Where have all the young people gone? Having spent 19 months reviewing bars, taverns and dives in the Adirondacks, the thought had crossed our minds, but we never vocalized it. We just assumed they came out later. Like vampires. Not during the afternoon and evening. Not during Happy Hour. Or maybe they just restricted themselves to larger venues like Lake Placid and Lake George. We found them one Wednesday afternoon in July, at the Thirsty Moose Pub & Grub in Childwold, somewhere between Cranberry Lake and Tupper Lake.
Seated at a picnic table outside, several of them greeted us on our way into the Thirsty Moose, then joined us at the bar. Except for one man in his seventies or eighties, who disappeared shortly after our entrance, the patrons and the bartender, Crystall, were all younger than 30. As we began talking about signature drinks with Crystall, which led to a brief synopsis of our quest for the 46 best bars (the “High Peaks”) in the Adirondacks, they became animated and inquisitive. We shared some of our own drink recipes with them, and before we knew it, Crystall was taking orders from Christie, eager to bestow some of the Thirsty Moose’s favorites on us.
We started with the Tic Tac - orange vodka and Red Bull, the orange vodka shot separately contained within a rocks glass filled with Red Bull (a bomber shot). Pam tried to suppress the hiccup that always accompanies her quick consumption of carbonated beverages, let out a loud one, and finished the drink, shooter style. Mickey Sylvester, owner of the Thirsty Moose, joined us and wanted to share his favorite, the Washington Apple, a tradition at the Thirsty Moose. Christie got the disco ball going and a memorable Happy Hour was underway. The jukebox played in the background, mostly 70’s rock, the mood one of ageless camaraderie as we joked about the disco ball.
The Thirsty Moose Pub & Grub is open year-round, at 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and at noon Friday through Sunday. It’s closed on Monday. Though no formal Happy Hour designation exists, the drink prices are very reasonable. Regular domestic bottled beer (20+ flavors) is $2.75. Higher end bottles are $3.50, and draft (Bud Light) is $2.25. Red and white wines are available for $4.00, and shots and mixed drinks vary in price.
The dining room, with its red tablecloths and neat white chairs, is in an adjoining room away from the bar. A menu of burgers, steaks, seafood, chicken and more lists prices from $7.95 to $24.95. Bar nibbles of the mostly fried variety range from $2.50 to $11.95.
Formerly known as Dumas’s, Mickey and Jan Sylvester bought and renamed the Thirsty Moose ten years ago. The building appears to have been remodeled or upgraded inside and out fairly recently. A semi-circle of dark mahogany or cherry, the handcrafted bar is the focal point of the room, and perfectly conducive to conversation. Worth mention is the ladies’ room, which Pam described as “impeccable”.
In the rare event that the staff and clientele aren’t amusement enough, Quick Draw is on site along with a pool table, dartboard, several televisions and a jukebox stocked with non-disco music. The ring game, best described as a ring on a string attached to the ceiling, challenges expert and novice to get the ring on the hook on an opposite wall. Those who have mastered it make it look easy. Five cabins are available for rent, if you want to stick around until you master the game.
As a meeting place for so many, the Thirsty Moose entertains bikers, vacationers, seasonal hunters, snowmobilers and, of course, everyday fun seekers. The Childwold Snopackers meet at the Thirsty Moose monthly, either planning or relaxing after grooming the nearby snowmobile trails.
A “For Sale” sign is inconspicuously on display outside, but we got the impression that Mickey would be hard pressed to let it go. It seems his staff is more like family than employees, and his customers more like friends.
“This is Cheers,” is how Alex, a not-so-local from Lake Placid, described the Thirsty Moose Pub & Grub.