OUR MISSION - WE'RE PUBLISHED! Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 marked the Premier of our new book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide. The hardcover, 160 page book can be found at bars and bookstores throughout the Adirondack Park or order online at www.happyhourinthehighpeaks.com. You'll find a list of our book signings on the Events page and where to buy the book on our Retailers page. The book contains reviews of 46 of our favorite bars in the Adirondack Park, and 46 drink recipes with an Adirondack twist. As a companion to the book, we have also published a 46er Passport so that you can follow the Happy Hour Trail to become a Happy Hour 46er and make new friends along the way. Summit Tour t-shirts will be for sale at our book signings or available online. Whether you are a native, resident, or visitor, you'll find 46 more reasons to visit the ADIRONDACK PARK!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

We're Off to "Peak" The Long Horn Restaurant and Pub

Their website makes them sound promising.  I see they have free WIFI, but we're not going to blog live today.  Also, maybe I'll take along a little extra cash for QuickDraw; I know how badly NYS needs my money.  Okay, gotta think positive...  The sun is shining for a change and I'm looking forward to a tasty beverage or two - Kim's turn to drive - Yippee!

It's a beautiful but busy weekend.   We hope to get up to Basil & Wick's in North Creek for their Hooray- Hooray it's the First of May party tomorrow afternoon.  And I thought I was the one who could make up any excuse for a party - they're good.

Maybe we'll see you there....

Bottoms Up!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Waterhouse Restaurant and Lounge, Lake Luzerne

It was yet another cold, dreary day and my expectations for Waterhouse's were pretty low. Looking for adventure of any sort, I suggested we take the "shortcut" to Luzerne. Harrington Hill Road in Warrensburg meets Route 9 at Fourth Lake, but it's a dirt road in between the two towns that isn't maintained in the winter. As we left the pavement of Harrington Hill, we wondered what we would find.

We crossed over a small snowbank (that must be where they stop maintaining the road), some occasional wash-outs, and then came upon some pretty deep, sloppy mud. Kim had visions of our emerging in a mud-caked SUV with only wiper blade trails across the windshield. I turned off the heater in my SUV as we traversed a large crevice in the middle of the road; I was feeling a little warm by then. The road became clear again and we picked up the pace. We've traversed worse in a VW bus, but that's another story.

Somewhat more optimistic after my driving adventure, we pulled into the large, partially filled parking area at Waterhouse. A deck and patio area waited patiently for the weather to change. We took a table in the bar area, as all of the barstools were taken. Cindy, our server, greeted us immediately. She shared beer specials as I tried to decide what to order. Cindy turned to me and, sensing my indecision, suggested a margarita. My eyes lit up and my spirits followed!

There are some establishments where you just don't order a margarita, or anything containing more than two ingredients, unless they're advertised. She joked that she was fighting with the bartender and wanted to "get even". Nothing goes better with a margarita than a server with a sense of humor (except salt).

Several bottled and draft beer choices were available, with a "Mystery Mug" special on Shock Top.The bar is small but a lovely S-shaped oak; a model train sits on an overhead shelf above. No one theme is evident in the decor - a mixture of horse racing, golf, and a vast collection of police and fire department patches from all over the map. The stone fireplace, hardwood floors and knotty pine create a relaxing atmosphere.

The atmosphere was one of local camaraderie. We listened to the banter; welcomes to some who must have gotten away for a week or a winter. People kept coming in and the bar continued to fill, as did the adjacent dining room. Body language was noticeably different here. People sat or stood in anticipation, turned with one eye on the door, so new arrivals were not missed. A nice change from the hunch-shouldered, head-in-your-beer, furtive glance postures we've seen from time to time. The mood was contagious and soon Kim was off mingling a bit with the patrons, excited to meet them and get their point of view.

Once people know what we're up to, they usually love the idea and tend to open up and offer suggestions. It doesn't usually take long to find common acquaintances (or ancestors) among the crowd. People here were very approachable and friendly, and Kim took the opportunity to hand out some of our cards. We are always asked whether we're related to Dan Ladd (probably). Is he asked the same about us?

I sat at the bar and continued to query the bartender/owner, Sue Waterhouse, whenever I could sneak in a question. Though off duty at the time, bartender Jim was also helpful in answering our questions.

Waterhouse's has been in business for 65 years, owned by the Waterhouse family, and has been run by Dan and Sue Waterhouse for the past seven years. The bar area has been renovated a bit and the roof, which blew off in a recent storm, is being replaced.

They are open year-round, closed on Mondays, have open mic nite on Wednesdays, and do catering as well. Open for lunch at 11:30, serving dinner 4 to 9 or 10, the extensive menu includes standard pub fare, appetizers, specialty pizzas and diverse dinners. They entertain locals and tourists, snowmobilers, campers and even the occasional blogger. Warning: the Waterhouse Restaurant and Lounge may be habit forming.

Photos courtesy Sue Waterhouse.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Peep Show and Supporting Drinks

Happy Easter, happy spring, or happy whatever you do or don't celebrate. We can always find something to celebrate, so we decided to try some Easter/spring themed cocktails this afternoon while waiting for the ham (or us) to cook. Here's what we came up with:

 Chocolate Easter Buzzy

1 1/2 oz. dark creme de cacao
1 1/2 oz. chocolate vodka
1/2 oz. cherry brandy
1 oz. white chocolate creme liqueur

Shake with ice; serve over ice. garnish with a marshmallow bunny or peep.

Jelly Bean Shooter

1 oz. black sambuca
1 oz. triple sec
1 oz. raspberry liqueur

Shake with ice. Strain into two shot glasses. garnish with a jelly bean.

Featured: (l to r) Polly & Paul Peep, Pinkie, Dave & Earl, Little
Blue Peep, Unknown Peep, Peter Cotton Balls (blue cocktail),
and Jelly Bean Shooters (rear)
Peter Cotton Balls

1 oz. blueberry vodka
1 oz. blue curacao
1 oz. triple sec

Pour over ice and stir.

Let the peep show begin!

 Bottoms Up!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Daily Double - HHHP Does Timberwolf Pub and The Black Bear

Our first daily double.  On Saturday, we visited two bars: the Timberwolf Pub in Schroon Lake and the Black Bear in Pottersville.  We started in Schroon Lake.  The Timberwolf Pub has an interesting architectural design which I will call Bavarian style.  The interior is open and well-lit, with several ceiling fans with lights.  The large bar could accommodate 15 to 20 people; the tables throughout the room even more.  The walls are tongue and groove pine with a shelf around the whole room displaying a multitude of ceramic houses.  A brightly lit alcove over the restroom doors display a plethora of Easter decorations.  Helen, the owner and bartender on duty, informed us that she decorates this area according to every occasion.  In addition to this display, several stuffed wolves, a fisher and a grinning fox watch over the bar. Too many stiff drinks?

On a chilly day, it was warm and comfortable in the Timberwolf Pub.  We received a friendly greeting by a local at the bar upon entering and, believe it or not, that hasn't been the case in our adventures so far this year.  An over sized, handmade hat labeled "TIPS" sat at the end of the bar.  Naturally, Kim couldn't help remarking that someone has lofty goals.  Helen chuckled and informed us that someone had volunteered to play music the night before "just for tips".  She discreetly tucked the hat behind the bar.  While we were there, a patron had a package delivered to him at the bar.  I had a sense of the smallness of the community and the hominess of the Timberwolf.

On weekends they have a DJ on one night and karaoke on the other. Quick Draw and scratch off tickets are available for amusement as well. The Timberwolf Pub does not have a happy hour, but does offer two drink specials - Carbomb consisting of Jaegermeister and Red Bull and the Long Island Iced Tea made from a variety of liquors combined with Coke that somehow achieves the iced tea flavor. They are open year round, seven days a week, catering to locals and tourists. The menu is broad, with basic pub fare and home style dinner specials, all very reasonably priced.  Although the Timberwolf Pub has been under the same ownership for ten years, it does have a fresh look.

Next stop, the Black Bear Restaurant and Bar... 

Just off Exit 26 of the Adirondack Northway, seemingly carved out of the mountainside, the Black Bear Restaurant and Bar have occupied this corner for over half a century. Walking into the Black Bear is like stepping back in time.  The red and black checkerboard linoleum-tiled floor is well worn by decades of dog-tired working-class feet.  The bar is no nonsense; green formica topped and wood framed, with purse hooks beneath, kind of like church, though the similarity stops there.  The bar mysteriously wraps around into a large adjoining room, spacious enough to accommodate occasional performers, Friday night karaoke and, rarely, a band. Quick Draw is also available here. The decor is decidedly early garage sale: beer posters and signs, jukebox, photo collages spanning many years, and a stuffed black bear wearing bunny ears and carrying an Easter basket. The Black Bear bears all the evidence of a home away from home.

Surprisingly, no draft beer, but 30 bottled choices and the liquor staples suffice. They don't appear to have a happy hour but their regular prices already beat most happy hours. I had a 12 ounce bottle of Sam Adams, which the bartender poured into a pint glass. Oddly enough, it filled the glass. There were perhaps eight or ten other people in the bar; most seemed to know one another. Like most hometown bars, the Black Bear seems like a quiet, friendly place to spend a lazy afternoon watching NASCAR on the modest TV.

Last week's review stirred up some controversy over the food at Flanagan's vs. the Black Bear, so we had to eat.  Order the wings hot if you want medium, medium if you want mild, and mild if you want sweet, we were advised by the bartender.  We ordered hot, which were indeed medium, but they smelled and tasted delicious.  We also split a burger, which arrived clad in a soft fresh kaiser roll, topped with lettuce and tomato, with a generous side of fries.  No complaints; it was quite satisfying. The bar and the restaurant are separate entities, though we were able to order and eat at the bar.

Whether it was the dreariness of the day, or the funk between seasons, enthusiasm was lacking. In a way, it's great to visit places when it's the off-season, but we look forward to a having a few more people around. Yeah. Careful what you wish for.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flanagan's - Schroon Lake

Tucked amid a small group of Main Street storefronts in Schroon Lake, Flanagan's quietly sits. Its hand-painted signs promising a family restaurant atmosphere, we accepted its invitation. One of only two bars in a small community just stirring from its winter sleep, we arrived with modest expectations and hearty appetites, noting their boast of famous wings.

Entry to the bar involves passing through the front of the restaurant, gleaming wide-plank pine floors beneath our feet; mine so boldly clad in sandals on this warm, sunny day. With only front and rear windows in the long, narrow building, it was surprisingly well-lit. (We were not.) We had heard about Flanagan's complicated seating hierarchy and headed toward the back, near the jukebox and small collection of arcade games, in order to assume a proper location. Finding all those seats occupied, we moved closer to the front (locals) section. We're not tourists or flatlanders (clearly not) or weekenders, summer residents, nor even just passing through. But we're definitely NOT locals (I think that was made silently but abundantly clear), but we sat there anyway, sensing (or imagining) sidelong glances from those patrons rightfully classified as such.

The bartender, reluctant to share his identity, muttering something about witness protection, took our orders. We later learned, through the process of elimination, that his name was Josh. I ordered a Long Trail Seasonal (Harvest), a dark wheat from Flanagan's well-selected draft choices: Coors Light, Yuengling, Guinness, Lake Placid Ubu, Long Trail Seasonal and Davidson Brothers IPA and Brown. The Long Trail was delightful. Lightly flavored, subtly sweet for a dark beer, the color of a cola and nearly as bubbly, somewhat thin and clear without being watery. I would buy a six-pack of this if I came across it. Pam ordered her usual fallback: vodka and grapefruit. I think she needs to perfect it with perhaps a vodka preference.

I'm sure Pam will discuss the barstools - Amish-made natural oak seats with rustic stick legs and padded backs. They were gorgeous. The dining room also had the same matching chairs. I tried to do the math at probably a couple of hundred per chair, but thought better of it. I was especially appreciative of the heater that ran the length of the bar and served as the footrest. I despise the cold and, despite the warm day, my exposed toes were chilly.

Some thought had obviously gone into this place, though I don't know if it was recent (the chairs were, we were told) or all at once, or an evolving process since we had never been there before.

I ordered a buffalo chicken wrap with bleu cheese, medium hot, from the standard but varied menu. If the deliciousness of the buffalo chicken in the wrap was any indication of the quality of their wings, then I can probably safely assume Flanagan's claim to famous wings is accurate. Delicately crisp and tender, the tangy, spicy sauce wafting into my nostrils, filled my sinuses with flavor that continued on my taste buds. The bleu cheese gave the chicken a creamy complement, all rolled into the fresh wrap. Pam's heaping plate of supreme nachos (with chili) was impressive, fresh and quite tasty. The prices were pretty reasonable with most items $7 to $10. Drink pricess were pretty standard.

I'm curious whether the locals disappear during the summer months when most of the clientele are visitors, or are just absorbed. With the homey comforts of Flanagan's in their backyard, I doubt they can stay away.

Flanagan's Bar & Grill, Schroon Lake

The trip to Schroon Lake was much shorter than I expected, even though we took the scenic route.  It was the first really nice spring day of the season.  Schroon Lake was bustling, for April.  People were out walking.  Just seeing people on the streets is as much a sign of Spring as the crocus' blooming.
We found a parking spot right outside Flanagan's and ventured toward the entrance.  It was well-kept and very attractive with a stone facade.  I reviewed their menu posted outside and noted that they are open at noon and are closed on Tuesday.  The bartender, Joshua, later clarified that they are only closed on Tuesday during the winter months.
Flanagan's has been in business for 50-60 years but, upon entering, I immediately noticed it has been well-maintained.  The floor shined with extra coats of polyurethane.  As we passed through the dining area heading toward the bar, I took in the surroundings.  Bright copper lights sparkled over the booths; a bear, a deer and a moose head adorned one wall over those booths.  Clever placards hung here and there touting the virtues of drinkers and their wives.
As we found 2 seats at the bar, Kim quickly surveyed the beer offerings and selected one like a woman who knows what she wants.  In what is becoming the norm, I wrestled with the liquor choices like a kid in a candy store.  No drink specials in the off-season, no suggestions forthcoming from Joshua, so I was on my own.  I made rash decision for vodka and grapefruit.  In an effort to lighten the mood, I specified "plain vodka, no Bakon vodka for me, please!"
Again, taking in the scenery, I noticed the barstools were of padded fabric and rustic wood, and very heavy when trying to get out of them.  We ordered food from the extensive menu of yummy treats and chatted with the gentleman at the end of the bar.   He was a local by the name of Greyling, which we thought was a very cool name.  Off-season, Flanagan's is mostly locals, but changes to about 90% tourists in the summer months.  I checked out the deck in the back and found that to be small, but comfortable, and overlooking a brook.  It started to rain, so I returned to the bar.
The bathroom was clean and nicely finished in Adirondack woods.  Hot water, paper towels and toilet paper - what more could a woman ask for!  Speaking of woman, even though I didn't see one, I had the distinct feeling that a woman is behind the decor and overseeing the maintenance of Flanagan's Bar & Grill.  Men just don't seem to pay that much attention to the details.

Change of Plans

We have heard that the Wells House is closed.  If that's the case, then we will go to The Black Bear and maybe a visit to The Timberwolf Pub, too.

Bottoms Up!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Gauntlet Has been Thrown

Though we aren't about the food, there is enough controversy about the food in Pottersville to pique our interest.  Looks like we are off to Pottersville on Saturday, hoping to take in both The Black Bear and The Wells House.  Last time I was at the Wells House, I was on my Harley and it was a designated stop on a Poker Run.  I'm guessing that the Wells House has changed just as much as I have since then.
Kim is here and we are going to play 'bar' now.  BRB.

Yummy...  Sloe Ruby Thursday

1 1/2 oz White Rum
4 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Sloe Gin
Served in a highball glass over ice!  Highly recommended.

Variation equally delicious but perfect on a hot, summer day

1 oz Ruby Red Vodka
1 oz Absolut Citron
2 oz Seltzer
2 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
Served in a highball glass over lots of ice! 

Bottoms Up!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Is it Wednesday Yet?

Tune into the Adirondack Almanack tomorrow afternoon for our latest review on Flanagan's Pub & Grill in Schroon Lake.  Tune in later tonight to see if Kim will play "bar" with me.

Bottoms Up!
High Peaks Pammie

Friday, April 8, 2011

barVino in North Creek

Following suggestions from several readers, we were back to North Creek again, this time to visit barVino.  We got into North Creek shortly before 4pm.  barVino wasn't open yet, so we decided to check out Laura's while we waited.  Laura's is on our "recommended" list, but we will save that for another day. 

barVino was a pleasant surprise for several reasons.  First, I was surprised to see that their beer assortment was so extensive.  I can't say it was as vast as their wine selections, but they could consider calling their establishment beerVino.  I believe I was the only patron drinking wine while we were there.  The bartender was helpful in suggesting a white wine from the specials board after I shared my preferences regarding sweetness and dryness with her.  I was under the impression that it was strictly a wine bar, and I stand corrected. 

The second surprise was the craftsmanship of the decor.   I would say it was both a modern and a classic decor, with a concrete bar counter and classic barstools (all matching, of course) of wood and padded fabric seats.  The lighting was just right to show off the overall sleekness.  The artwork throughout added a further classiness to the place.  My eyes were drawn upwards to the high ceilings and classic tin ceiling cornices, all painted green.  The tin crown molding was the only hint that the building wasn't new.  There were several ceiling fans that were large but not gaudy.  One in particular drew my eye as I tried to establish what type of wood the paddles were made from.  They had a thick, rounded, jungle wood look. 

A review isn't complete without a trip to the restroom.  Very nicely done and obviously well-maintained.  The artwork wasn't screwed down to prevent theft, as is sometimes the case in some establishments.  I wasn't surprised to learn that one of the owners is a building contractor (and if someone told me another owner was a professional cleaner, I wouldn't be surprised either).  Overall, exceptional ambience, pleasant and knowledgable staff, and plenty of drinking variety.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Appearing Wednesday on Adirondack Almanack

We are scheduled to post our first contribution with Adirondack Almanack at 3pm Wednesday.  Check out our intro and bios then read our review of barVino in North Creek.  After you've done all that, feel free to browse other articles on the Almanack site. The barVino review will appear in our regular blog two days after Almanack publishes it (that would be Friday) in the original form you've grown accustomed to.
Get your recipe suggestions in for Spring Fever and enter as often as you wish.  We'll try them all, you know we will!  Not gonna lie, you were all a little unforthcoming in your Cabin Fever recipes.  We know you want to, so just do it.  Comments as "Anonymous" are always an option.

Monday, April 4, 2011

BarVino: Captivating

It didn't quite feel like spring when we left Warrensburg on what started as a breezy, sunny day, but it did hold promise that winter was loosening its grip. It seems whenever we mention our book or blog, barVino in North Creek is suggested. We were off to find out what all the buzz was about.

A visual sweep of the high ceilings, clean simple lines, and a sense of order and unpretentious sophistication registered a sense of calm.  In real life, I'm a photographer so I was naturally drawn to the framed back-and-white photographs hanging on the warm adobe-hued walls, this month's gallery exhibit. barVino regularly graces its walls with local artists' works.

The page-and-a-half-long beer menu boasted a nearly global selection of bottled and draft beers. Draft beer featured Guinness and an assortment of craft brews from Davidson Brothers, Adirondack Brewery, and Dogfish Head. The endless bottled list? Lagers and ales and wheats and belgians and stouts and porters, oh my! I ordered a Davidson's Ctrl-Alt-Del. The color a warm reddish brown, the aroma a little wheaty, it had a slightly bitter flavor with a hint of nuttiness.

Pam ordered a glass of white wine. Not to be outdone, and it is barVino after all, the five page wine list requires a passport. Selections from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and California in red (55 bottled; 16 by the glass), rose, port, white, dessert,  and champagne by the glass or bottle. You can download PDF's of barVino's menus at www.barvino.net.

A trip to the ladies' room revealed more ambience. An eclectic collection of antique mirrors in the hall way and a vintage oak dry sink in the restroom held baskets of fresh hand towels. A humble print depicting an old woman carrying bundled sticks on her back, entitled "Gathering Firewood" hangs over the sink.

barVino's, where local simplicity meets urban chic. We could easily have been sitting in a bistro on Newbury Street in Boston. Not to be missed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

We're Moving on Up! Please Join Us!

We have been invited to join the Adirondack Almanack, an online publication of all things Adirondack, as regular contributors. This is a major boost toward our Mission of getting published, and we're very excited about the collaboration. They have a readership of 4500-5000 followers PER DAY! Today the Adirondack Almanack, tomorrow the Today Show?!

We will continue to post on our HappyHourintheHighPeaks blog, but the most up-to-date blogs will appear in the Adirondack Almanack first. Our first review will be for barVino in North Creek.  Soon we will be introduced by the Adirondack Almanack and our first posting will appear shortly thereafter. As soon as we know the publication date, we will post a link on our blog. We hope you will continue to follow us there and support our endeavors in finding and publishing the best 46 Adirondack "High Peaks" and in creating the most original Adirondack drink recipes.

Please check the "Cool" button below to let us know you are a supporter!

Cheers and Bottoms Up!

Kim and Pam Ladd

Live from Pammy's Pub: Cabin Fever Lab

Blogging live from Pammy's Pub today. Pammy was on her way over to the bar to pour us a glass of inspiration when she said the strangest thing. "We already posted our blog. We don't need to drink today."
My head spun so quickly in her direction you could hear the "whoosh"!

Spring Cleaning
Thank you to those of you who contributed suggestions for the Cabin Fever. We're going through them and will make some modifications of our own to bring you the newest creation today. Since this is a live blog, we'll add to it as we have more to share.

After a minor bout of spring cleaning, Pam has the well-stocked bar organized and we're ready to start mixing. Our pre-drink brainstorm determined we needed "comfort" flavors combined with more hopeful, fruity flavors: chocolate, almond and coconut in an orange base. We'll let you know how this goes.

Is anyone else having trouble with the time change? Our clocks self-set overnight for daylight savings time. Time for new clocks.

Cabin Fever
Cabin Fever

1/2 oz. coconut rum
1 oz. hazelnut or almond liqueur
1 1/2 oz. chocolate vodka
4 oz. orange juice

Shaken with ice and garnished with a cherry.

We're ready for Spring Fever recipe submissions. You have until the end of April to send us your ideas for this drink. No rules. All will be considered. We'll be perfecting the Whitewater Rushin' and have the final product ready in time for Whitewater Derby in early May.

I'm not sure exactly how the bar reviews will fall (or stagger) onto this page, but will eventually have a schedule figured out. Meanwhile, we'll try to keep you amused.