Our first visit was The Barking Spider. A tiny facade, nestled between two larger structures, the long, narrow interior of the tavern did not inhibit the sense of spaciousness yielded by the high ceilings, natural pine wainscoting, and unfinished wide-plank wood floors. Modestly decorated here and there with snowshoes, skis and art prints, it was uncluttered, lending an airy sense. The rear of the bar overlooked the North Creek train station and the Hudson River.
The draft beer selection was limited but varied and I ordered a Bear Naked Ale, crafted by the Adirondack Pub and Brewery in Lake George. I honestly don't know what bottled beers were available, but Pam had an Ultra and someone had a PBR in a can, so I assume there was something for everyone.
Tavern owner Tim McGraw's enthusiasm and willingness to share experiences and future plans for the bar were encouraging as was his humor in explaining the presence of the flag of the great state of New York, hanging in effigy overhead. (That's a story for another blog.) Terri, the bartender, was quite accommodating in her quest for a substitute for white zinfandel (Pam's drink of choice), which the Barking Spider does not stock.
A mix of patrons came and went throughout our two-and-a-half-hour visit. In fact, we were there longer than most. Representing a variety of age groups, regular visitors to the area, locals and winter sportspeople, the clientele were friendly and inquisitive, as we seemed to arouse curiosity as we scribbled observations in our notebooks. We assured them we weren't from the health department or up to no-good. We spoke with many who happily answered questions and made suggestions for other places to visit. The Bear Trap in Indian Lake was suggested a couple of times, so it looks as though we may be headed that way in the near future.
Our husbands eventually showed up (we said it was OK) and we left for dinner at Basil and Wick's. We are not restaurant reviewers, but I will say that, though the seating process was disorganized, the food was excellent. Basil and Wick's chili is the "Bands and Beans" award winner and both husbands ordered that, the plan being that the two of them would ride home together (taking their barking spiders with them). I think Basil and Wick's will be visited again when they're not so busy, so that we can properly review the bar.
It's already clear that it will be difficult to choose the top bars for our book. I predict we will find something positive and unique in every place we visit. I am pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm and well-wishes Pam and I receive when we explain what we're up to, from customers and staff alike. You meet the nicest people in the Adirondacks!