It was less than two weeks after bartender Valene began her new job at Ashe’s Pub and Grill that she started to wonder what she'd gotten herself into. It was the end of her shift and she got right to the business of closing the bar. The doors were locked, the bar lights off, and everything stocked for opening in the morning. She took the day’s receipts through the dining room, past the pool table, into the office. As she began counting, there came a loud pounding at the back entrance to the bar, accompanied by a man’s voice shouting, “Open the bar!”
Annoyed that some drunk had the audacity to expect that the bar would be opened for him, Valene got her husband on the phone for reassurance and went to the door. No one was there. Poking her head out the front door, she looked up and down the street, but no one was in sight. Dismissing the incident and turning to go back to her work, keeping her husband on the line in case the man came back, she could hear heavy footsteps and the sound of creaky floorboards coming from the area around the pool table. Banging sounds came from different areas of the bar; chairs in the dining room squeaked as though occupants were fidgeting in their seats. By now the young woman was truly frightened. Her husband, too, could hear the racket over the phone. Unable to come there himself, he sent Valene’s cousin to the bar to stay with her as she finished for the night while the noises continued around them. Not easily bullied by mere spirits, Valene has gotten used to the experiences and is still tending bar there. She makes it known to would-be spooks that she's in charge!
Other employees have had similar experiences. Becky, another of the bartenders, says that securely placed pots and pans often crash to the floor. Footsteps are heard coming from deserted floors above. Cash disappears...then returns. A second-floor apartment is home to the apparition of a tall, older gentleman who wears a top hat and has an arm in a sling. A woman who lived in a second-floor apartment claims the man climbed into bed with her. When a visiting vendor arrived to set up a demonstration, she was in immediate need of a restroom. Since there was a line at the one-seater in the bar, the employee who lived in the upstairs apartment took the woman upstairs to use her bathroom. Curious, the vendor asked about the man she had seen standing in the upstairs window when she arrived. She described him as very tall, wearing a top hat and a sling.
Standing just beyond Warrensburg’s historic district in a neighborhood of mostly modest residences, Ashe’s Hotel looks much as it did when it was built over 150 years ago. Originally named the Agricultural Hotel due to its proximity to the old Warren County Fairgrounds, the name was changed to Ashe’s Hotel when Maurice Ashe acquired it from his father, Henry, in the 1930’s. The fairgrounds was also the site of Ashland Park Speedway from 1954 to 1961. Somehow, the bar at Ashe's has managed to stay in continuous operation since the early 1860’s.
The current owner, John Abbale, has owned Ashe's for the past 25 years and has gradually made many improvements. Colorful linen table cloths liven the dining room and whitewashed walls brighten the interior. The recently installed wide pine slab bar seats about 15 people, and several tables are available in the same room in close proximity to the bar. A semi-partitioned room off the bar offers table seating for another 26 patrons. Off that room is the pool table and area for musical entertainment and dancing. The central location for music setup makes it accessible to all three rooms. If you're looking for entertainment beyond music and bar banter, a pool table, electronic darts and bowling, or pinball can be played here as well.
Though food service at Ashe's has been known to come and go over the years, Ashe's currently serves lunch and features dinner specials on Tuesday (clams) and Thursday (wings). Standard pub fare is served until 9 p.m. Located on Hudson Street in Warrensburg and surrounded by residential neighbors, the pub has outdoor seating, but, in an obvious effort to keep peace with the neighbors, discourages its use by not allowing drinks outside. Complicated drink specialties are not their priority, but the basics are there and the beer selection is varied and reasonable. Kim particularly enjoyed the Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat in a cinnamon-and-sugar-rimmed glass, though it's just as good without the embellishment.
The bar is open year-round, 7 days a week, but sometimes closes for Christmas. Their busiest days of the year are during Warrensburg's World's Largest Garage Sale weekend in early October, and Americade and Warrensburg Bike Week in June when the bar serves as social center for participants. Live music on Friday and karaoke on Saturday keep everyone entertained on the weekends. With reasonable drink prices, Happy Hour specials Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 7p.m., friendly bar staff in a neighborhood location, Ashe's is a local pub and yet a regular spot for many out-of-towners. In a country-charm sort of way, the local patrons look forward to some diversity of conversation from strangers. Our inquiries about Ashe's ghosts sparked interest and conversations, as well as dissent among the non-believers. If you're looking to scare up some spirits this Hallows' Eve, stop in on Saturday, October 29 for Ashe's costume party and karaoke.
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!