Having only been open since January of 2012, the Pub on 9 is the youngest pub we have had the privilege to review. So far, they seem to be doing everything right. Located south of the village of Bolton Landing, the Pub on 9 is on Route 9N, or Lake Shore Drive, between Diamond Point and Bolton. Operating as the Wooden Barrel in past years, new owners Bob and Noelle Schwab eagerly wait to see what their first summer will bring. Set back a comfortable distance from Route 9N, with plenty of parking, a large deck offering sunshine or the shade of table umbrellas, the pub is a perfect spot for entertainment, indoors or out.
The bartender, Jon, is an enthusiastic, attentive, personable (and did we mention very handsome) guy with tireless energy and humor. His animated nature and quick wit kept us amused as he exchanged barbs with another patron, who asked that we not divulge his affiliation with the aforementioned bartender. He also told us a little about his participation in the Fire Tower Challenge, suggesting it as a theme for out next book. Hmm… The Firewater Challenge? We chatted with Noelle, who took a break from her daily chores to talk about the pub’s future plans.
Currently open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., the Pub on 9 will add Wednesday and Sunday this summer, and plan to continue with Sunday operation through football season. This year they closed for the month of March and anticipate closing on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The generous dance floor rocks with musical entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights, and Noelle hopes to add a Karaoke Night on Wednesday nights for the summer, as well as live music on the deck when weather permits. The deck currently offers picnic table seating, but will have patio tables in the summer season. Suggesting that the cook probably doesn’t have much of a social life, the kitchen usually stays open until just before the bar closes, so don’t be afraid to stop in for a late-night snack. The restaurant will also be offering delivery to nearby motels this summer, something that is sure to boost their notoriety.
The Pub on 9’s huge (by our standards) three-sided bar seats 24 and is stocked with all of the necessities: an abundant draft beer selection (10 flavors!), coolers full of bottled beers, and much more than the basics on the liquor shelves. Pine predominates, from walls to ceiling. The spacious floor plan flows seamlessly from bar to dining to a large game room, creating separate but inclusive spaces throughout. Three TVs suspended stadium style above the bar allow viewing from all sides and there’s another in the game room. The 70-inch monster flat screen may be best viewed from a comfortable club chair in the dining area, but can be seen from pretty much everywhere. The atmosphere is simple, clean and spacious. Decoration mostly consists of mirrored beer advertisements and a neon Welcome to Bolton sign (which Jon took pains to point out, so we felt we should mention it). Happy Hour is from 5 to 6 p.m. daily with $1.00 PBR drafts, $1 off well drinks and 1/2 off appetizer pricing.
Already known for the hand cut fries and homemade soups, the menu also features signature specialties, the 9 Burger and the 9 Dog. Plenty of options are available on the menu and range from $7.99 to $12.99, but they already expect to expand their summer menu. Hopefully they’ll be breaking out the blenders too for margaritas and daiquiris on the deck. Pam suggested adding a nine-shot cocktail (the 9 on 9?) as a signature bar offering.
It’s difficult to describe a bar based merely on having had a good time. From Jon’s greeting as soon as we walked in, to introductions to anyone else who entered or passed through, we were made to feel like invited guests and familiar friends. As the conversation turned to the mild weather and early emergence of mint and rhubarb, we swapped drink recipes (our Rhubarb Margarita) with celebrity bartender Kate (her Summer Squeeze). Kate, of Frederick’s in Bolton Landing, offered her endorsement of the Pub on 9 as a keeper, and a definite contender for the top 46. It’s places like this, where drink recipes are exchanged and rhubarb plants are procured, that remind us that the Adirondack region is just one big neighborhood.
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.