The staff outnumbered the patrons when we arrived at the Hague Firehouse between 4 and 5 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. The two bartenders on hand seemed to be more than enough for two men on one side of the bar and two women on the other. We chose two seats in the middle of the horseshoe shaped bar. A couple took refuge in the shade of the deck, enjoying the soft murmur of the surrounding trees and the brook below. Waitresses gathered in a far corner, taking turns between preparation and conversation. A summery breeze gently wound its way through the open front door, flirted with patrons, and escaped out the back through the sliding glass door in the wall of windows leading to the deck.
The gunmetal grey cinder block exterior and barn red garage doors give the mistaken impression that the building has not undergone much change from its former life to its reincarnation. Admiring the firehouse-themed artwork and occasional model fire engine, we easily relaxed in the bright, airy, contemporary decor. The walls are assertively painted in rich, earthy red and yellow ochre tones, accented with whimsical metal sculptures. A long bench, upholstered in a bold peacock inspired design, provides seating at several tables along the corner of the dining area. Remnants of the Hague Firehouse’s former functionality remain. From steel beams in the high ceiling to the concrete floor painted a muted deep red, industrial accents complement the comfortable style. Fans turn softly overhead, discouraging the lingering of air. Steel pipe serves as footrest at the bar and safety on the deck. A variety of glasses, suspended by chains over the bar, wait as expectantly as the milling waitresses.
We ordered our beverages. Pam, rather uncharacteristically, had a drink in mind and quickly decided on a rum madras. Kim chose a Switchback from the handful of draft selections. Stella Artois, Long Trail, Guinness and Saranac Pale Ale can be enjoyed by the pint, or Newcastle, Sam Adams, Corona, Blue Moon, Lake Placid UBU and several others by the bottle. Wine and liquor options are modest but adequate.
Outdoor seating is available front and rear, where one can seek respite in the shade of an oversized striped awning in the quiet oasis on the rear deck, or choose to observe traffic and comings and goings on the patio in front. Wrought iron tables, a few with cheerful umbrellas, are set up on the front patio. Pam was making her exterior observations, watching four women make their way up the sidewalk from the town center a block away. They entered the Firehouse. Moments later she watched as four more women approached from the same direction. She ducked inside to claim her seat and watch whatever was about to unfold. Women, bedecked with amply filled wine glasses, conversed at the bar, as the others filed in from their walk. Men, with wives or sons or daughters, started to even the one-sided gender population. Some gathered at the bar while others took tables inside or on the deck. Within a very short time, the sparsely occupied bar became crowded and laughter, greetings and conversation filled the air. The waitresses were in full swing.
A conversation with the bartender, Molly, netted Pam a new drink at the mention of their most recent signature drink involving tequila and dubbed the French Gimlet. Made with tequila, St. Germain and fresh lime, it was a unique flavor combination, tart and salty.
The Hague Firehouse has been in business for six years and is owned by Molly's parents, Sheri DeLarm and Cris Ginn. A labor of love and learning, the family has cautiously progressed through the stages of new ownership to established business. The restaurant and bar are open seasonally, Thursday through Saturday in May and June, then daily during the summer. The restaurant is open from 4:30 to 10 p.m., though bar hours are often later, dictated by demand. The menu is fresh and creative, offering a variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrees, at what we would consider moderate prices.
Parking spaces at the Firehouse are limited to two handicapped and one not, but parking can be found a very short distance above and below the Hague Firehouse. A visit to the Hague Firehouse promises exciting beverage options, a generously filled wine glass, friendly service, a variety of seating options and interesting menu selections.