It was a dark and stormy day…

No really, even one of the most definitively beautiful spots in the world has its gloomy days. My friend Andrea and I were facing one of those days recently on a planned trip to meet in Schroon Lake and catch up on each others lives. She lives in Albany and I live in Saranac Lake and Schroon marks a perfect stopping point between the two. With the weather that day, snowshoeing, skiing, and other great outdoor adventures in the area were off the table. Fortunately Schroon also has no shortage of one-of-a-kind restaurants and bars to explore. We took the opportunity to check out two neither of us had been to before. 

Sporty’s Iron Duke Saloon

Half biker bar, half motorcycle museum. When you walk through the front door you might feel like you’ve walked into someone's immaculately maintained garage and biker cave that just so happens to have a friendly looking bar erected in the corner. It’s a large, open space and every square inch of wall, ceiling, and perimeter floor space is filled with bikes, posters of past Sturgis rallies, license plates, old news clippings, and every kind of hangable motorcycle and Harley Davidson memorabilia. If you keep your eyes peeled you might even spot a bear riding by in a sidecar. 

I wasn't joking when I said every surface. 

Behind the bar you’ll find Sporty, pouring whatever you’re in the mood for. And providing at least one story, free of charge, to go with each drink. If there’s one thing Sporty loves, it’s talking about all the friends he’s made over 40 years of riding around the country. In fact, many of those friends volunteered to help him build the bar, over the course of several weekends, over a decade ago. No matter if you ride yourself or not, I guarantee Sporty’s got a story for you.  

What better on a rainy day than a game of pool and some darts!

We didn’t adventure much beyond the main bar during our visit, but Sporty’s also has an alcohol free dining room in back, and a large field and hill out back that is open for camping in the warmer months and hosts a few events throughout the season including a hill climb in the spring. I’m definitely putting Sporty’s on my list for a ride down this way come spring. 

Witherbee’s Carriage House — an Adirondack original

Located just a minutes drive from downtown Schroon Lake, Witherbee’s is one of the most welcoming and unique places I’ve experienced in the Adirondacks. Stepping through the doors, Adirondack heirlooms from throughout the years adorn the walls of Witherbee’s, many of which have been there since the restaurant fist opened in the 60’s. The friendly looking sign in the entryway invited us upstairs to the second floor bar for dinner. Calling it a bar might be a little disingenuous, as the upstairs is a large bar and dining area with a super cozy fire that we instantly gravitated towards. Large comfy couches and the waves of warmth rolling off the fire were the prefect cure for the less than great outdoor conditions. 

The start of a beautiful relationship between me and this fireplace. If I lived closer you'd find me here every Sunday, Bloody Mary in hand. Speaking of which....

Bloody Mary’s to die for

If there’s one thing that warms the cockles of my heart, it’s a well made Bloody Mary. So when the board behind the bar exclaimed the special drink of the day was “Bill’s Bloody Mary," what could I do but order one. If you’re a Bloody Mary fan, look no further than Bill’s Bloody Mary. I mistakenly made the bad judgement that their Bloody Mary's were made from a pre-made mix when I saw the bartender pouring our drinks from a jug. I was surprised to say the least when the resulting Bloody Mary was darn near perfect. Moderately spicy with a good amount of horseradish, just the way I like it. When I asked further, it turns out that “Bill’s Bloody Mary" is named after the owners patented recipe is so popular here that they make the mix in-house by the gallon to keep up with demand and to ensure consistency. Each batch is lovingly crafted by Bill himself. It’s got all your standard ingredients, plus an extra ingredient I’d never heard of in a Bloody Mary before, “to give it a little extra zip,” as Bill says. He told me what it is, but I’m not giving away his secrets! you’ll have to ask him yourself if you want to know.
If Bloody Mary's aren't your speed, Andrea gives the "Witherbee's Wellwood" a bottoms-up rating as well. 

Meat and potatoes done right

Nothing goes better with a rainy day than a stick to your ribs dinner. Witherbee’s menu is your fairly typical American fare of burgers, sandwiches, steaks, and more. But they take the time to do it right. I was on-board with Prime Rib special and Andrea liked the looks of their burger. Both were stellar. The Prime Rib was cooked perfectly as ordered and I loved the golden beets on the side. A nice Witherbee's touch. 

It is a scientific fact that burgers taste better when held together with a steak knife. 

Make it a weekend

If you're in the area for the weekend, Witherbee's owners Bill and Patricia have built a collection of small lakeview cabins just up the hill. The Adirondack Lakes Cabins are the perfect basecamp for your next Schroon Lake adventure! 
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