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.