name was retained out of a love of the history of Ticonderoga.

Dozens of framed historic photographs, collected over the years by owner Kim Villardo, hang throughout the restaurant in silent retrospect. A gas fireplace adorns the pine covered wall near the bar, a vintage hand-colored and ornately-framed photograph of the original hotel hanging over the mantel. Open and spacious, with movable partitions for custom privacy, the interior conveys the impression of many rooms with distinct personalities. One area holds a pool table, a piano, and a few pub tables. A lounge in the center of the room, partitioned from the restaurant and bar with half walls, features two sofas, a piano and another smaller fireplace. The bar, with its soft, warm cherry finish, seats 15 to 20 patrons with leather stools comfortably spaced. Staff and patrons were friendly and interesting, as well as interested in what we were up to.

The Burleigh House doesn’t offer daily Happy Hour specials, but they do feature holiday drinks and a variety of spontaneous drinks like Cosmos, specialty shots and this day, and the Razz-berry Kiss. The kitchen is closed on Monday and Tuesday. The bar is open daily at 11 a.m. and noon on Sunday. They are open until midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

On the more trendy side, The Burleigh House has free wi-fi, a website, and a Facebook page.

Located equidistant from Lake Champlain and Lake George, The Burleigh House is a summer hot spot. Though closed for the season, a large outdoor patio out back awaits the warmer weather. Local residents, snowmobilers and the occasional off season tourists support the business year-round. When you visit The Burleigh House, and we know you want to, have a Razz-berry Kiss with Luke and take a quiet moment to see if you feel the timelessness too.

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.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Pub, Ticonderoga

Thanks to Pam’s archaic GPS, we found The Pub quite by accident. The GPS just dropped us in the middle of Montcalm Street in Ticonderoga, with no immediately visible sign of The Burleigh House (which we later found), the intended destination. We found a place to park on the street and looked up to find The Pub’s welcoming sign. Though not on our list of places to review in Ti, it certainly seemed to fit the criteria by name. We peeked through the tinted glass façade to see a well-lit, rather new looking pub, then ventured in.

Several patrons sat at the bar watching college football and chatting with the bartender. We selected a few seats at what Pam determined was a “P” shaped pine bar, and queried the bartender on beer and drink options. Though the pub offered no drinks unique to their establishment, Billy the bartender was quick to come up with a flavored vodka recipe with Whipped vodka, orange vodka, orange juice and milk. Pam found it not only nutritional, but tasty too. Several selections of both draft and bottled beers are available, and reasonably priced.

Having arrived ravenous, we reviewed the menu and opted to share nachos with beer battered jalapenos and the tidier, eat-with-a-fork boneless chicken wings. Both were delicious and served appropriately with proper fixings of bleu cheese, salsa and sour cream. “If you don’t get salsa and sour cream, might as well not get nachos,” says Pam. A modest but varied pub menu offers appetizers, burgers, wings and fries. Most items are priced between $3.50 and $7.99.

The P-shaped bar, which seats about 15, is partitioned by a wall, and we realized that we hadn’t selected the best seats for a full view of the pub. Along the wall behind us were three bar height tables and two to three more on the wall on the other side of the room. With three pub tables equally dispersed, the pub appeared ready to accommodate any size crowd. Another pair of tables in the front of the room provide seating sidewalk-side for people watching. A pool table in the back corner is perfectly situated for unencumbered play; an opening in the center wall allowing contact with the bartender from the pool table without having to walk around to the bar.

The bartender, Billy, was friendly, professional and eager to answer our questions. The Pub has been owned by his brother, Jeremy Treadway, since 2009 but, interestingly, was owned by their grandfather from the 1950s to the 1980s, when it was sold, then closed for seven years. Jeremy later bought the place, bringing it back into the family. In the ‘50s it was known as Bob’s TV Bar, the first bar with a television set in Ticonderoga. It was later renamed the North Country Pub. A Native American chainsaw carving stands guard inside the front door. It came with the bar when they bought it in 2009 and the new owners felt it should stay.

The Pub is open year-round, Thursday through Sunday, and only closes for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Though opening times vary, there is an obvious pattern easy to remember: 4 p.m. on Thursday, 3 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Typically the pub closes at 12:30 a.m. Summer tourists and winter snowmobilers make it a favorite venue any time of year. the pub features Happy Hour on Friday with a buy 1 get 1 special until 7 p.m. and $10 buckets of beer and food specials on Sunday. Even if you miss their specials, pricing for food and drink is reasonable off Happy Hour too.

As a common meeting place for area professionals, The Pub seems to be the type of place to drop in anytime (Thursday through Sunday, of course). They offer live entertainment two to three times per month in the winter and every Saturday in spring and summer.

An information sheet on the bar indicated that a dart league was forming for the winter. If darts aren’t your thing, there’s always pool, foosball, jukebox music, trivia night and Spin-the-Wheel Fridays for entertainment. Four TVs should cover your viewing needs during any sports season.

If on street parking is limited, the pub has a parking lot behind the building for patron use. Several general public parking areas are also nearby.

Whether visiting The Pub on purpose or by accident, for drink, for food or for entertainment, you shouldn’t be disappointed in the clientele, the atmosphere or the staff. Though we can’t speak for the entertainment, the food and drink are good too. After you’ve liked Happy Hour in the High Peaks on Facebook, be sure to visit the pub Ticonderoga, NY and like their facebook page too.

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.


Kid next to water
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Garrison, Lake George

The Garrison in Lake George, once a mecca for college students working in Lake George in the summer, or home for Thanksgiving or Christmas break, was and still is a haven for the locals. Situated on a hill, just far enough from Lake George Village, the Garrison offers security from the summer tourists as well as gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains from the deck in front.

As with many local pubs, the regulars at the Garrison welcome newcomers, but take comfort in being surrounded by their comrades. It’s one of those bars that you can visit as seldom as once a year and be sure to see someone you know, or visit for the first time and make friends you’ll see again and again.

Pam was once a regular at the Garrison in the ’80s and ’90s. Much like Norm of Cheers fame, she had her own designated barstool, at least in her mind, and, when necessary, was known to hover near it until it became available. Located at the end of the bar, in a far corner, it provided her with a view of everyone in the room, as well as a direct line to the door to see who was coming or going.

She recalls young Brian’s first days as a novice bartender, barely old enough to drink. The Garrison had been going through a number of bartenders at the time and Pam grew weary of “breaking them in”. Brian was different – curious and eager to learn. They started a game of “shot of the day”. While Pam worked her day job, it was Brian’s task to come up with a new concoction before she arrived for Happy Hour. He never knew which day she would come, but was always ready with something clever for shot du jour.

Built in 1953 on the site of Fort William Henry’s garrison, the Garrison has been continually in business since then. It fell victim to a fire in the early 1980s, but a new log structure was quickly built to replace it.

Current owner, BJ Forando, has owned it for the past 10 years. The original structure had an upstairs loft, dubbed the Koom Room in the 1960s, and the term remains on their sign. The origin and purpose of the Koom Room remains a closely guarded secret, though we suspect no one really knows. Not much has changed since then, but the carpeting, once perpetually sticky from spilled beer and cocktails, has thankfully been replaced at least a couple of times. College pennants still adorn the pine ceiling. Some, dusty and dingy, date back to before the fire, salvaged and ceremoniously redisplayed. The Garrison offers a free pitcher of beer for any pennant not currently among its collection.

The Garrison currently serves at least a dozen draft beers, mostly domestics and mass-produced specialty beers, and at least as many more in bottles, as well as malt coolers (Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Twisted Tea and Smirnoff Ice). The liquor selection is pretty standard, no specialty drinks, and the shot-of-the-day is a thing-of-the-past. Garrison Happy Hour specials, 50 cents off beer and well drinks, is offered Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. WiFi and Quick Draw are available. The bar opens daily at 11 a.m. and closes around midnight, but is subject to demand. Only seldom do they close to the public for private functions, but they do close for Thanksgiving and open late on Christmas Day.

For your amusement, activities include pool, electronic darts, arcade games, the toy claw and a jukebox. A variety of seating options can be found here. Outside on the deck, there are built in benches and a picnic table, but more seating is probably offered outside in fair weather. The bar accommodates up to 18 people. Two tables with seating for 4 each and a pub table for two are in the immediate vicinity. The restaurant, somewhat separated from the bar by a partition, features two large tables seating 6-8 each and can be put together for large parties. Several booths line the walls, accented by pendant lights above and Lake George panoramic prints. The menu is primarily bar fare – appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads all in the $5 to $10 range. Lunch specials are offered daily at around $7.95. We don’t often comment on food, but Kim found the seafood chowder delicious!

Winter is the Garrison’s busiest season and it’s the only bar in the village that’s right on the snowmobile trail, but summer months afford nice views from the deck where you can lounge for hours in the sun or breeze, listening to the drone of boats on the lake. A huge parking area lends an air of optimism and endless possibilities. Kelly, our bartender the day we visited, was pleasant, professional, attentive and friendly. No matter the season or the time of day, you are sure to feel safe and welcome at the Garrison.

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.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Melba Mae’s, Hadley

Melba Mae’s was one of the few places we visited in the wee hours of the night (9 p.m.). Although the hand painted Melba Mae’s Riverview Inn sign is a bit difficult to read, the lighted message board in front touting the weekend’s band lineup is a beacon to passersby traveling along North Shore Road near the Conklingville Dam in Hadley.

Our visit to Melba Mae’s was prompted by recommendation from people we’d met at some of the Luzerne area bars we reviewed, as well as the fact that Kim’s husband is a member of the Ralph Kylloe Band, Melba Mae’s entertainment that night. The parking lot adjacent to the inn was full, but plenty of parking was available along North Shore Road. We wondered whether that was a good idea in the wintertime. » Continue Reading.


Kid next to water
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Ashe’s Pub and Grill, Warrensburg

It was less than two weeks after bartender Valene began her new job at Ashe’s Pub and Grill that she started to wonder what she’d gotten herself into. It was the end of her shift and she got right to the business of closing the bar. The doors were locked, the bar lights off, and everything stocked for opening in the morning. She took the day’s receipts through the dining room, past the pool table, into the office. As she began counting, there came a loud pounding at the back entrance to the bar, accompanied by a man’s voice shouting, “Open the bar!”

Annoyed that some drunk had the audacity to expect that the bar would be opened for him, Valene got her husband on the phone for reassurance and went to the door. No one was there. Poking her head out the front door, she looked up and down the street, but no one was in sight. Dismissing the incident and turning to go back to her work, keeping her husband on the line in case the man came back, she could hear heavy footsteps and the sound of creaky floorboards coming from the area around the pool table. Banging sounds came from different areas of the bar; chairs in the dining room squeaked as though occupants were fidgeting in their seats. By now the young woman was truly frightened. Her husband, too, could hear the racket over the phone. Unable to come there himself, he sent Valene’s cousin to the bar to stay with her as she finished for the night while the noises continued around them. Not easily bullied by mere spirits, Valene has gotten used to the experiences and is still tending bar there. She makes it known to would-be spooks that she’s in charge!

Other employees have had similar experiences. Becky, another of the bartenders, says that securely placed pots and pans often crash to the floor. Footsteps are heard coming from deserted floors above. Cash disappears…then returns. A second-floor apartment is home to the apparition of a tall, older gentleman who wears a top hat and has an arm in a sling. A woman who lived in a second-floor apartment claims the man climbed into bed with her. When a visiting vendor arrived to set up a demonstration, she was in immediate need of a restroom. Since there was a line at the one-seater in the bar, the employee who lived in the upstairs apartment took the woman upstairs to use her bathroom. Curious, the vendor asked about the man she had seen standing in the upstairs window when she arrived. She described him as very tall, wearing a top hat and a sling.

Standing just beyond Warrensburg’s historic district in a neighborhood of mostly modest residences, Ashe’s Hotel looks much as it did when it was built over 150 years ago. Originally named the Agricultural Hotel due to its proximity to the old Warren County Fairgrounds, the name was changed to Ashe’s Hotel when Maurice Ashe acquired it from his father, Henry, in the 1930’s. The fairgrounds was also the site of Ashland Park Speedway from 1954 to 1961. Somehow, the bar at Ashe’s has managed to stay in continuous operation since the early 1860’s.

The current owner, John Abbale, has owned Ashe’s for the past 25 years and has gradually made many improvements. Colorful linen table cloths liven the dining room and whitewashed walls brighten the interior. The recently installed wide pine slab bar seats about 15 people, and several tables are available in the same room in close proximity to the bar. A semi-partitioned room off the bar offers table seating for another 26 patrons. Off that room is the pool table and area for musical entertainment and dancing. The central location for music setup makes it accessible to all three rooms. If you’re looking for entertainment beyond music and bar banter, a pool table, electronic darts and bowling, or pinball can be played here as well.

Though food service at Ashe’s has been known to come and go over the years, Ashe’s currently serves lunch and features dinner specials on Tuesday (clams) and Thursday (wings). Standard pub fare is served until 9 p.m. Located on Hudson Street in Warrensburg and surrounded by residential neighbors, the pub has outdoor seating, but, in an obvious effort to keep peace with the neighbors, discourages its use by not allowing drinks outside. Complicated drink specialties are not their priority, but the basics are there and the beer selection is varied and reasonable. Kim particularly enjoyed the Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat in a cinnamon-and-sugar-rimmed glass, though it’s just as good without the embellishment.

The bar is open year-round, 7 days a week, but sometimes closes for Christmas. Their busiest days of the year are during Warrensburg’s World’s Largest Garage Sale weekend in early October, and Americade and Warrensburg Bike Week in June when the bar serves as social center for participants. Live music on Friday and karaoke on Saturday keep everyone entertained on the weekends. With reasonable drink prices, Happy Hour specials Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 7p.m., friendly bar staff in a neighborhood location, Ashe’s is a local pub and yet a regular spot for many out-of-towners. In a country-charm sort of way, the local patrons look forward to some diversity of conversation from strangers. Our inquiries about Ashe’s ghosts sparked interest and conversations, as well as dissent among the non-believers. If you’re looking to scare up some spirits this Hallows’ Eve, stop in on Saturday, October 29 for Ashe’s costume party and karaoke.

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.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Glenmore Bar and Grill, Big Moose

As we traveled the six miles down Big Moose Road to the Glenmore Bar and Grill, we noticed it was populated with summer camps right down to Big Moose Lake. Perplexed by the distinct absence of people on this beautiful summer day in July, we pulled in to the mostly deserted parking lot. Given that it was early afternoon, possibly everyone was out pursuing summer pleasures on the lake or in town at Eagle Bay.

A two-story shingled structure flanked by ancient pines at the water’s edge, dormers peek out from above. With a spacious deck overlooking the lake, the Glenmore exudes history. We passed through the entrance doors to the main floor which houses the restaurant and bar, immediately encountering historic memorabilia and postings at the main entrance. Gleaming pine booths lined a sunny dining area, partially separated from the dining room and bar. Ivy wandered, taking over the room, repeated in stenciled embellishment over the windows. Sunlight streamed through picture windows, competing with rustic hues and textures for control of the lighting. At once dark and light, the hardwood floor, low pine plank ceiling, rough-sawn slab walls painted in tones of sage and brown, and simple pine booths were softly illuminated by daylight. A couple of well-worn plaid sofas faced the stone fireplace, the focal point of the center of the restaurant. A game room and pool table are available for use, but the Glenmore seems to be a venue for long stories and general banter.

The bar, with its panoramic view of the lake, seats 15 to 20 people. A handful of guests intently watched a soccer game as we introduced ourselves, and our purpose, to the bartender. Beer selection is primarily domestic, mostly from the Anheuser Busch and Matt’s brewing families. Canned beers (14 of them) include Utica Club and Genesee. Very retro. As Pam sat at the bar trying to decide what to order from the standard selection of liquors, she noticed that every one of the bar pours on the liquor bottles was not only the same color (green), but were all pointing in the same “wrong” direction. We have been to a lot of bars and have never seen either phenomenon. Not willing to let it go on observation, she mentioned to the bartender that he might have difficulties if he hired a left-handed bartender. Promising that would never happen, he smiled graciously and changed the subject, but seemed pleased that his efforts were noticed. We did take the time to inquire if the Glenmore had any specialty drinks unique to the establishment. Robert shared the ingredient list of the Flaming Glenmore, consisting of coffee, Yukon Jack, Amaretto and whipped cream.

It took some time for him to loosen up, but owner/bartender Robert Muller eventually warmed to our inquisition. He told us of a writers’ group that, for the past 36 years, meets at the Glenmore. Robert is of the opinion that some may no longer write, but continue to enjoy each other’s company, spending a weekend there every year under the auspices of the Tamarack Writers Group. (For the record, he did not use the word “auspices”.)

Kim inquired about hauntings, particularly in the death of Grace Brown in 1906. Grace and her companion, Chester Gillette, had checked in to the Glenmore the night before her demise, which she met at the hands of Gillette while rowing out on the lake. Several locations around Big Moose Lake claim to be haunted by her presence, and the television series Unsolved Mysteries aired an episode based on ghostly encounters in Big Moose in 1996. Robert also mentioned the apparition of a “creepy, tall, old dude” who occasionally makes his presence known.

The Glenmore Hotel Bar & Grill has been in business for 100 years and owned by the current owners, the Muller family, since the 1970s. When a fire of suspicious origin destroyed the original hotel in 1950, the Glenmore Hotel relocated across the street to its present location, originally home to the Big Moose Supply Company. A bar, restaurant and hotel located yards from Big Moose Lake, you can feel the history as you gaze upon the lake from the bar.

In summer months, the Glenmore is open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and noon to 1 a.m. on weekends. Closed Monday through Thursday in the fall and spring, they are open Friday through Sunday. Surprisingly, to us at least, Robert, who likes winter best, claims that winter is the best season to visit. Winter hours at the Glenmore begin with opening for the Snodeo, occurring this year December 9-11, and end with St. Patrick’s Day. The no-nonsense menu includes pizzas, salads, burgers, sandwiches and bar munchies in the $7 to $10 range.

The hotel has 11 rooms accommodating up to 24 people. Rooms are simple, unique and comfortable with few amenities. Two full and one half bath are shared by all the guests. They have no WiFi, no cell service either, but a phone booth outside actually appeared to still be in service. History, a remote setting, simple charm, and circumspect hospitality await guests and visitors to the Glenmore Bar and Grill.

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.


Kid next to water
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Slickers, Old Forge

The brightly painted yellow exterior of Slickers Adirondack Tavern caught our attention as we made our way back into Old Forge. Since it was within walking distance to most of the accommodations in Old Forge, plenty of parking was available. Wearing a bright yellow coat, Slickers is perched on the edge of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, the beach and lake on view from the bar.

Slickers was the sixth of eight bars we covered on our Old Forge tour back in July, but somehow we never got around to writing the review. Since we didn’t go anywhere new over the weekend we resurrected Slickers from the “unfinished” bin.

The bar seats about 10 people, and all seats were taken with several patrons standing. The upbeat crowd steadily building on this Saturday night in July, we ordered drinks from the typical beer and booze options and found a seat along on the wall where we could rest our drinks, take notes, and keep out of the way of the wait staff passing through to the busy restaurant seating area. Additional bar seating was available in an adjacent room, but we needed to be in the mix.

Weathered in a charming, New England way, the building is summer cottage-like, of unknown age, and has to have been around long before 1984. With low ceilings, a dark pine floor, lots of wood, and decorated in a fishing theme, the most impressive feature is the Hoosier-style antique bar shelving featuring brass-trimmed roll-top coolers and glass door cabinets, crammed into the minuscule space behind the bar.

We weren’t able to get close enough to the bar for our usual question and answer session with the bartender, but a local named Bob gave us his positive opinion of Slickers and introduced us to another patron whose wife is the owner of Tony Harpers Too. The people at the bar seemed to be a blend of locals and tourists of varying ages, but everyone was getting to know each other. Bob, who says, “Every bar in the Adirondacks is wonderful!” appeared to be on a quest to meet everyone – at every bar in Old Forge. (We ran into Bob at several of the venues we visited that night.)

Established in 1984, Slickers offers entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights in the summer months. We got the impression that the restaurant would quiet down in time to allow more space for the evening bar crowd who were beginning to arrive for the entertainment. A small deck area is available just outside, but seating did seem to be limited. Offering an array of pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, and homemade soups and desserts, Slickers is a favorite of natives and visitors alike.

No matter how you travel – by boat, snowmobile, kayak, or on foot – Slickers is a must-see while in Old Forge, whether you’re just having drinks, visiting with friends, having a meal, listening to music, meeting new people or all of the above.

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.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: CB’s Spirits, Warrensburg

If it’s friendly staff, loquacious patrons and reasonable prices you’re looking for, CB’s Spirits on River Street may be just the place when you’re in Warrensburg. The two-story frame building of unknown age sits unpretentiously on the edge of the Schroon River. It’s not all about the ambiance here, but basic comforts prevail and the clientele are welcoming.

We weren’t strangers to a few of the customers and were acquainted with Sue, bartender and sister of owner Chuck Bederian. Though the atmosphere in the tavern is no frills, no fuss, we were impressed by the upscale attire and professionalism of the bartender. Maybe you’ll catch Sue sporting our Happy Hour in the High Peaks hat on “casual” days.

Warrensburg’s World’s Largest Garage Sale had just about reached its cold, rainy conclusion and we were ready for a drink. We joined the ten or twelve people already seated at the bar. No draft beer, but Kim ordered a Michelob Ultra from the modest selection of mostly domestic bottled beers while Pam tried to figure out what to have. Pear vodka was suggested and Sue and Pam brainstormed, settling finally on the pear vodka, cranberry juice, and 7-Up.

CB’s is a true local bar, though it didn’t take long before we felt like locals ourselves. Oh yeah, we are locals ourselves! Kim was soon immersed in conversation with Gordon, a regular who claims he’s here every day. His wife Cathy joined in as they tried to trace the history of CB’s. Known previously as the Wayside Inn (at least as far back as 1965), we learned very little but were encouraged to contact “Antique Bill”, a gentleman in town who apparently knows everything about every bar that’s ever been in the area. Armed with his phone number, references, and cautionary advice from Gordon and Cathy, we look forward to meeting him. Pam met and interviewed a man who is new in town, there temporarily on a construction job for a few months, who claims that the bartender is “the most fun ever” and that he has felt welcome at CB’s since day one. Partial to their hamburgers with bakery fresh rolls, he gets his lunch there daily and visits often after work. The tavern serves a simple menu of pizza, burgers and sandwiches at very reasonable prices. The special listed on the blackboard that day was the Chickentender Sandwich with lettuce, tomato and chips for $5. Not a bad deal.

As is her custom, Pam stepped out to survey the grounds. A bulletin board outside posted several upcoming local music and biker-related events. The handwritten list of October birthdays for CB’s regulars and staff was a nice personal touch. A picnic table offers seating outside by the Schroon River, with a nice view of the new Milton Avenue Bridge and the serenity of flowing water.

The bar seats up to 16 with two booths and a pub table in the main room. A smaller adjacent room has three regular size booths and two over-sized booths for additional seating when needed. Quick Draw is available at CB’s and a lottery ticket vending machine entices a little game of chance. Darts, a pool table, and Big Buck hunting games are also on hand for games of skill. Open 365 days a year with no black out dates, the hours are generally Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until midnight or later, and opening on Sunday at noon. Happy Hour is offered Monday through Friday and during Sunday football games with several drink specials. CB’s occasionally features live music, but not on any fixed schedule. The sale of raffle tickets to benefit local cheerleaders is evidence of the establishment’s community involvement.

There’s something difficult about trying to review a bar in one’s own hometown. Preferences, prejudices and habits stand in the way of an unbiased viewpoint. Within minutes of our arrival we were able to shed our preconceptions and enjoy the good-natured surroundings in this somewhat cluttered but tidy bar. Like the temperatures registered on the collection of vintage thermometers displayed throughout the room, the readings varied from -6 to 110 degrees, with most at a comfortable 70 degrees. If you’re in the mood to meet some locals, it shouldn’t be hard to strike up a conversation that might last throughout your visit.

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.


Kid next to water
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Sporty’s, Minerva

A comprehensive review of Adirondack taverns would not be complete without a review of Sporty’s Iron Duke Saloon on Route 28N in Minerva. Just 35 minutes from Warrensburg, the scenic and winding trek on Routes 28 and 28N is the perfect ride by any means of transportation. On this clear September day, the trees just beginning to try on their fall wardrobe, we soon left the harried monotony of the week behind.

Utilitarian in form and structure, the log exterior and metal roof present a no-nonsense impression of practicality. The neatly kept grounds offer little in the way of ornamentation, though Sporty’s sense of humor and nostalgia are alluded to upon entering the huge gravel parking lot. A signpost stands near the road pointing the direction and distance to destinations dear to the hearts of bikers. Among them: Sturgis, Daytona, Bear Trap and McDermott’s.

Located on the former site of the Mountain View Hotel, Sporty’s has been owned and operated by Dave “Sporty” Beale for the past eight years. Sporty’s is notorious for its year-round fundraisers. The calendar of events leaves no month unturned, with several featuring multiple events. Events include lots of free holiday related foods, auctions, helicopter rides and annual car and bike shows. Sporty seems especially proud of his success raising Toys for Kids. Last year they delivered presents to 500 kids and hope to fulfill wishes for 700 kids this year.

Obviously proud of the accomplishments and popularity of his saloon, Sporty is a gracious, gregarious and friendly host, though one senses that he runs this place in a no-nonsense style in strict adherence to his rules. Not your everyday biker bar, Sporty’s self-described “tavern, museum and community center”, supports Little League and the fire department as well and proudly hosts the ladies of the local “Red Hat Society” luncheon every year. He even treats them to a ride!

Sporty’s interior is as extravagant as the exterior is spartan. Sporty’s “museum” displays scores of old license plates, bike parts, ancient tools, a gas pump, models, memorabilia, advertising novelties and hundreds of framed photographs. Vintage motorcycles are cordoned off along one wall (including an “Easy Rider” replica), with a tribute to Peter Fonda and the iconic film on the wall behind the bar. The tavern is large enough to accommodate the display of old bikes, a pool table and bar and table seating.

Our tour of the grounds in the back began with the accommodations. Several neat and simple cabins are available for $66.00 a night. Covered camping is free ($5.00 for a shower). The grassy expanse features covered outdoor seating, several dozen picnic tables, a pavilion, and a fireplace. With plenty to do besides drinking, outdoor activities include tetherball, horseshoes, volleyball, basketball and hiking trails. The steep hill a bit further back is used for bike and snowmobile climbs at various events. Attracting not only bikers, but skiers, hunters and snowmobilers, Sporty’s is like summer camp for adults, all year long. Just leave your coolers at home – all beverages must be purchased on the premises.

Sporty’s is open 365 days a year, from noon to 2 a.m. Though they don’t offer an official Happy Hour, their drink prices reflect happy hour prices all day long, with occasional specials. Guessing we won’t find Godiva martinis, beverage options are straightforward. No draft beer, but a fair selection of domestic, craft and imported beers, tiny bottles of Sutter wines, Twisted Tea, Smirnoff Ice, and soft drinks are available, as are a few flavored liquors. Known for his bloody marys and white Russians, Pam couldn’t resist trying Sporty’s bloody mary. Served in a large plastic cup and garnished with “hot pickle” slices instead of celery, Pam sounded very pleased with her drink, savoring the flavors and making yummy sounds as she sipped. When Sporty’s isn’t serving food for special events, burgers, wings, pizza and chicken patty sandwiches are served daily.

Whether visiting Sporty’s for a special event, out for a ride in your car, on your motorcycle or snowmobile, you’ll always feel welcome when you enter this remote tavern. Clean restrooms, tidy accommodations and good company on both sides of the bar can be found here year-round. Todd, another enthusiastic newcomer to Sporty’s, had come up just to watch the Buffalo Bills game, as the bars in North Creek didn’t have it on. We’re sure he’ll be back. Leave your cell phones and iPads in the car, but bring along some quarters if you think you might need to make a call. No WiFi, no cell service; but a nostalgic, fully functioning phone booth is available for use out front.

Add Sporty’s to our fave five.

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.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Adirondack Bar & Grill

Barely inside the Blue Line, the Adirondack Bar and Grill on Route 149 in Queensbury is our southernmost venue in the eastern part of the Adirondack Park. Known as Len & Peg’s nearly 10 years ago, and in the ‘70s as Two Squires, the Adirondack Bar and Grill has been owned by Jim Valastro for the past 9 years. Known for their community involvement, they host fundraisers throughout the year for the well-known Make-A-Wish Foundation and the lesser known Leather and Lace motorcycle club.

Spacious, grassy grounds with a few mature trees provide the comfort of shade in an otherwise sunny backyard. The parking lots on two sides can readily accommodate a large crowd for fundraising activities and serve as a launch pad for snowmobiles. On this early September afternoon, the deck out back appeared to have potential for plenty of seating, but was not set up for use.

Rustic wood and mounted wildlife and fish are the theme for the bar area. Unfinished plank walls brighten the interior and lend their piney scent. With seating for 16 to 18 patrons, the long bar could easily seat more if needed. Several tables dispersed around the bar offer additional seating for overflow or just a little more privacy.

Our Adirondack Bar and Grill guide for the afternoon, avid hunter and Adirondack outdoor writer Dan Ladd, places this tavern among his favorite local meeting places any time of year, categorizing it as a workingman’s bar and a traveler’s restaurant. (We still haven’t determined if we are related to Dan, but we definitely have some interests in common.) You can follow Dan online at Adkhunter.com. During the summer, the restaurant is most often populated with people passing to and from eastern New York and other easterly states. In the winter, the Adirondack Bar and Grill is a popular spot on the Warren and Washington County snowmobile trail. Once the dead end of Washington County’s sled route, the trail now connects with Warren County’s, opening access all the way to Maine. Locals and tourists can comfortably co-mingle at the bar.

The bar is open year round, 7 days per week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 12 or 1 a.m. on the weekend. They are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Single and duo acoustic entertainment is featured regularly on Fridays and occasionally on Saturday, and our host, Dan, has been known to appear here as a soloist himself. Happy Hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and the complimentary hors d’oeuvres are purported to be beyond the ordinary Happy Hour offerings.

Although they don’t boast unique drinks, our bartender, Laurie, was happy to create something unique for Pam based on her base request for flavored vodka. It’s generally a beer and basic mixed drink bar, but they seemed willing and able to accommodate special orders. A modest variety of drafts and over 20 bottled beers are served here. Although Kim didn’t get to try anything new to her, the Sam Adams Seasonal hit the spot.

A wide selection of bar fare is served including sandwiches, burgers, nachos (we had them loaded) and chicken wings, all in the $6 to $10 range. Thursday is wing night: $4.95 a dozen, starting at 6 p.m. (no takeout for this deal) and a prime rib dinner is featured on Saturdays.

Whether stopping in for a drink, food or both, the Adirondack Bar and Grill meets a variety of tastes and preferences. Like so many we have visited before, this one deserves a wintertime visit.

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.


Kid next to water
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Judd’s Tavern, Lake George

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.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Duffy’s, Lake George

Soon after the departure of Hurricane Irene, having taken her toll on Lake George Village, we felt that another trip to Lake George at the close of the village’s summer season was in order. Duffy’s Tavern was first on our short list. We had been there briefly on Memorial Day weekend as heavy rains were washing out numerous roads in the Town of Thurman, where Kim lives, and found it fitting that this fine summer had been sandwiched in between disasters.

Duffy’s sits in the heart of Lake George Village, not quite lakeside, between the Boardwalk Restaurant and Bella’s Deli. The exterior is a crazy jumble of multiple add-ons and materials; the upstairs deck appearing the most recent. Music was coming from above, so up the stairs we went. Duffy’s Tavern is a great venue for entertainment outdoors. The upper deck is more like a wrap-around porch than a deck. One of three bars is located on the upper deck and seats ten but mainly serves the needs of the friendly waitstaff. A bar on the ground level was moderately busy. The interior bar upstairs was closed, and people seemed to come and go at the outdoor bar on the deck.

Approximately 15 tables are available outside, with comfortable bar height seating at each. Neal McHugh of the River Rats Band played solo acoustic music at just the right volume for a busy Labor Day weekend: classic Neil Young, James Taylor, Tom Petty and lots of other great stuff people our age like to listen to. A back corner of the upper deck is designated for smokers, allowing them to participate and not offend.

Seating ourselves, we took out our notes. Before we could even get started, we were approached by a man who had seen us come in, following us to our table. Apparently, Kim bears a striking resemblance to someone named Lori from Brookfield Connecticut. Introducing himself as Frank, he seemed amazed at the resemblance and soon his companions, Kevin and Jen, came over to comment. Photos were taken like Kim was some celebrity, making her feel a little awkward, but not minding the attention. It wasn’t long before she seized the opportunity to plug our book and blog and hand out business cards as she shamelessly told our new acquaintances to “like” our Facebook page.

Duffy’s offers a variety of specialty drinks including a Mai Tai, the Lake George Iced Tea, Planter’s Punch and the Passionate Screw. The Duffle Bag appears to be a concoction of their own design, a rich and sensuous blend of vodka, peach schnapps, Southern Comfort and orange juice. Pam started with the Passionate Screw, ate all of the fruit garnishes, and moved on to try the Duffle Bag. She claims the Screw was her favorite, but is partial to garnishes. At about $7 to $8 each, they are worth it in both size and quality. A modest selection of bottled domestic beers are offered in addition to LaBatt Blue, Shock Top, Yuengling, Landshark and Bear Naked drafts. Kim ordered a Landshark lager, new to her, crafted by the Margaritaville Brewing Co. in Jacksonville, Florida. It was light, crisp and quite the perfect accompaniment to a lazy afternoon on the deck.

We didn’t eat at Duffy’s, but a variety of tasty-sounding appetizers and entrees was tempting, most in the $7 to $11 range, though baby back ribs or a steak or chicken and ribs combo are priced at $12.95 for a small serving or $18.95 for a large. They also have a kids’ menu.

Accommodations are available within walking distance to Duffy’s. Lake George, Shepard Park beach and the shops, restaurants and other tourist draws are also in the immediate vicinity.

Duffy’s is open from 11 a.m. to close, all year long, with three bars and live music on a regular basis. The main bar downstairs hosts live regional bands and a younger crowd later at night. The deck usually features acoustic music in the late afternoon. It’s one of those places where it’s easy to settle in, get comfortable, and not want to leave. Which is exactly how we felt, having invited ourselves over to the table with our recent new friends from Connecticut. We said our good-byes and took more pictures, each of them sporting a new “Happy Hour in the High Peaks” hat and a smile.

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.



Kid next to water

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