Posts Tagged ‘Liquor – Beer – Wine’

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. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Cowboy, Lake Placid

The Cowboy was one of the more interesting finds after a couple of disappointments during our second visit to Lake Placid. Though seemingly a restaurant with a bar, we were excited when presented with an extensive drink menu. The restaurant has an equally interesting dinner menu, but that’s just wasted on us.

Neil, the bartender, extremely knowledgeable in his trade, seemed to know a lot about the variety of liquors they carry, and is possibly responsible for the overall diversity behind the bar. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Liquids and Solids, Lake Placid

What was beginning to feel like a wasted (no pun intended) trip to Lake Placid finally began to take a turn for the better. Originally arriving too early, we returned to Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar on a recommendation. We had considered skipping it after two of the three previous bars proved to be disappointing, but we weren’t sorry we backpedaled to give Liquids and Solids a proper review.

The long bar stretched out a hand in greeting, which we accepted. Lights with bare bulbs, painted dark, hung over the bar, adding a mysterious light for early afternoon. Eggplant colored walls breathed calm as they showcased their quirky and intriguing artwork. Random details added a tasteful touch of whimsy to the simple shapes and spare ornamentation in the dining area. Fresh flowers popped their lively heads from artfully labeled beer bottles, a theme we were later to discover was carried into the ladies’ room. Beer and wine menus, handwritten in wide black marker on large paper grocery bags, hung from clipboards behind the bar. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Thirsty Moose, Childwold

Where have all the young people gone? Having spent 19 months reviewing bars, taverns and dives in the Adirondacks, the thought had crossed our minds, but we never vocalized it. We just assumed they came out later. Like vampires. Not during the afternoon and evening. Not during Happy Hour. Or maybe they just restricted themselves to larger venues like Lake Placid and Lake George.

We found them one Wednesday afternoon in July, at the Thirsty Moose Pub & Grub in Childwold, somewhere between Cranberry Lake and Tupper Lake. » Continue Reading.


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. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Trail’s End, Tupper Lake

Trail’s End is a classic roadhouse bar located just outside Tupper Lake on Route 30. Step out the front door and look around. Surrounded by mountains, water, and trees, a few barely discernable dwellings dot the landscape. Located at the convergence of Tupper Lake, Simon Pond, Raquette Pond, and the Raquette River, Trails End earns the distinction of being the bar with the best view in Tupper Lake, with some of the nicest people.

As we stepped from our V-6 (not our V-twin), we received a friendly greeting from the pair of musicians seated with their guitars on a long bench on the porch. Thursday is open mic night at Trails End and some like to get there early to warm up, be it musically or otherwise. Trails End is a self-proclaimed biker bar, but don’t think non-bikers are not welcome. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour:
Windfall Bar and Grill, Cranberry Lake

Eighty miles to Tupper Lake. Another twenty-six to Cranberry Lake. The two-and-a-half-mile stretch on Tooley Pond Road, winding between Cranberry Lake and Silver Lake to the Windfall Bar and Grill, was the shortest leg of our travels. It’s all about perspective in the Adirondacks.

Rounding a curve just when we’d decided there was no sign of human interference other than the road and a small cemetery, we were somewhat surprised to find the Windfall Bar and Grill occupying a yellow ranch house. Nothing garish or pretentious about its curb appeal,  just a simple looking country tavern and restaurant, well maintained and hospitable. The same was found within. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour:
Rick’s Restaurant and Pub, Willsboro

Located in what we call an “Adirondack plaza”, but known as the Willsborough Business Center, Rick’s Restaurant and Pub is unique in more than its location. Our definition of an Adirondack plaza, and we have encountered several of these business centers in our travels in the Park, is a building that houses multiple businesses but not all are accessed directly from the curb.

The Willsborough Business Center is home to a pharmacy, a bowling alley, a hair salon, several engineering and technology businesses, a bakery and, of course, Rick’s Restaurant and Pub. Enter through the business entrance and it’s one of the doors on the right. There are no windows in the doors, so you may find yourself entering tentatively, hoping you’re in the right place. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Johnny’s Sports Bar, Willsboro

Just when we thought we had seen the best the Adirondacks has to offer, heeeere’s Johnny’s! If it were as simple as walking in with a ten-item checklist, Johnny’s Smokehouse and Sports Bar in Willsboro would be an easy ten. It isn’t, but they do have it all, inside and out.

In its infancy, Johnny’s was established by Trisha Sheehan in July, 2011 and seems well on its way to maturity. The combination of exciting and creative menu options, a wide selection of beverages, and an appealing atmosphere contribute to an overall enjoyable experience. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: A Good Bar Attender

As follow-up to our popular March post, What Makes a Good Bartender, it’s time to give the customer some helpful tips on making friends in an Adirondack tavern. With 84 bars under our belts in the past year-and-a-half, we’ve learned a few things. We’re two venerable ladies that don’t look like we belong anywhere; yet we almost always manage to fit in. While most Adirondackers are not, by nature, predatory, they have been known to be territorial. Following some simple rules should help in acculturation.

RULE NUMBER ONE. Don’t be an a$$#@*! It will only raise hackles. (Note that rule number one applies to both a good bartender and a good bar attender.) » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: North Country Club, Keeseville

The “Cocktails” sign on the side of the North Country Club Restaurant sign was a harbinger of the retro-style tavern we were about to enter in Keeseville. The windows on the interior walls as we entered the vestibule foreshadowed a repurposed building. Slate floors, a combination of wood panel and brick walls, and a green formica topped bar counter, all in good condition, confirmed our first speculation. Our first impression was one of familiarity, comfort and welcome.

Behind the bar, signs promoting the Bikini Martini and Catalina Margarita (no Rob Roys and Whisky Sours here) spoke of more contemporary times. The bartender, Shannon, young, energetic, smiling and soon joking, did too. The large, rectangular bar offered seats at least 15 patrons in sturdy captain’s chairs. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres were put out in a corner with chips, dips, crackers and cheese spread. Quick Draw and a few televisions offered entertainment, but we found the bartenders, first Shannon, then Josh, to be enough entertainment for us.

Owned by Michael and Tonia Finnegan for the past four years, the North Country Club Restaurant has been in business for at least the past 40 years. One of the waitresses, Gladys, came to Keeseville in the 1950s, and was able to fill us in on some history. The building was originally a train station, located elsewhere, but moved to make room for the highway. Once moved, it was reappointed as a restaurant and has been serving local families and tourists ever since. Gladys apparently came with the building. The North Country Club is renowned for its gourmet style pizza, and claims to serve the best pizza from Montreal to Miami. Entirely homemade, it is reputed to have been Fed-Exed to Utah and Florida. Supposedly they deliver anywhere.

Serving a variety of bottled beers, Land Shark and Budweiser are currently offered at a mere $2.00 a bottle. Several beers are available on tap, both domestic and micro, including, Yuengling, Bud, Coors, and Long Trail Blackberry Wheat. The liquor selection is typical, with several flavored vodkas and a few premium distillations. Several varieties of wine are served as well.

The North Country Club is open seven days a week all year, from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and Noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Closing time is extended one hour every day when summer hours begin Memorial Day weekend. They close only for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Happy Hour is featured daily with $1.00 draft beer, $2.00 domestic bottles and $.50 off well drinks. Cocktail specials like the Bikini Martini are available for $5.00 and change weekly, depending on bartender creativity. Maybe someday they will feature one of Happy Hour in the High Peaks signature drinks. Bring your favorite recipe and Shannon and Josh will set you up. Cell phone service is available, and access to wifi is on request. They occasionally offer live music on a small scale.

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, April 25, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Newcomb House, Newcomb

We heard muffled voices in barroom debate as we entered the Newcomb House. As the bartender hustled our way with her cheerful smile and greeting, we took a seat at the end of the bar, a spot we find best suits our need to observe, and settled into the beverage selection tête-à-tête.

As we admired the unique bar top, the six or seven men occupying the far end, one next to the other, stole curious glances at us. We did the same. They seemed paired off – talker, listener, talker, listener. With seating for up to 14, the bar was comfortably occupied. Christian, the bartender, seemed to know each of them, but it was difficult to discern whether they all knew each other.

The Newcomb House barroom is sufficiently sized with room for a pool table, a built-in bar on a far wall, darts, scattered tables, a juke box and a little alcove for entertainment, with open floor space for dancing or just general milling about. In the subdued natural light from various windows and indoor lighting and fan fixtures, we quickly noticed how clean the Newcomb House is. The paneled ceiling and the butcher-block bar top’s alternating strips of stained hardwood fairly glow and the linoleum-tiled floor is spotless and shiny.

Owned by Mike Garrand, The Newcomb House has been in operation for 21 years. Christian tells us that Mike is an avid outdoor cook and enjoys putting on pig roasts and cookouts for such events as Customer Appreciation Day, a Teddy Roosevelt commemoration, and for various fundraisers to benefit Toys for Kids. A year-round destination, the Newcomb House is well known as a poker run stop for motorcycle and snowmobile clubs. As a popular spot for bikers, campers, hunters and snowmobilers, our visit in April was probably the only lull in activity they get all year. Given the fact that the Newcomb House only closes on Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, it’s admirable that they are able to keep it clean somewhere between closing hours anytime after 10 p.m. and re-opening between 11:00 a.m. and noon daily. In Newcomb, with a permanent population of around 500, and a few hundred privately owned camps, it’s also the only game in town.

They offer no Happy Hour or other drink specials, but their prices are befitting Happy Hour all day long. Well drinks and domestic bottled beers are in the $2.50 (Genny Light, the house favorite) to $4.00 range. Draft beer is not an option, and the liquor selection is no-nonsense. We didn’t see any Grey Goose or flavored vodkas, though there is a varied array of schnapps flavors.

Like the liquor lineup, the food menu is simple. Pub fare consisting of pizza, hot dogs, sandwiches and appetizers are available at very affordable prices. At 6 p.m. on Thursdays, patrons can enjoy a full home-cooked dinner for just $7.00. Just looking for a snack? Pickled delectables from the Adirondack Pickle Lady bathe in brine in huge jars behind the bar.

Park policy, the hiking permit debate, and Winchester rifles were among topics steadily bantered between patrons. Kim, not one to mind her own business, interjected her agreement to a comment. If you’re going to butt in, it’s always best to be agreeable – at least at first. Soon we were down at the other end of the bar, talking about our mission, handing out our cards, and trying to convince the skeptical clientele we were not up to evil doings.

The Newcomb House is one of those nondescript hometown taverns you’ve driven past a hundred times, maybe wondering if you should stop in. To the inexperienced, a strange bar can be intimidating. To a couple of seasoned veterans like us, it’s all in a day’s work. If you’ve passed by the Newcomb House once or on numerous occasions and wondered if you should stop in, Happy Hour in the High Peaks encourages you to do so.

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, April 18, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Basil & Wick’s, North Creek

The banner beneath Basil & Wick’s trail marker sign read Roadkill Throwdown. To the uninitiated, Throwdown is a Food Network show in which chef Bobby Flay challenges a chef in preparing a specific food. Throwdown in North Creek? How did we not hear about this? And what roadkill would be coaxed into fine cuisine? We were on our way to Long Lake for Happy Hour, but vowed to stop in on our way back through, hoping we’d see Basil & Wick’s chef Chuck Jennings take Bobby down. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Pub on 9, Bolton

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.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Mark Wilson: The Post-Star’s Public Shaming Policy

New York State keeps detailed motor vehicle accident statistics, compiling them year-to-year and county-by-county. Those data as well as the aggregate state figures compiled since 2001 are available online at safeNY.gov. The standards for data collecting and reporting have remained consistent since 2003, the year New York lowered the blood alcohol content standard for drunk driving, and the year the Glens Falls Post-Star initiated its policy on publishing names of teenagers busted for drinking.

Data in the following comparison are derived from police-reported accidents—collisions resulting in fatalities, personal injury or property damage. These records are more uniform within each region and over time than DWI ticketing, for example (another standard measure), which varies regionally and seasonally, skewed by periodic local crack-downs, check points, etc.

To get a sense of how the Glens Falls region’s statistics for underage drivers involved in alcohol-related accidents stacked up against the average statistics across New York, we set the number of alcohol-related-accident drivers aged twenty and younger both regionally and statewide against the number of alcohol-related-accident drivers from all age groups and compared the resulting percentages. A consistent drop in the regional percentage against the statewide percentage would suggest that the campaign was influencing underage drinking trends favorably.

The Results
While eight years of data form no solid basis for statistical analysis, the regional numbers—despite countervailing swings in the middle years of the range—seem to track overall with the statewide norms (even to the point of convergence with state figures in 2009 and 2010, the most recent years evaluated). While this may not be enough of a statistical sample to determine failure of the Post-Star’s policy and overall campaign, there is nothing here to encourage their advocates, either.

Not surprisingly Post-Star editors have not brought statistical analysis to bear on their policy of shaming teenage drinkers. Nor have they cited the statistics in their periodic recommitment to the campaign. If anything they seem to be spurred onward by their own often overheated editorial rhetoric on the subject: “Underage drinking is dangerous and if you don’t believe me, I will show you the headstones.”

Ken Tingley publicly declared his own immeasurable standard for continuing the crusade:

“If there is one young person who learns the lesson, if there is one young person who gets grounded for life for embarrassing their parents, if there is one young person who pauses to consider whether to accept a beer at the next party because they don’t want to see their name in the newspaper, then it is worth it.”

There is little doubt, given the power and range of the Post-Star’s editorial voice, that the shaming policy and Mr. Tingley’s angry bluster have successfully reached any number of kids (and/or their parents). On the same token, given the contrary nature of so many adolescents, can anyone doubt that as many kids may have reacted (sadly) predictably to Mr. Tingley’s bullying and ignored the grim statistics, or worse, headed defiantly in the opposite direction?

The lack of movement of the underage drunk driving numbers against the backdrop of statewide figures suggests, at the very least, that some neutralizing backlash may be at work here.

The Broader Picture
One of the more troubling aspects of the Post-Star policy is its selective and asymmetric targeting of underage drinkers for the sake of reducing the deaths of young people in motor vehicle accidents.

In 2010 alcohol was the primary cause of 30.5% of all motor vehicle fatalities throughout all upstate counties across all age groups. Speed, by comparison, was the primary cause of 29.2%. The statistics in the three counties served by the Post-Star were quite different: In Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties alcohol was responsible for 20.6% of motor vehicle fatalities, claiming seven lives, while speeding was responsible for 35.3% of motor vehicle fatalities claiming twelve lives. Moreover, in 2010 speed caused 439 injuries across the three counties (31.9%), while alcohol caused only 174 (11.3%).

When you add to that the fact that teenagers are far less likely to drive drunk (accounting for 9.3% of all drivers in alcohol-related accidents statewide) and far more likely to speed (accounting for 22% of all speeding-caused accidents statewide), the math becomes clear: speeding—and not drinking—is by far the deadliest behavior by drivers young and old on our roadways. It comes as no surprise that the Post-Star is devoting none of its diminishing resources to publishing the names of speeders in an effort to embarrass them and their families in a misguided effort—no matter how well-intentioned—to alter their behavior.

Two final thoughts on this subject
This challenge to (and argument against) the Post-Star’s policy of publishing names of teenagers fined for drinking should not be interpreted in any way as condoning the behavior. While it may be a rite of passage—as even Ken Tingley concedes—it remains reckless as it ever was. When combined with driving it has abundant potential to be life-destroying. The sole concern of this post is that the approach undertaken nine years ago by the editor of the Post-Star to combat the issue may simply have made matters worse.

The Post-Star is in many respects a fine newspaper. It is, to be sure, a troubled newspaper belonging to a troubled corporation in a troubled industry in a weak economy. The last thing the editors and publisher of the paper should be doing at this stage is alienating its future readers and subscribers in a way that from any angle looks like a double standard. The Post-Star needs to descend from the bully pulpit and get back to its number one responsibility to the community: reporting news.

Read Part 1: The Post-Star’s War on Underage Drinking