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Best Summer Bars in Saratoga

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Best Summer Bars / Nightlife in Saratoga Springs

As the Skidmore students pack up, and the track-goers take their place, Saratoga’s population nearly doubles, giving a whole new meaning to the word nightlife in Spa City. With so many bars and clubs to choose from, the choice of where to go once summer rolls around can be a little daunting. Here’s our picks for the Best Summer Bars in Saratoga!

Saratoga City TavernSaratoga City Tavern

There are bars to start off your night and bars to end it. The cool thing about Saratoga City Tavern is that it’s actually five bars in one, making it a one-stop shop, even for the finickiest of bar-hoppers. Five different themed floors make up the space, helpful as well if you’re feeling indecisive on any particular evening.

The first floor, which resembles an “Old Saratoga Tavern,” has a long mahogany bar, hearty tavern fare (try their pizzas), and live music every Thursday-Sunday. Up another flight and you’ll find a haven for sports fans—a sports-themed bar with flat screen tvs that align every wall and sporty décor like baseball pennants and team posters. If you’re looking for something on the quieter side, the third floor features a comfy, lounge type atmosphere, with exposed brick walls, a fireplace that’s inviting even in the summer, a pool table and a room filled with plush couches. By the time you’ve climbed the stairs to the fourth floor, you’ve reached the dance party. With strobe lights, glistening bodies and music that makes your chest thump, this floor is all about the moves. And though the fifth floor is a long way up (while there is an elevator, it’s usually jam packed), it’s well worth it to reach Saratoga’s only rooftop bar. The view is nothing short of spectacular and you can see all of downtown Saratoga. On a perfect summer night, drink in hand, the top floor of the Tavern is where you want to be.

Saratoga City Tavern
21 Caroline Street

Desperate Annie'sDesperate Annie’s

Desperate Annie’s is the epitome of a great local dive. Also located on Caroline Street, there’s no Saratoga glitz here– it’s small but never stuffy, dim but not dark and the drinks are strong and prices cheap. (It is, however, cash only.)

Known for having the best jukebox in town and a desire to please their customers (they encourage jukebox suggestions on their FB page), on any given night I’ve heard everything from the Talking Heads to The Velvet Underground; they’ve also added a lot of great local music to the mix.

Thursday is Trivia night and there’s always a game of pool, foosball and darts going.  Like any great dive, you can carve your name onto your table or add to the graffiti in the bathroom (in the girls room, there’s a punk rock unicorn that always catches my eye). If you’re looking for an unpretentious good time, DA’s is the bar you’ve been looking for.

Desperate Annie’s
12 Caroline Street

Sperry's SaratogaSperry’s

Sperry’s has been a Saratoga tradition since 1932. It was recently revamped by the same people who energized Hattie’s and created Broadway’s Circus Café. The ambiance is undoubtedly “Classic Saratoga,” with racing memorabilia and mindful touches that make you think the place hasn’t changed since prohibition, with its mahogany bar, red leather booths and black and white tiled floor.

The talk of the town is the “new” Sperry’s and I’ve heard mixed reviews about the food, but I guess when you’re paying $30+ an entree, there’s reason to be discerning.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is Sperry’s signature cocktails and their gorgeous garden/patio area. The patio includes an upper terrace and a lower courtyard, with a full bar and gently lit trees. It’s been called the finest outdoor dining space in Saratoga and it is quite magical. A patio is an absolute must in the summertime and sipping on a cocktail surrounded by sparkling trees and a view is perfection.

Sperry’s Restaurant
30 1/2 Caroline Street

The Parting Glass, SaratogaThe Parting Glass

One of the oldest continuously run pub/restaurants in Saratoga, The Parting Glass is like a little piece of Ireland right here in town. The fact that it was established on St. Patrick’s Day in 1981 makes it particularly fun on St. Patty’s Day, but trust me when I say it doesn’t have to be the most Irish day of the year to grab a pint and some bangers and mash. The Parting Glass offers the usual pub fare but with flair, including authentic Irish specialties, and their cheeseburger club sandwiches and sweet potato fries are just as loved as their corned beef and cabbage.

Every Friday and Saturday night, there’s also live music featuring local favorites like Hair of the Dog, Joe’s Boys and Kevin Mckrell. Most importantly, however, is the beer. You’ll find all the Irish greats here…Smithwick’s, Guinness, Killian’s, Murphy’s, Harp and Bass, served in real pint glasses the way they should be (another plus: their darts are also steel tipped—the way they should be).

The Parting Glass
40-42 Lake Avenue

Putnam DenPutnam Den

Saratoga’s token lounge/nightclub/live music venue, Putnam Den has live music every night and a state-of-the-art house sound system, along with nightly drink specials and one hell of a happy hour. (They even encourage you to bring your dog!) There’s also a great patio area (covered in case of rain), and they’ve got nine bathrooms, which helps if you want to quickly return to the show.

On Thursday nights, the best in local and regionally touring bands come together for “low-dough or free show” and from 9pm-12am DJ PROPHET spins dub/dance/house/techno. Local favorites like SIRSY can often be found playing at the Den.

The club is right in the heart of Saratoga on Putnam Street, but set back from the hustle of it all. It’s a nice open space to take advantage of awesome drink specials and great live music.

Putnam Den
63A Putnam Street

Aubree Cutkomp is an Assistant Editor for The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.


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