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Pam and Kim Ladd

Pam and Kim Ladd

Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide

By Anthony F. Hall

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Judging by exteriors, the roadside taverns of the Adirondacks are less than inviting. (Their interiors can be a bit off-putting, too.) But it takes more than taxidermy, uncomprehending stares and mirthless grins to intimidate anyone from Warrensburg – women from Warrensburg especially.

That’s why (aside from a keen interest in the subject matter) Kim and Pam Ladd, two sisters from Warrensburg, are well qualified to write “Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide.” They’ll go where others fear to tread.

Published earlier this summer and now available in local book stores, “Happy Hour in the High Peaks” consists of reviews of 46 of the duo’s favorite bars within the six-million-acre Adirondack Park.

Among them: Sporty’s Iron Duke Saloon in Minerva, the Melody Lodge Tap Room in Wells, the Stony Creek Inn, the Bear Mountain Tavern in Keene, the Cobble Hill Inn in Elizabethtown and P-2’s Irish Pub in Tupper Lake.

These are the sorts of places where the pick-up trucks outnumber the Subarus and you could order something other than a Bud or Jack, if you wished, but you might feel foolish doing so.

For the Ladds, there’s romance to these places, where “old cigarette burns mar the bar, scars of forgotten conversations and decades of good times.” They also have a knack for insinuating themselves into the locals’ space, chatting up bartenders and extracting useful information about ladies’ nights, drinking contests, bands and house specialties. They tell you who’s nice and how many television sets will be playing at any given time. If you’re in need of a guide through a mystifying sub-culture of the Adirondacks, you could find none better.

The Ladds, of course, do not limit themselves to roadside taverns. They also visit places like Friends Lake Inn, Bar Vino and the Cottage at the Mirror Lake Inn. Nor do they neglect the bars and restaurants that appeal to tourists, not only in Lake Placid and Old Forge, but in Bolton Landing and Lake George as well.

In Bolton Landing, they like Fredericks (“instantly welcoming and homey in any season”) and Pub on 9 (“big: from the over-sized bar to the 70 inch television.”) Earning props in Lake George are the Adirondack Pub and Brewery, Duffy’s and Judd’s.

Other features in “Happy Hour in the High Peaks” are a list of bars that, for the authors at least, didn’t quite reach the heights of the top 46, and 46 Adirondack-themed cocktail recipes, with photos of each by Kim Ladd, a photographer by profession.

The two have also devised a companion to the book, which they call a passport and can be purchased with the book for an additional $8.

As they explain in a press release: “We had so much fun exploring the Adirondack Park, with its natural, cultural, and human diversity, that we felt compelled to encourage others to share the experience. The passport includes a page for each of the 46 favorite bars featured in the book. Passport holders present the book for stamping and $1 off at each of the locations. Once completed, the passport can be submitted to the Happy Hour in the High Peaks ‘Consulate’ for verification. We will return the passport to the its owner along with an official Happy Hour 46er decal.”

So here’s your chance to become an Adironack 46er of another, less strenuous sort.

“Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide” is available at Trees in Bolton Landing. The Ladds will sign books and demonstrate mixology at the store later this summer.

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