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!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar, Lake Placid

What was beginning to feel like a wasted (no pun intended) trip to Lake Placid finally began to take a turn for the better. Originally arriving too early, we returned to Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar close on the heels of the 4 p.m. (opening time), at the recommendation of the staff at a previous venue. We had considered skipping it to continue exploration of Tupper Lake after two of our three previous bar visits proved to be disappointing, but it turns out we weren't sorry we backpedaled to give Liquids and Solids a proper review.

The long bar stretched out a hand in greeting, which we accepted. Lights with bare bulbs, painted dark, hung over the bar, adding a mysterious light for early afternoon. Eggplant colored walls breathed calm as they showcased their quirky and intriguing artwork. Random details added a tasteful touch of whimsy to the simple shapes and spare ornamentation in the dining area. Plants and fresh flowers popped their lively heads from artfully labeled beer bottles, a theme we were later to discover was carried into the ladies' room. Beer and wine menus, handwritten in wide black marker on large paper grocery bags, hung from clipboards behind the bar.

The bar seats 15, a little too closely, but it wasn't crowded at the time of our visit.  The barroom is cozy, with pub tables strategically placed near the bar, and standard tables for four were scattered toward the back. They offered privacy in their sparseness and an opportunity to enjoy the varied artwork on the walls.

The liquids, of course, were what we were after and we fairly drowned in the deluge. A selection of more than 20 red, white and sparkling wines from France, Chile, Argentina, Italy, South Africa, Australia and California are listed at $8 to $11 a glass. The cocktail menu features more than a dozen fresh and creative specialties, priced between $8 and $12 and lists ingredients from fresh herbs to vinegar. Draft and bottled beer prices vary from $3.50 to $27.

Pam immersed herself in the cocktail menu. Painstakingly prepared with many fresh and homemade ingredients, the potent concoctions include the Cilantro Daiquiri, Guava Margarita with a lime sugar rim, the Balsamic Fizz featuring basil and balsamic vinegar, and Smoked Lemonade and Bourbon Tea. She decided on the Rum and Raisin, a cocktail of generous proportions made from The Kraken black spiced rum, lime juice, raisin clove apple juice, and orange and pineapple juice garnished with raisins and an orange slice.

Meanwhile, it was Kim's turn to suffer indecision as she examined the beer list consisting of six drafts, several cans, and well over 100 bottles in various serving sizes. There are 22 IPAs alone! Also, a dozen or so Belgian strong ales, a bunch of stouts, and multitudes of others - trappists, triples, porters, reds, browns, lagers, saisons, Italians and Belgians to list just a few. Unable to resist a Belgian ale, or her curiosity, she settled on a Delirium Tremens, served in an oversized wine glass for $6.

Liquids and Solids, owned by Keegan Konkoski and chef Tim Loomis for the past two years, has been transformed from a local dive to a gastropub of constantly changing culinary surprises featuring homemade sauces, purees, stocks and syrups using whatever the local farmers have to offer. Making nearly everything themselves and using locally produced ingredients allows the pair to keep their prices down. Featuring mostly small plates of such ambitious offerings as charcuterie, ratatouille, barbecued sweetbreads, fried pork liver, polenta, and saffron cavatelli, the restaurant offers a handful of full-sized entrees and some daily specials at fairly small prices. They are open all year, but close for Memorial Day weekend annually. The bar is open from 4 p.m. until midnight Tuesday through Sunday in the summer and Tuesday through Saturday in the winter months. 

Outside, up a small flight of stairs toward the back, the rooftop deck feels more like a garden than a deck. Potted flowers and herbs abound and color pervades. Stripes provide a backdrop on a wall of window frames, whimsically placed. No service is offered from the bar, but patrons are welcome to bring their drinks and enjoy the scenery here. Tables on a patio in front do receive service from the bar and restaurant, but the tranquility is sacrificed.

The creative juices are flowing at Liquids and Solids. In both menu and venue, enjoy the whimsy that the name invokes.

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