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!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Ole Barn, Inlet

It’s so BIG. If that isn’t your first impression when you enter The Ole Barn on Limekiln Lake Road in Inlet, then you must be from Texas or Montana. Bearing a ranch theme with wagon wheels, oversized ceiling fans and rough pine booths and walls, it feels like a bar that should be on the premises of a dude ranch, not the stand-alone bar that it is. Nearby Limekiln and Eighth Lake state campgrounds bring many patrons, but it is the snowmobilers in the winter that fill it to its capacity of 300. It reminded us of summer camp. Or what we imagine summer camp must be like.

The square bar, not quite centered in the bar area, easily seats 25 patrons. The wood simulated laminate top with red padded edges and matching backless stools welcomed us to sit and observe. A model train waited at its station overhead with a painted backdrop depicting a village scene. The train wasn’t running while we were there, but 350 feet of track take it throughout the restaurant, its cars sporting billboards in miniature advertising local businesses. Benched tables fill two walls and several round picnic tables try to fill some of the large space near the entrance. A collection of hundreds of caps covers a good portion of the plank ceiling. The spacious dining room is separated from the bar by a partition of booths.

Though beer taps can be seen behind the bar, the Ole Barn currently serves beer in cans only, in about a dozen varieties. As Pam looked over the diverse liquor selection behind the bar, she observed a few PVC pipes. Upon inquiry, we learned from our bartender, Allison, that they are portals for the Beer Can Express, the first we’ve ever seen or even heard about. Volunteering a demonstration, Allison explained that the cans are deposited in those pipes and are whisked off, bank tube style, for storage in a large silo located outside of the main building. There’s a fine example of Adirondack ingenuity!

With four televisions and a winter-based clientele, the Ole Barn is frequented by NASCAR fans.  Annually, the Old Barn hosts Zippy’s Crusade for Kids, a charity snowmobile ride put on by Greg and Nan Zipadelli. A two-day event to raise funds for kids in need, the fundraiser features food, music, an auction, and a celebrity autograph session sometimes attended by such NASCAR icons as Tony Stewart. The 2013 event will be held on January 25 and 26.

The Ole Barn offers live music during the winter for their snowmobile patrons. A pool table and lottery scratch tickets complete the entertainment offerings. They also host weddings, banquets and private parties. Family owned since 1967, and currently by Ron and Kathy Hausen, the restaurant specializes in homemade and Italian specials, among others, moderately priced. On the lighter side, salads, burgers, sandwiches and pizza are featured. More substantial entrees “from the barnyard” include ribs, NY strip, and chicken. “From the pond” you can select haddock, clams or calamari.

The Ole Barn has a Happy Hour daily from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. featuring $3.00 well drinks, domestic beers for $2.00 and draft beer, when available, for $1.50.  They are open year-round, but close between Columbus Day and Thanksgiving in the fall, and during mud season in the spring. They open at noon and close at 10 p.m. or later. They are open Thanksgiving Day, but closed on Christmas.

If you’re looking for a quiet place for an early afternoon drink and a bite to eat, stop by the Ole Barn during the summer months.  For a hopping place to go after a good snowstorm, the Ole Barn might not be so vast and quiet.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Cowboy, Lake Placid

The Cowboy was one of the more interesting finds after a couple of disappointments during our second visit to Lake Placid. Though seemingly a restaurant with a bar, we were excited when presented with an extensive drink menu. The restaurant has an equally interesting dinner menu, but that’s just wasted on us. 
Neil, the bartender, extremely knowledgeable in his trade, seemed to know a lot about the variety of liquors they carry, and is possibly responsible for the overall diversity behind the bar. The refreshing element of Neil’s wisdom was the no-nonsense way he imparted information without coming across as a know-it-all. He had a dry sense of humor, best saved for his martinis, that we enjoyed immensely. In his knowledge of mixers and liquors, he was more like a highly trained chef, but with personality. He seemed to be one of those mixologists who could make something tasty out of whatever he had on hand.

The specialty cocktail menu, with prices ranging from $7 to $11, includes some unique blends like the Western Sunset, the Cowboy Manhattan, and the Mango Margarita. Pam, who has been trying to bring back the whisky sour, was pleased to see the Pale Rider Whisky Sour made with High West silver whisky as a featured drink. But it was the Black and Blue 46er that caught her eye as the one to try. With Maker’s 46 bourbon, blackberry and blueberry juice, lemon juice, and agave nectar, garnished with fresh blueberries and blackberries, she made those yummy noises as she drank it (when Kim finally released it from its photo shoot). Kim opted for a Summer Basil; a savory summer sipper made from fresh basil, Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain and lemon juice. Bottled beer ranges from $3.50 for a Miller Lite to $5 for Red Stripe, Guinness (pint can), Corona, Dos Equis, and Pilsner Urquell. Wine (five red, five white) are priced from $8 to $11 a glass.

Owners Vicki and Rob Breyette, both world-traveled chefs who have lived and worked in such locations as London and the Netherlands, have been operating the Cowboy for over a year. They bring their world travel to Lake Placid with a unique menu and the prowess to extend to the bar. Vicki and Rob acquired the former Caribbean Cowboy, located just down the street, and quickly made it their own, running it for the past ten years. While the Cowboy has taken many staff and several menu items with it, the Cowboy is not the same restaurant as its predecessor.

Decidedly not West Texas cowboy in d├ęcor, a somewhat confusing combination of color and accessory suggest southwest. Or perhaps Ireland. Dark stained pine paneled walls are brightened by a generous number of windows and boldly painted accent walls of orange and green. A saddle, holster, and leather stirrups are casually placed on partitions. Skis, cowboy hats, and artwork hang on the walls and assorted plants and cacti are everywhere.

The bar at the Cowboy is open from 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. daily in the summer; closed on Wednesdays in the fall. Happy Hour specials are available from 4 to 6 p.m. every day except Sunday. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m., and open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The menu leans toward Asian, with everything in-between. From clam chowder to gazpacho, jerk chicken to Vietnamese meatballs, and burgers to lamb patties, the Cowboy presents a variety of freshly prepared offerings to please any palate, at somewhat steep prices. Soups are $7, appetizers $10 to $12, and tavern entrees are priced from $22 to $34. Sandwiches, burgers and small plates range from $12 to $18.

The bar seats ten, but surrounding tables can be used for dining or as an extension to the bar. The deck in front can do the same for dinner. The deck is spacious, with a small fire pit and cheerful red tables overlooking the street and would be a nice place to relax in the cool evening into night. Located on Saranac Avenue, somewhat off the main drag, The Cowboy is a favorite for locals and tourists to intermingle and enjoy a little something out of the ordinary in Lake Placid.