No matter the season, grabbing a bite to eat and a drink after a day outdoors is, like, the best thing ever. I’d say it’s probably a close second to actually being outdoors. Saranac Lake, with its abundance of recreation opportunities, is also home to a variety of bars, cafes, and restaurants that are serving up some of the most delicious, most refreshing cocktails, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages. Of course, it’s not all about hiking and being outdoorsy here. Even after a day shopping or exploring art galleries, there’s a drink waiting for you in Saranac Lake!
The craft brew crew
If you’re a beer drinker, I know you look forward to that post-hike beer. Thankfully, there are a few craft breweries around Saranac Lake that can help you scratch that itch! Ray Brook Brewhouse, Hex & Hop, and Blue Line Brewery are all different and unique. Just climbed Baker Mountain in town and don’t want to leave town limits? Head to Blue Line Brewery for a variety of beers named after regional features and landmarks (don't forget to get a pizza, too). Neighboring the trailhead for Haystack and McKenzie, Ray Brook Brewhouse has a lot brewing, from craftier brews to the simple yet refreshing Beer (yes, it’s just a smooth, light lager for those who want just a regular beer). After a mellow walk to Moose Pond or the Bloomingdale Bog on the other side of town, Hex & Hop is serving creative and inspired beers that are certainly creating a buzz. At the end of the day, there isn’t a right or wrong way to enjoy a craft beverage in Saranac Lake!
Warm drinks for cool days and nights
Beer, wine, and cocktails are not for everyone. And that is perfectly alright, because Saranac Lake does not discriminate! From coffee to tea to specialty sodas, you’ll find a wide variety of drinks to warm you up on cool mornings or quench your thirst around lunchtime. Blue Line Brewery and Ray Brook Brewhouse both offer craft sodas. (Pro tip: don’t sleep on the Ginger Beer with ice and lime at Ray Brook Brewhouse.) For something warmer, Origin Coffee is an absolute must. The butternut squash chai latte is seriously the best thing I’ve ever tasted. I even had to move out of the village so I wouldn’t drink so many. (Absence makes the heart grow fonder.) But even beyond the squash lattes, Origin has become a regional favorite, serving hot drinks with tasty twists. Nori’s Village Market is another hot drink hot spot in town. The cafe here is filled with art and wonderful aromas. Seriously, who doesn’t love the combo of coffee and sweet desserts? If coffee doesn't sound like it will hit the spot, try a smoothie! If you want a sit down meal with your morning cup o’ joe, Blue Moon Cafe has (in my opinion) the best breakfast in town and serves coffee in a range of blends, flavors, and strengths. Everything is so good you’ll probably want to stay for lunch, too!
A hiker, an artist, and a traveler walk into a bar ….
Just kidding, there’s no punch line here. All you need to know is that no matter your taste, there’s a bar in Saranac Lake where everybody knows your name. The Waterhole is known for live music, so if you’re looking for some dancing to partner with your drink, I’d go here. To really get in the authentically Adirondack spirit, Bitters & Bones has embraced the rustic decor of the mountains and paired it with modern industrial looks to create a one-of-a-kind bar! Just writing this makes me want a Ginger & Apple Hot Toddy. For a hometown feel, stop by Romano’s Sports Bar & Grill or Grizle T’s to grab a pint while you watch your favorite sports team play (#GoBills). If the chill in the fall air isn’t your style, head to Casa del Sol for a sunny taste of Mexico, complete with margaritas!
Want to drink and stay in the same building, well, then Saranac Lake has you covered! The stunning and historic Hotel Saranac has not one, but two bars guests and visitors can visit. Gather round at Campfire Adirondack Grill + Bar or head up to the grand Great Hall Bar to admire the restored hotel while you sip on their signature cocktail, the Hot Sara. One of Saranac Lake’s newest additions to the scene, the Saranac Waterfront Lodge, is fitted with a special bar shaped like a boat at Boathouse: Saranac Lake Pub. If you want to unwind at the end of the day next to the water, this is the spot; it’s literally lakeside!
I asked some locals their favorite places and drinks in Saranac Lake. Here’s what everyone had to say:
- Brooke: "A lavender latte at Origin is my favorite!"
- Jasen: "The absolute best sour beer I've ever had is 'Moose Jam' from Hex and Hop. It is really a great beer."
- Savannah: "A beer from Grizle T's!"
- Kenzie: "I especially love grabbing a drink on the new patio at Bitters & Bones, which has new heaters to keep you warm in the chillier temps."
- Nick: "Origin's menu changes a lot, but all the Ethiopian and Kenyan coffee I've had are very good. As for cocktails, I like the Humblebee and the Campfire 21 at Fiddlehead Bistro."
- Rhiannon: "A vanilla latte from Nori's or the Waterhole for live music, especially during summer months for Party on the Patio!"
- Patrick: "The bar at the Downhill Grill is one of my go-tos. The bartenders are friendly and it's just a relaxing atmosphere."
- Brandon: "No matter the season, it's got to be a margarita at Casa del Sol."
- Jen: "The 'Starlight' cocktail at Left Bank Cafe is always a perfect pairing with a perfect meal there. I very highly recommend."
I’m all for having a beer (or two) after time spent exploring. Or drinking a ton of great coffee. But please remember to always drink responsibly. There are plenty of places to stay in Saranac Lake and there’s always room for a new adventure.