Posts Tagged ‘Liquor – Beer – Wine’

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mark Wilson: The Post-Star’s War on Underage Drinking

Ken Tingley is back in his bully pulpit. Two Sundays ago in his weekly column, the Editor of the Post-Star defended his newspaper’s policy of publishing the names of teenagers ticketed for violating underage drinking laws. In blunt and patronizing language, the crusading editor took on a recent South Glens Falls High graduate who had dared to leave a comment on the Post-Star‘s Facebook page objecting to the policy:

Mr. Mumblo was probably playing video games and reading comics when we reported the death of 17-year-old Jason Daniels in Warrensburg on May 18, 2003, and four months later, the death of 19-year-old Adam Baker, also in Warrensburg.

The policy was best described in a harsh editorial that ran on June 12, 2011, nearly eight years into the campaign:

Underage drinkers get their names in the paper. We publish the names of all kids arrested for consuming alcohol. We hope the embarrassment factor helps serve as a deterrent to parents and their kids. Not only does the kid’s name go in the paper, it goes on our website. And the Internet is permanent. So whatever they get caught doing today will follow them the rest of their lives.

From this it is hard to tell if the editorial board is angrier at the kids or their parents. The editorial proceeds to insult the children it hopes to protect:

Kids fib… Kids are lightweights… Kids are reckless… Kids are terrible drivers.

The final line of the editorial—A dead child is gone forever—reveals that the true target of the editorial (and the policy for that matter) is the parents; the humiliation of the children is merely a baseball bat to the gut to get their parents to pay closer attention.

Some History
On June 15, 2003, as New York State prepared to drop the DWI blood alcohol content standard from .1 to .08 percent, and after a succession of fatal underage drunk driving accidents in the region surrounding Glens Falls, Ken Tingley wrote a column outlining the Post-Star‘s policy on reporting crimes:

Here is what are (sic) policies are now:

• We don’t use the name of the child under age 16 charged with any offense – even if it is a felony – but we include the age, sex and town of residence. One exception: We will publish the name of any minor who is being prosecuted as an adult.

• We don’t use the name of the child age 16, 17 and 18 if they are only charged with misdemeanors or violations, but we include their age, sex and town of residence.

• We do use the name of minors age 16, 17 and 18 if they are charged with felonies.

• We do use the name of anyone 19 or older charged with any offense if the crime is deemed newsworthy because of unusual or interesting circumstances.

• We’ve also left it up to the discretion of the editor to print the name of a minor if major crimes or unusual circumstances are involved.

The column concluded with hints of transition:

With the recent debate over underage drinking in our communities, we debated recently whether it might do some good to start listing the names of teens arrested for underage drinking. We currently do not print those names unless there is a felony charge.One of our editors suggested that we should print the name of all teens arrested, that the embarrassment of arrest might be an appropriate deterrent for a young person, that it might even bring a weightier meaning to some parents who don’t seem to take the issue that seriously.It is something we will probably be looking at in the future.

The future arrived less than five weeks later when the Post-Star published the names and ages of six minors from Corinth who were charged with “the noncriminal violation of possession of alcohol by someone under 21.” The policy has remained in effect ever since.

According to data compiled by New York State, in 2003 the number of underage drivers involved in alcohol-related accidents in Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties stood at 19. The number rose to 25 the following year and dropped to 17 in 2004. In both 2005 and 2006 the number of underage drunk drivers involved in accidents shot up to 42 and has been declining steadily toward the 2004 level since. 2010 is the latest year for which the state has compiled statistics.

In June 2008 after another cluster of alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving minors, the Post-Star ran an exasperated editorial under the headline “Message is not getting through.” It began:

We give up.

No one seems to be listening anyway.

Sanctimonious and preachy? Out of touch with reality? OK, we concede. You’re right. Underage drinking is a rite of passage. A tradition. We all did it as kids. There’s nothing that can be done to stop it. Kids are gonna do what kids are gonna do.So have it your way.

Naturally, the editorial does not give up and charges once more unto the breach to deliver the message. It ends with a poignant appeal to the reader not to let the newspaper abandon the crusade.

By this point, nearly five years along, the policy of outing teenagers charged with non-criminal alcohol violations —despite the absence of any evidence that it was doing any good— was so conflated with the broader cause of stopping underage DWI as to be inseparable. For all practical purposes, under guard of the sharp hyperbole of the Post-Star’s editorial position, unquestionable.

Next, Part 2: Questioning the Unquestionable


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Adirondack Hotel, Long Lake

Even if there weren’t a gift shop lined with books of local interest, the Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake would be a contender on our list of the “46 High Peaks” bars in the Adirondacks. The hotel, with its rough slab siding, gabled shingle roof and sprawling porches stands overlooking Long Lake, separated only by a two-lane road. The original hotel opened in 1879 as Kellogg’s Lake House, which was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and opened as the Adirondack Hotel in 1904. Surviving devastating fires and, most recently, the flood of 2011, the Adirondack Hotel still speaks of its original grandeur in a place where its history, and its people, endure.

Accosted by wildlife of impressive proportions, we were greeted by a six-foot-tall black bear on the left as we entered the hotel, and a moose head overseeing check-ins at the antique hotel reception desk. The bear was shot in Long Lake in 1978; the moose head hangs on the wall at what would be its actual height were the body still attached, its antlers just touching the ceiling. Victorian antiques accent the light and airy sitting and dining rooms. Simple, two-bulb pendant chandeliers suspended from white painted tin ceilings cast their light on several Adirondack paintings, including two portraits of Noah John Rondeau, famous hermit.

We stepped from the worn linoleum tiles to the aged hardwood floors of the Tap Room, tucked away in a far corner of the hotel, and were enveloped in the history of the bar at the Adirondack Hotel. Rustic and dim, the rough pine walls, polished bar, and rich, dark barstools presented contrast to the sunny lobby and dining areas. Peering from between three televisions, the taxidermied eyes of many animals looked on. Hoping we didn’t appear as glassy-eyed, we approached without caution as the bartender’s eyes locked ours. Warmly greeted by Colleen, we surveyed the options and ordered the 74th first drink of our quest. Offering a diverse microbrew selection which varies seasonally, the Adirondack Hotel’s signature drink is the modest but well appointed draft lineup: Switchback Vermont Ale, Lake Placid Brewery Ubu, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Harpoon IPA, Budweiser and Coors Light. Standard liquor and bottled beers are also available, at about average prices. Happy Hour is when you’re there, but no special pricing applies.

The Tap Room can seat approximately 30 people. A deck off the bar, overlooking the lake, has a variety of seating options for fair weather overflow. Although bar service is not offered outside, drinks are welcome on the deck and on the front porch. The front porch offers six rockers, four tables for two, two tables for four and two picnic tables on the grounds.

Colleen imparted the following facts pertinent to our research. The Adirondack Hotel is open year-round. The Tap Room closes for Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, but the hotel remains open. The Tap Room hours of operation are generally from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. with closing extending later as dictated by the season and the number of patrons. Entertainment is featured throughout the year in the form of open mic night and a variety of musical entertainers.

Carol and Carmine Inserra have owned the Adirondack Hotel for the past 21 years. We had an opportunity to meet Carol, a lovely and gracious woman with a relaxed and pleasant demeanor. She shared with us some of the hotel’s history, as well as the story of how it came into her and her husband’s possession, starting with a phone call on April Fools’ Day. Carmine handles most of the maintenance himself, but is rumored to take as much interest in the chicken and ribs barbecue he hosts every Wednesday and Saturday all summer long. The hotel offers 18 rooms, an apartment and a suite; some with private bath, and none with phone or television, though a television can be found on each floor in the common rooms. Cell service and open WiFi are available for those who want to stay connected.

The bar entertains locals all year and tourists in summer and winter, and lists Helen Keller, Jack Dempsey, Mick Jagger and Mickey Mantle among its famous visitors. According to the Adirondack Hotel’s website, “Before you leave, everyone will know your name.” We had the opportunity to meet two locals. We don’t know if they caught our names, but Mike and Bill highly recommend the Tap Room at the Adirondack Hotel. So do we.

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, March 28, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Inn at Speculator

Oak Mountain for sale! That’s one of many things we learned from Patrick, the bartender at the Inn at Speculator. An enthusiastic purveyor of information about the Inn at Speculator and the community in general, he could easily be mistaken as owner.

Conversations and gossip, both political and personal in nature, volleyed around the room as we spoke with Patrick. In response to our “nearby attractions” question, we were surprised when he mentioned skiing. That led into the story about the Town of Speculator temporarily taking on the foreclosed ski area at Oak Mountain. The owners of the Inn at Speculator for the past 30 or so years, Neil and Linda McGovern, proudly sponsor community events and host fundraisers throughout the year, including Friends of Oak Mountain benefits, an ice fishing tournament in February, fish and game club events, and the local snowmobile club.

In keeping with a building from the mid 1900s, several rooms adjoin the bar area, adding more dining space away from the bar. A glass case in the front room displays gourmet dressings made there and books for sale on the history of the Inn. It appears to have once been a place to pay your tab on the way out, to get change for games or the jukebox, and may once have offered candy or souvenirs for sale. The décor is fairly nondescript, with well-worn hardwood floors, pine-paneled walls covered with photos, certificates, memorabilia, and lingering St. Patrick’s Day trimmings.

Although no children were on hand that day, there was an atmosphere of family entertainment in the past. The Inn at Speculator now entertains the adults with a pool table, foosball, electronic darts, Quick Draw, and an occasional solo musician or DJ. For the sports fan, there are three TVs in the bar area for keeping up with your favorite sport. Football, Nascar and March Madness basketball pools may help get the staff and patrons through the long winter months.

Liquor basics, a handful of draft beers, and 18-20 mostly domestic bottles provide adequate thirst-quenching options. Seasonal drinks of coffee varieties in winter and refreshing coolers in the summer are subject to the creativity of the bartender. Happy Hour includes $2.00 domestic drafts, Monday through Friday, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Open daily at 11:30 a.m., except Wednesdays, the pub room serves lunch and pub fare until the main dining area opens at 5:00 p.m. The inn is open year-round, but does occasionally close for a week in November and/or in April. Three rooms are available for lodging with special rate packages varying throughout the year. Dinner specials include the Friday Fish Fry, Prime Rib Saturdays, and a beef and burgundy buffet in the summer months.

The bar at the Inn at Speculator is patronized by locals, seasonal residents and tourists just passing through. Everyone seemed accepting of one another, whether known in the area or not. If you’re looking for a quaint, overpriced Adirondack country inn filled with antiques, bark furniture and faded sepia photographs, keep looking. Instead, you will discover a roadside rest more representative of today’s resident, the very essence of true Adirondackers, who struggle to make a living in an area that relies so heavily on tourism.

Here, icons of a playground for the affluent are replaced with countless images of friends and neighbors doing the things they enjoy like fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, skiing and participating in their customary events, in a town they love and care about. Sit at the bar with the locals as they debate park politics and banter about the everyday. And listen. Learn something, if only what it’s like to live here. Add the Inn to your list of “must visit” venues to get a real Adirondack experience and, if you’re in the market to buy a ski area, go see Patrick at the bar.

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, March 21, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Market Place Steakhouse, Bolton Landing

Now here’s a place with curb appeal. Driving through Bolton Landing, we nearly ignored the Market Place Steakhouse & More until we spotted the words Sports Bar etched on the bottom of one of the windows. Stained cedar shake siding, varied rooflines, and simple, understated signage create an inviting façade. The street-front deck is small with turned posts and balusters, finished in rich browns. Double doors to the dining room, in pristine condition, indicate that the premises are well maintained.

First impressions enticed us to see more and music playing from outdoor speakers beckoned us in. Stealing a brief glance at the dining room features, we headed straight for the bar.

We continued to drink in the decor while Tami prepared our drinks. Floors of oversized tile in the main bar area, a small green enamel gas stove walled in a far corner with a river stone backdrop, and a copper sidebar on the partition wall, ready to seat eight in backless black and blonde stools, all add to the interior appeal. A small sunny alcove houses four pub tables with seating for 16. Known as the rock and roll room, an impressive collection of autographed guitars and posters is displayed on the walls.

In keeping with the Sports Bar designation, TVs are placed throughout the establishment, the majority located in the bar area. Tami informed us that there were, in fact, 14 in all, including the outdoor dining area in fair weather months. And yet, it wasn’t overdone. The pub area was tastefully finished with a variety of sports memorabilia, again in perfect moderation.

The Market Place Steakhouse was originally an A&P supermarket and was known more recently as Michael Arthur’s Steakhouse. Steve McCranels and Amy Ullrich opened the current version in July of 2011. Open every day in the summer, The Market Place is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday in the off season. The sports bar is open at 4 p.m. and the restaurant opens at 5 p.m. Happy Hour is daily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with $1 baby (7 oz.) beers and $2 beer or well drinks. Closing times vary, but around 11 p.m. is fairly standard. Three-course dinner specials make the Market Place a popular dining venue, but Open Mic Night on Monday nights and live musical entertainment on Saturday nights fill in where sports leave off.

On street parking is easily available in the winter months, but harder to find in the summer. A small parking area behind the Market Place offers limited parking, with an entrance to the bar from the back. Bolton Landing has several public parking areas as well.

The Market Place was not our intended destination. We had heard of a new bar in Bolton Landing and were looking for it when we found the Market Place. Perfectly content to stay put, we found the service was as pleasing as the décor. Tami was pleasant, attentive and professional. Once engaged in conversation, she kept one eye on the other patrons, while she imparted information to us. At her suggestion, we couldn’t resist sharing their signature drink, a Pear Martini, made with pear vodka and elderberry liqueur.

The Market Place is the perfect place for a break from the beach, or as a rest for wanderers. Family-friendly, food and drink prices are reasonable. The ambiance is free.

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, March 14, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Oxbow Inn, Piseco

We aren’t snowmobilers. But, if we were, the Oxbow Inn in Piseco could easily be the designated last stop on the trail. They are open the latest, have great drink prices, and plenty of dinner and appetizer choices. Burgers are a notoriously popular choice. Mostly, though, they seem to be the hardest place to leave.

Like so many of the roadhouses tucked away in the Adirondacks, the Oxbow Inn is genuine and unapologetic, the interior pieced together with no particular theme in mind, spanning decades of decorative tastes. The veneer-topped bar is built on a glass block base, the floor is linoleum tile, and the walls are pine. A variety of memorabilia, humorous signs and beer advertising fill the walls and area behind the bar. A hand-painted saw blade depicts the old country inn in its serene lakeside setting. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Melody Lodge, Speculator

A spectacular 45 degree day and less than an hour from Warrensburg, our drive over Route 8, its bumps, heaves and moguls making a challenging run for the Highlander, led us to Melody Lodge, located on Page Hill off Route 30 in Speculator. As we pulled into the parking lot of the lodge, it was difficult to decide what to look at first: the incredible hilltop views, or the rustic grandeur of an authentic Adirondack lodge. We decided to take our time and do both.

From the upper parking lot we observed another lower lot, snow-covered and partially filled with roughly a dozen snowmobiles, indicating easy access from the surrounding lakes. Beyond, a leafless view of Lake Pleasant. Looking to the right from there, a mountain stands firm. Further right, a view of Sacandaga Lake is visible in the distance. The barn red Melody Lodge, a rustic, two-story structure wrapped in a porch of stone columns, stands as the centerpiece in this picturesque frame. The columns of seemingly haphazard piles of stone authenticate the craftsmanship of earlier days. Piles of wood on the porch, growing thinner as winter wanes, promise warmth within. Several outdoor tables, partially covered in snow on the front lawn and white Adirondack chairs on the porch, remind us that spring and summer will come again and offer very different scenic views.

The promised warmth greets us as we enter the lobby, a cozy common room with several people gathered comfortably in front of the fireplace. To the left, partitioned by paneled glass walls and doors, is the dining room, expectantly awaiting the dinner bell. Another fireplace, of massive proportions in stone, is the focal point of the dining room. To our right, we are beckoned to another room where noises and voices indicate the possibility of a pub.

As we enter what Melody Lodge calls the Tap Room, a ten-point buck’s head on the wall and multi-level seating command our attention but are held at bay. The ceiling full of white earthenware mugs looms overhead, covering nearly the entire ceiling over the bar. With over 250 members in Melody Lodge’s Mug Club, no new members are being accepted at this time, conjuring up scenarios of Melody Lodge Mug Club mugs being bequeathed to next-of-kin upon a member’s death, bitterly fought over in a divorce settlement, or bringing in thousands of dollars at auction on EBay or Sotheby’s.

Though primarily a summer venue, Melody Lodge seems to do quite well in winter months. Twenty or so snowmobilers, savoring a rare weekend after a fresh snowfall, gathered in boisterous groups, eager to grab lunch and a drink before moving on to the next stop. A Tap Room menu is available for dining all day. The dinner menu is available in the bar after 5:00 p.m. when the dining room opens. Melody Lodge closes each year for the months of April and November. In light of this fact, the usually plentiful tap selections were sparse, in preparation for the semi-annual closing. The Tap Room and restaurant are open from 11:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday in winter; Wednesday through Monday in summer.

We had an opportunity to interview the owner, Julie, from whom we learned that Melody Lodge was originally built in 1912 as a singing school for girls. It was converted to a lodge along the way, and purchased by Julie’s parents in 1976. Julie and her husband, Kyle, took over the operation in 2006. The Lodge offers seven guest rooms, each uniquely named for a musical instrument, promising private baths for today’s standards. The constant smile on Julie’s face and her open friendliness as she imparted facts and history indicated pride and enjoyment in Melody Lodge.

The Melody Lodge is more a visitor’s venue than a hangout for locals, though the exchange of greetings between Pam the bartender and the coming and going customers made it clear that many patrons stop in regularly. The ample bar seats ten, with pub and dining tables in the immediate vicinity. A lower level features several varieties of table seating while a regulation shuffleboard table consumes one whole wall on the lower level. A curious square game board, scuffed and worn with obvious decades of enjoyment, hangs on the wall. Called ring toss, the objective is to get the ring, suspended from the ceiling with a length of string, onto a hook in the center of the game board. We couldn’t resist trying it out, though it was more difficult than it looked and we didn’t have time to keep practicing. Appreciating any novel amusement, Pam now plans to add ring toss to her home pub.

There are some venues that warrant a visit for no other reason than to see them for yourself, though we don’t usually know it until we do just that. Melody Lodge is just such a place, inviting and warm, without pretense, and well worth visiting.

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, February 29, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: East Cove, Lake George

Either this is just getting too easy, or the East Cove in Lake George is a great place to go on a Tuesday afternoon in February. You know what? The East Cove is a great place to go on a Tuesday afternoon in February! Pam had been away for two consecutive weekends, creating absences in our tavern attendance. Our Adirondack Almanack deadline looming, Pam skipped out of work ten minutes early so that we could meet at East Cove, review the bar, and still have time to write our review for the Almanack by Wednesday afternoon.

Driving along Beach Road, Kim noted the setting late afternoon sun as it cast its golden glow on distant mountain peaks surrounding Lake George. Low shadows crept across the water’s edge, rendering the choppy waves a deep Prussian blue. Pam was waiting in the East Cove parking lot, observing the signs related to Early Bird specials and Happy Hour. Happy Hour offers 1/2 priced drinks from 4:30 until 6:00 p.m. Dinner isn’t served until 5:00 p.m., but you can get into the bar at 4:30. Something not found in too many other establishments, the East Cove offers a late-night Happy Hour Sunday through Thursday from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m. Open every day during the summer season, the East Cove is closed on Mondays during the off-season.

Only moments after we arrived, Pam was already getting reacquainted with old friends, formerly of her Garrison days. We chatted easily with the handful of affable patrons as owner Pete Smith organized menus on the bar, occasionally peering over his glasses to answer questions and offer comments. Kim ventured to the end of the bar where she could examine the half-dozen taps, finding three local brews from the Adirondack Pub and Brewery, Blue Moon, Yuengling and Sam Adams seasonal. A very well-stocked bar offers a liquor selection which includes numerous flavored rums and vodkas. The wine list is extensive as well. Pam, not sure what she wanted, asked bartender Shannon if the East Cove features any unique drinks. Though the white chocolate espresso martini is the signature drink at East Cove, Shannon suggested a tangerine cosmo and Pam quickly acquiesced: Finlandia tangerine vodka, Cointreau and cranberry juice, served in a martini glass and garnished with an orange slice.

Shannon led Kim on the grand tour, the two pausing for reference photos in the adjacent sitting room and private upper dining room. The East Cove’s rustic interior of log cabin walls, with its fishing and nautical theme, is alluring and cozy. Scenic and historic postcards, lithographs and watercolor prints by Loren Blackburn showcase a pictorial history of Lake George Village. Framed photographs offer a glimpse into more than a century of Lake George’s past, including a photo of the Colonel’s Table, the East Cove’s former identity, the facade little changed since it was built in 1947. A shelf in the corner of the dining room holds a display of local pottery. Overhead, a ship’s wheel chandelier hangs suspended from richly-stained log beams, casting soft light on the dining tables below. Sunlight pours in through the large window in the bar area. The L-shaped bar is punctuated with ten aged and unusual barstools, their wooden backs shaped like curly brackets. An adjoining room houses soft brown stuffed sofa and chairs facing a TV for the East Cove’s Sunday football and NASCAR fans, and another dining room is located upstairs.

Next thing we knew, George suggested a shot, and Pam launched into inventing the “drink of the day”. They settled on Stoli apple, Cointreau and cranberry juice, and dubbed it the East Cove Slammer. Invigorated with nostalgia, Pam suggested a game of Liar’s Poker and lined Kim up with a “coach” to help her in understanding the nuances of lying. Poker-face Pam ended up winning, but Kim is better educated now. And poorer.

Owned for the past 43 years by Pete and Debbie Smith, the East Cove has changed very little since the late ’70s, when we would stop in for breakfast at 4 a.m., but has obviously been very well maintained. Dinner is the main attraction here, luring local and seasonal residents and visitors. Early eaters can enjoy special pricing ($11.99 to $14.99 including soup and salad) from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. The East Cove also caters and hosts banquets with a number of menu plans. The dinner menu, moderately-priced for the area, is most noted for its seafood and includes steaks, chicken and pasta dishes, a vast selection of desserts, and a kids’ menu.

The East Cove is another of the pleasant surprises we’ve discovered nearly in our own back yard. Patrons are welcoming and sociable, and Shannon’s easy-going, warm personality and sense of humor undoubtedly contribute to the comfortable atmosphere. When she asked if we were looking for help, as people often do, we were tempted to take her aboard. The pay is lousy, but the benefits are well worth the effort. And places like the East Cove really do make work easy for us.

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, February 22, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: King Neptune’s, Lake George

With three bars of varying capacity contained in one building, the potential at King Neptune’s Pub and Nightclub was not best conveyed on this Saturday evening in February. Though our visit was during Winter Carnival in Lake George, given the winter conditions of 2012, it was not a typical Winter Carnival for any establishments in the village.

Neptune’s is generally closed all winter (December through March), but open for New Year’s Day and for four weeks during Winter Carnival. They have live music every Friday and Saturday whenever they are open, and this Saturday was no exception. They were readying the main bar for that night’s performance.

The middle bar, empty except for a lone musician hauling equipment in for the evening’s entertainment, is rather massive by general standards. The bar is situated in the center of the room, ready to accommodate a very large crowd. The glossy wood floor, polished slab bar, and pine walls lend a warm appeal to the large, open room. The few tables on the fringes of the room suggest the space is best left for standing and dancing while listening to the band. Its size is perhaps misleading, knowing all too well the potential of summer crowds to stuff the seemingly cavernous space and Neptune’s reputation for attracting those throngs with popular performers and an impressive lineup of over two dozen beers on tap.

Step down a few steps to the small, intimate pub nearly at the edge of the lake. The lower bar was open and a few early patrons were enjoying the warmth of the woodstove from the bar. With large windows throughout, the view would be exceptional in daylight at one of the tables along those windows. Outdoor seating off this lower bar overlooks the boardwalk and the lake, promising a great seat for people watching, sunning or enjoying the lake and mountain views. (You do have to use your imagination in Lake George in mid-February.) More outdoor seating on the main level takes you away from passersby, but boasts equally good views of the scenery.

The Crow’s Nest, a smaller bar on the upper level, is the third bar on site and features a rooftop deck. It is not open in the winter.

Like many who have spent years behind the bar, Mike, our acerbic bartender this evening, was at first somewhat brusque. As we explained our mission and began to probe his expertise, he became more forthcoming and informative.

Owned by Jim Quirk, King Neptune’s has been in business in Lake George for more than 40 years. They are open from 11 a.m. until midnight in the winter and until 2:30 a.m. on weekends in the summer. Happy Hour is from 4 to 6 p.m. daily. A lunch menu is available at Neptune’s with main dining at the Shoreline, its sister restaurant next door. The Shoreline features cruises with a band from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m.

We watched the Winter Carnival fireworks display from outside the bar as we prepared to leave. Though visible indoors at the bar, Pam preferred to capture the sound effects as well as the visual, while Kim couldn’t resist another failed attempt at hand-held photography of the display. The bitter lake wind, freezing our fingers and bringing tears to our eyes, soon drove us to the car. Perhaps both a lakeside evening of fireworks and a night at Neptune’s would be better enjoyed when it isn’t so chilly.

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, February 15, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: TR’s Restaurant, Lake George

Lake George Village tends to zip itself up from Labor Day to Memorial Day, then shed a layer or two in February for the Lake George Winter Carnival. In its 51st year, the Winter Carnival has had to adjust to this season’s shortage of snow and ice with re-locations and cancellations of events. Still, people braved the bitter wind on this crisp winter day, attending the many events still on the schedule. We also found them in the pub at TR’s Restaurant.

We had been referred to TR’s (Teddy Roosevelt’s) Restaurant at the Holiday Inn-Turf in Lake George several times. Devoted explorers that we are, off we went to get a better look. Located at the southerly end of the village, TR’s is on one of the highest spots in Lake George and affords a bird’s-eye view overlooking the lake.

Home to local regulars who gather to catch up with family news and prognosticate about town politics, there exists a camaraderie among fellow residents who freely flow throughout the room or talk across the bar. Bartenders Agnes and Bob greet the vast majority of customers by name.

Newcomers and hotel guests are made to feel equally at home and are frequently introduced to the regular patrons, with whom they always seem to find something in common. Representing all age groups, the majority of the clientele we met were of retirement age or older. We found the place quite full of cheerful, friendly folks who chatted easily and wasted no time finding out where we were from and what we were up to.

General Manager Michael Spilman took a few moments away from his banter with members of the Happy Hour crowd to share some of the history of the hotel and TR’s Restaurant. Though there has been a bar at the Holiday Inn since it was built in 1966, we had to admit that we had never been there. The Holiday Inn has changed hands only once since then, in 1990, and is now owned by Mike Hoffman. Three years ago, the hotel and bar were extensively renovated and remodeled and now boast, and equally deserve, resort status. With obvious pride in the establishment’s success, Michael shared information about honors and awards bestowed on this Holiday Inn, which consistently ranks among the top Holiday Inns in the country. It’s also home to the Lake George Dinner Theatre, entering its 45th season.

The pub is contemporary and sophisticated in design, neither too stark nor too trendy, with warm-toned woodwork and window moldings. A wall of windows brightens the room, bringing out the warm reddish hues of the wood and granite. Framed landscape photographs grace the linen-textured walls while oversized layered drum pendant lamps float overhead, complemented by smaller drum shades over the lustrous granite bar.

The U-shaped bar seats 18 in cider-stained slat-back bar stools with woven leather seats, while four pub tables and several small dining tables provide additional seating. The atmosphere is such that, were we Holiday Inn guests, we wouldn’t hesitate to bring our families in for lunch or dinner, or enjoy a cocktail and appetizers before dinner in the restaurant.

TR’s is open year-round from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily and offer Happy Hour drink specials from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day. Following a 12-year Happy Hour tradition, complementary hot hors d’oeuvres are provided, with a different item featured every day of the week. Many patrons were enjoying chicken strips with a delicious-looking sauce on the Saturday that we visited. Tacos were served on the Tuesday we returned for more information. Large flat-screen TVs are strategically placed to catch up on the news or a sporting event while dining or relaxing at the bar. Quick Draw is also featured. Just ask for the daily code if you need WiFi, whether a guest at the hotel or just stopping by the bar.

The wine selection includes red, white, sparkling and champagne, with house wines priced at $7 a glass. Coors and Samuel Adams seasonal drafts and 16 bottled beers, as well as the usual liquors are offered. Drink prices were reasonable. Pam’s custom Valentine’s Special, Box of Chocolates, (her own invention) consisting of three different shots, was $8. Beer prices vary by brand.

With an upscale look and a hometown heart, TR’s is a perfect mix of locals and hotel guests. The trick is telling which is which. The bartenders are genial, personable and professional. The patrons are equally friendly and won’t hesitate to start or join a conversation. Happy Hour at TR’s is full of smiles, from both sides of the bar.

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, February 8, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Lemon Peel, Lake George

We were pressed for time, forced to conduct our business locally, so we took a short drive to Lake George on a Monday night. Not expecting much excitement, we opted for a bar out of the tourist loop, figuring that it would be a fair representation of a typical weeknight in a deserted resort town.

For local flavor in Lake George, one need step back just one street from Canada Street to the Lemon Peel Lounge, located on Dieskau Street. Though there was no crowd to escape on a Monday night in February, we could sense the appeal of both the bar interior and the outdoor deck area for locals and tourists.

Jen, the bartender, was ready to prepare whatever drink we desired, and Pam found something new with a caramel vodka and Coke. Though beer is currently unavailable on tap due to basement flooding courtesy of Hurricane Irene, Kim found the selection of bottled beers sufficient. A modest variety of wine is offered, and drink prices are very reasonable at any time of year; even better during Happy Hour, daily from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Owned and operated by John and Terri Case since the late ‘80s, the Lemon Peel was originally located on Canada Street where Smokey Joe’s Barbecue is now. John and Terri moved to the present location six years ago. Once part of the historic Woodbine Hotel, the lounge occupies an old Victorian with a square tower, shingled Mansard roof, and round-top windows. Various sheds and additions have been added through the years, pieced together like an architectural crazy quilt.

The interior is just as interesting. Our seats at the bar gave us an opportunity to observe the intricate craftsmanship of the ornately carved wooden liquor shelf, obviously original to the first bar established at that location, and the centerpiece of the room. One stained glass panel depicts an urn with vines and flowers. The ceiling above the bar is inset with colorful glass bottle bottoms, backlit from above. The bar seats about 12 patrons and features new black leather-cushioned barstools.

A pool table, protected from bystanders by half-walls, is used by the Lemon Peel pool league during winter months. Two tables are available behind the pool table for players, observers, or perhaps anti-socialites. Jukebox music and electronic darts and two TVs offer additional entertainment. Our proximity to a television also engaged our attention to Jeopardy, unable to resist participation with staff and patrons. A cigarette machine is on site, a relic from the past and a very rare sight, but still functional.

The deck in front and on the side, though put away for winter, has table seating, some with shade umbrellas and some for sun worship and retreat from the summer hordes and noise of Canada Street. A tent canopy is erected each summer for protection on rainy days. The Lemon Peel does not have musical entertainment, but performances emanating from another nearby bar frequently filter over, providing relaxing ambient music while allowing conversation.

This is a cash only bar, but ATMs are available nearby. The only food you will find here are a variety of chips and a frozen pizza that comes highly recommended by Jason, one of the patrons that night.

The Lemon Peel is open daily from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. or midnight off-season and until 3 a.m. during the summer. Barring any unforeseen catastrophe, it’s open 365 days a year with no blackout dates. Free WiFi is fully accessible. On-street metered parking is free and plentiful off-season, but expect to pay and to walk during busy summer months.

This is a year-round bar that caters to locals and seasonal workers, but welcomes all. Jen was attentive and forthcoming with information about the Lemon Peel and what she knew of its history, the Lake George area and other taverns in the area. For a good, old-fashioned bar experience, the Lemon Peel is a must.

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, February 1, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Captain Cook’s, Saranac Lake

It could have been November (or early spring) for all we knew. Dead grass lay matted in pale straw hues awaiting a blanket of snow. The calendar indicated late January, but nearly 40 degree temperatures and an almost complete lack of snow said otherwise.

A little late with her instructions, Pam’s GPS rerouted us down Limekiln Road on a “shortcut” back to Route 73. Not one to turn around (or ever ask for directions), Pam took us four-wheeling down a dirt road that would have been impassible under normal winter conditions. Ice sculptures clung like blobs of celeste blue glass to rock ledges along 73 while hikers and climbers wandered to their patiently waiting cars as dusk approached.

Finally arriving in Saranac Lake, noticing the half-constructed ice castle, we made our way to Captain Cook’s. It looked pretty dead from the outside as Kim stood across the street covertly snapping a few pics of the exterior. We were unprepared for the large crowd as we entered Captain Cook’s Bar and Grill on that Saturday afternoon. Surprise must have registered on our faces as we were raucously greeted at the door who by a man who informed us it was Ladies’ Night – no cover! Having broken the ice, we found a seat in a far corner of the bar where we could observe and take notes. With one bartender serving the 30 or more patrons, we knew we would have to be patient in getting information from her. Staci readily took our drink orders and answered our questions as opportunity permitted.

Though not easily discernible in the dimmer light, the top of the P-shaped bar is an inlaid topographical map. High pine ceilings and walls accent the rustic birch slab shelves. An old canoe hanging on a far wall rounds out the Adirondack appeal. Several flags are tacked to the ceiling and a large bright yellow model seaplane floats over the bar. Three flat-screen TVs are scattered about. We were a little confused by the San Francisco 49ers pennants behind the bar until Pat’s comment about Captain Cook’s being proud Giants supporters was intercepted by a companion who set the record straight.

Wanting to mix with the locals, Kim approached a group to ask questions. Eyeing her notebook suspiciously at first, they quickly warmed up once the purpose of our visit was established. We spoke at length with a woman named Pat who was willing and eager to share insights about Captain Cook’s, the local bars, and the community in general. Though not a standard question from our repertoire, our foremost curiousity was whether this was a typical crowd for a Saturday afternoon in January. Turns out that it is. Captain Cook’s is the headquarters for the Saranac Lake IPW – the Ice Palace Workers. That explained both the diversity of the patrons and the community spirit that pervaded the barroom. They had finished working on the ice palace for the day and seemed to be reveling in their accomplishments, undaunted perhaps by the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival deadline looming just one short week away. We had an opportunity to speak with several IPW members and learned that most of them have been members for years, are about 30 percent women, and are somewhat disappointed by the lack of new, younger recruits. We even managed to convince a few of the volunteers to pose for a photo.

Capt. Cook’s has been owned by Scott Cook for the past four years. In the summer it is headquarters for the local rugby team. It certainly had the feel of being a community place to meet, but welcoming to strangers as well. Though the bar can seat 14 to 16 people, the room easily accommodated the current gathering. A rustic table near the front window was empty, perhaps just a little too far away from the action. Captain Cook’s features Happy Hour drink specials Monday through Friday, but the Saturday prices were very reasonable. They are open year round, seven days a week from noon until 3 a.m. Chicken wings are the specialty here and, as observed from our station at the bar, take-out seems to be very popular. The standard pool table and electronic darts remained dormant this day. An ATM machine is on site and Quick Draw is available too. Additional seating is available upstairs and on an outside patio tucked away from the street. Musical entertainment is featured during Winter Carnival. A small public parking area is adjacent to the bar and on-street parking is just up the road and across the street.

The menu at Captain Cook’s features sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and several flavors of wings (including peanut butter). Eight draft beers include Davidson Brothers “Captain Cook’s IPA”, Long Trail, Blue Light, and a Samuel Adams seasonal. Assorted flavored vodkas and Jagermeister suggest the bartenders may possess some creativity.

If you’re planning to be in Saranac Lake for the Winter Carnival, or any time at all, Captain Cook’s is a great place to warm up, have a drink and grab something to eat. Visit their website and Facebook page for up-to-date drink specials and events. The atmosphere is friendly and festive and the people are some of the nicest we’ve met.

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, January 25, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: O.P. Frederick’s, Chestertown

Yet another gem was unearthed while mining the Adirondacks for the 46 best bars and taverns. Located at the backwater of Loon Lake near the intersection of routes 8 and 9 in Chestertown, O.P. Frederick’s Restaurant and Tavern is a year-round destination highly worthy of a visit. Much of their clientele are seasonal residents of Loon Lake, snowmobilers, and skiers from Gore Mountain, but many locals enjoy the tavern in the off-peak seasons as well.

Noting the (working) phone booth as we entered the tavern on a wintry Saturday afternoon, we were greeted by the warmth of the ancient and ornate parlor stove in the corner. Though the portly cast iron stove was grand in scale, the heat was significant yet never overwhelming. The lighting and the music that played in the background were equally subtle.

Preliminary digging at O.P. Frederick’s website promised an assortment of martinis and Pam already knew she was going to try the apple, ordering immediately as Kim reviewed the beer menu. Barely able to contain her anticipation, Pam pondered whether her martini would be a green apple martini or a sweet, apple-pie-like martini. As expected, it was sour green apple in a Jolly Rancher flavor and color. She launched into the verbal design of an apple pie martini as she sipped.

Kim, equally enthused with the beer selection, decided on Brooklyn Brewery’s black chocolate stout, a Russian imperial stout, rich, dark and aromatic, revealing new and subtle flavors with each swig. In addition, Lake Placid Ubu Ale and LaBatt Blue are always available on tap, along with a rotating pair of regional beers – two Magic Hat seasonals at the moment – and Blue Moon. Among the 15 bottled beers listed, Kim discovered Franziskaner Weissbier, assorted domestics, and Beck’s dark. Though not the motherlode, the beer choices are appealing and well selected. Drink prices are a little on the high end for the area, and O.P. Frederick’s does not have a Happy Hour.

We introduced ourselves to the friendly and easygoing bartender, Leana, and soon launched into a barrage of fact-finding questions. Leana has been at O.P. Frederick’s for eight years. We soon discovered that our paths had crossed years before at the former Colonial Arms in Warrensburg. We briefly reminisced about mutual acquaintances from those early days in our drinking careers as Leana tended to other patrons and the wait staff.

Though the tavern at O.P. Frederick’s has an official capacity of 40 persons, the bar itself seats eight. Three pub tables along the wall can accommodate nine more and a wall bar toward the back has seating for four. Two TVs are strategically located for watching whatever big game may be on. A modest deck out back offers picnic table seating in warmer months, overlooking the backwater edge of Loon Lake. Plaid tablecloths adorn the dining tables, with matching valances on the windows. A pair of snowshoes, mounted fish and game trophies and wildlife prints grace the pine walls, but we were more captivated by old black-and-white photographs and the nostalgic 1950’s era framed Winchester Rifle posters depicting a winter scene with a rabbit and another of a deer in flight.

O.P. Frederick’s is a restaurant and tavern and also offers accommodations at the adjacent Alp Horn Motel featuring five units. The complex has been owned by Robert and Vivian Frederick for the past 20 years, but the location has plenty of history as the Loon Lake Colony before that. We had an opportunity to meet Bob Frederick (wearing cargo shorts on this January day) during our visit and found him to be a very gracious host, proud of his establishment and eager to share history and memorabilia.

The dinner menu includes appetizers (smoked trout and duck burritos among them) from $5.99 to $9.95. Entrees from seafood and steaks to sandwiches and pasta range from $6.95 for a basic burger to $24.95 for surf and turf. Dinner and drink specials such as early bird and $5.00 burgers are featured throughout the week, and coupons can be retrieved and printed from their website. Show your Gore Mountain ski pass and get 10% off your meal. The tavern and restaurant open at 4 p.m. with dinner served until 9 p.m.

The bar closes between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. depending on the season. O.P. Frederick’s is closed on Mondays all year. They are known to close for a few weeks or the whole month of December and again in April.

O.P. Frederick’s is a warm, congenial place with affable and welcoming patrons. Whether prospecting for food, drink, or both, you’ll find a vein of hometown friendliness, good food and a variety of liquid refreshment.

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, January 18, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Deer’s Head Inn, Elizabethtown

The Deer’s Head Inn, according to the sign in front, was established in 1806, though its current location is not the original. Fire, reconstruction, relocation and renaming have all taken place in the past two hundred years.

What remains is a charming inn, owned by JoAnne and Matthew Baldwin since 2006, bursting with history. We entered through the front door, into the intimate tavern, and were at once greeted with a sense of comfort, familiarity and warmth. We took a seat at the tiny bar, tucked neatly into a snug little nook in the back of the small room.

Our initial impression on entering the pub area of the Deer’s Head Inn was that it was more a destination than a neighborhood restaurant, and it may well be, but the patrons all seemed to know one another, exchanging greetings and news as they came and went. The courthouse and municipal building across the street may be the main attraction luring visitors (willing or not) into E’Town. The Adirondack Northway routed travelers away long ago and the GPS has since taken most of those who may have inadvertently meandered through. Maps are simply lines in a cold, two-dimensional space. The GPS does its job, efficiently calculating time and distance; but it is the populace that gives a mere pinpoint its third dimension. People fill a space and give it history, personality, warmth and life. Does your GPS know that two presidents stayed here, as did John Brown’s widow? Will it show you their signatures in the inn’s guest registers? Locate Ben Stetson’s Prohibition stash?

Though a sign over the bar boasts “Martini Lounge”, Cosmopolitans are a house specialty at the Deer’s Head as the array of more than a dozen flavored vodkas attests. Pam decided on a Maple Manhattan, with Maker’s Mark whisky and local maple syrup. The beer lineup contains a few interesting choices including St. Pauli Girl, Amstel Light, Newcastle Brown Ale, Lake Placid Ubu Ale, Stella Artois, Kaliber (non alcohol from Guinness), and Wild Blue (a blueberry lager produced by Anheuser-Busch) and several domestic brands. Two regional craft brews (currently Magic Hat Howl and VT Switchback) are always available on tap.

The Deer’s Head Inn is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and serves lunch until 2:30; dinner from 5 p.m. until 8 or 9 p.m. Hours vary so be sure to check times on their website. They offer an extensive wine list, with prices by the glass from $5.00 to $8.00 or they can be purchased by the bottle.

The Inn consists of three dining rooms, each with its own characteristics, and although the bar only seats six, there seemed to be ample room for standing. The bar top has old postcards of Elizabethtown attractions safely held in time under layers of “glaze”. From the bar, an old oak phone booth, with original Bell Telephone insignia and beveled glass, can be seen in the hallway. Our bartender, Joyce, laughingly advised that the booth is reserved as her “office”.

Though perhaps more often a service bar for the restaurant, the pub at Deer’s Head Inn is an intimate place for quiet conversation, reflecting on the past, or escaping the crowds of Lake Placid. Joyce seems to enjoy having company at the bar, adding interest beyond serving drinks to diners she might never see. You’ll be welcome whether just stopping in for a drink or whetting your appetite before a good meal. Next time you’re heading to Lake Placid, be sure to set your GPS “via” point to Elizabethtown along the way.

The sun’s daytime shift had already ended when we arrived, so we were not able to photograph the Deer’s Head Inn’s exterior. Not wanting to intrude on the privacy of the patrons in the busy tavern, we abstained inside as well. Photos were obtained at the Deer’s Head Inn’s website.

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, January 11, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Cobble Hill Inn, Elizabethtown

It was good to be back on the road after the holidays, off to visit the Cobble Hill Inn in Elizabethtown. A sunny, mild afternoon, by January standards, and a picturesque drive along the way, brought us to Elizabethtown. The lack of snow cover painted a drab landscape in need of a whitewash, but mountains stood in the distance, their faces blushing pink in the setting sun in colorful contrast to the tired old houses and naked trees.

Cashin’s Cobble Hill Inn was easy to find as we headed north on Route 9 in Elizabethtown. Plenty of parking suggested they might host some parties throughout the year. We discovered soon that, yes, they do have parties, pig roasts and musical entertainment in the large yard in back during the milder seasons. A long deck along the side of the building held chairs, benches, a table and probably even more seating in the summer. A large awning, though closed up for the winter, provides shelter from rain and sun when venturing outside.

The bar was fairly full but we found a few seats at the end, optimal for observation. The first few minutes of entry into an unfamiliar bar require a lot of processing, especially when the bartender is quick and attentive.

We surveyed the large chalkboard drink menu hanging over the bar, listing liquors, beers and pricing. It was a unique display itemizing various liquor types and brands, with “call” liquors at $3.00 “all day every day”, brands up to $7.00 for single shots and boasting, “All prices include mixers”. Since many of Pam’s specialty drinks include multiple shots, she opted for a simple Captain Morgan and Coke at a modest $4.00.

Though drink prices hint that every hour is Happy Hour, the Cobble Hill Inn offers Happy Hour drink specials every day from 5 to 7 p.m. With 12 draft choices from commercial domestics to regional craft brews, and an emphasis on clean draft lines, the “signature” drinks at Cobble Hill Inn are on tap and range from $2.50 to $7.00.

While we sipped our beverages we observed the atmosphere, both visual and audial. The NY Giants curtains adorning all windows in cafe style, along with NY Yankees memorabilia throughout, suggested that the owners and patrons supported these NY teams. Trophies and photos highlight the accomplishments of the inn’s Monday night dart league. Photographs along the upper walls indicated years of community team support as well. Mixed in here and there, Irish memorabilia completed the picture of the Cashin family passions.

A sign by the door offering “Ride Home $5.00” on Fridays and Saturdays conveyed a responsibility and a sense that the Cobble Hill Inn might be the place to go in Elizabethtown on the weekend. Most of the patrons appeared to know one another – hellos and goodbyes were exchanged when anyone came or went. Though we weren’t there for a long time, we even got goodbyes when we left.

The Cobble Hill Inn is a bar, restaurant and motel, owned by the Cashin family for the last 21 years, and by the bartender, Christina (Chrissy) Cashin, for the past six years. The motel has four efficiencies and a total of seven rooms and, like the bar and restaurant, is open seven days a week, 365 days a year. The bar is open from 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday, noon on Sunday and closes as late as 2 a.m. when business requires.

Gaming amusements include foosball and pool in a separate room and darts in the bar area. The bar seats ten and includes another four tables with seating for 16 more patrons. A few barstools along the wall could allow a little more seating at the bar. Wifi is available to read your favorite blog, check out photos on Cobble Hill Inn’s Facebook page, or to keep in touch with loved ones. You can watch the Giants or Yankees on one of the two TVs in the tavern area.

Chris, Chrissy’s partner, was just putting the finishing touches on the newly leveled and re-covered pool table in the adjoining room. An ancient phone booth stands in a corner. A few more dining tables and a cozy sitting area by the fireplace give the space a homey, recreation room feel. Noticing an old upright piano on a far wall, Kim asked Chris if anyone actually plays it. Himself a musician who plays the piano and upright bass, Chris elaborated on the occasional entertainment at the Cobble Hill Inn and upcoming events. The Valentine’s Day jazz wine dinner promises to be well attended, with a four or five course dinner paired with wine for each course.

The Cobble Hill Inn is a clean, friendly bar with attentive and gracious staff. Patrons were polite and friendly, obviously comfortable sharing their favorite pub. The owners are proud of the family business and show community support by hosting a toy drive and other fundraisers throughout the year. Any time of year, whether nearby for skiing, golfing, leaf peeping or motorcycling, you must drop in and make some new friends. The Cobble Hill Inn is the social life for the mostly local crowd. Maybe if you mention Happy Hour in the High Peaks, you’ll meet some of the same people we met that day in January.

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.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lake George Brewery Introduces Barrel-Aged Brews

The Adirondack Pub & Brewery in Lake George will celebrate its new limited edition bourbon barrel-aged brews at a “Festival of Barrels,” on Saturday, January 28, 2012, from 2-6PM on the deck of the Adirondack Pub. Tickets cost $20 and $25 at the door. Each ticket includes 5 beer tickets and a complementary mug. Tickets are available for purchase at the Pub during regular business hours and online.

At the “Festival of Barrels” guests will have the opportunity to sample 6-8 barrel aged beers, including some of the Brewery’s rare 2010 & 2011 Vintage Fat Scotsman, Bourbon Aged CoCo-Laboration (Chocolate Smoked Porter) and Double Dry Hopped IPA aged in White America oak barrels. Guests will feast on “Beast, Fish & Foul,” with the choice of three appetizers and three entrees, prepared to complement the craft brews.

Other than their bourbon barrel-aged brews, the brewery also produces a variety of other craft ales including, Café Vero Stout – made with 100% locally roasted coffee, Belgium White Peach – re-fermented with fresh peach puree and Maple Porter – made with pure maple syrup.

“We strive to produce high-quality and innovative ales for our loyal customers,” states John Carr, owner of the Adirondack Pub & Brewery, ”Beer drinkers have become accustomed to premium brews.”