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Best Summer Bars in Syracuse (Syracuse Blog)

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Best Summer Bars in Syracuse

Let’s face it: Syracuse is a hip party town. With plenty of live music and restaurants, there are also plenty of bars and in the summer, bars are hip places to be. If you’re in the area and crave a beverage, or are visiting, here’s a list of the best summer bars to visit in Syracuse.

1. The Blue Tusk

The Blue TuskLocated in the heart of historic Armory Square in downtown Syracuse, the Blue Tusk is a unique, yet casual bar. Known for its quality in all departments, the Blue Tusk is sure to have a crowd every day of the week. Inside, the bar is spacious and comfortable, easily accommodating to both intimate parties and large groups. During the spring and summer months the outdoor patio is a popular place, with easy bar access and an attentive staff.

Although there is no actual waitstaff, the food offered here is worth getting up for. The casual ordering-style is done at the counter, and personal buzzers are handed out to customers which vibrate when the food is ready. The menu consists of hot Panini and cold deli sandwiches, cheese and meat platters, specialty salads and more.

One of the most impressive things about the Blue Tusk is its vast and ever-changing list of wines and beers, featuring everything from international specialty beers, rare vintage bottles of wine and locally brewed ales to nationally recognized brands. 165 Walton Street, Syracuse;

2. Coleman’s

Coleman'sSummer is always in full swing at Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub. Located in another historic area of Syracuse, Tipperary Hill, this bar and restaurant is covered in historic Irish novelties and has been around for well over 50 years. Since then the pub has tripled in size, but the Irish attitude and charm resonating within the walls has stayed the same. Whether you’re Irish or not, Coleman’s is a well respected, welcoming and well maintained bar.

Something special about Coleman’s, besides the separate leprechaun entrance and truck of green beer that is delivered on St. Patrick’s Day, is the Summer Block Party.  This is an event that Coleman’s puts on every Thursday night throughout the summer months. Live music, drink specials and good times had by all are only a few of the reasons this event has become so popular around the Syracuse area. Two bands play the Block Party each Thursday night, varying in genre. One band plays outside from 6:30pm-10pm with the second band playing inside from 10pm-1:30am. While driving by the pub between these hours, you’re guaranteed to see the parking lot filled with happy people, enjoying a summer night out with friends and family. 100 South Lowell Ave, Syracuse;

3. The Retreat

The RetreatThe name says it all. The Retreat, located in the village of Liverpool, has one of the largest and nicest patios in the city. It’s the perfect getaway for those who want to enjoy a relaxing meal or a drink with friends. When the sun is shining and the weather is just right, the red brick floor and multicolored umbrellas really give the place a “summer getaway” kind of look. The best part about the Retreat and its patio is that there is an outdoor full-service bar attached.

If the summer weather seems to be taking a vacation of its own, inside the building the restaurant looks like a home away from home. Dark wooden walls, decorative light fixtures and bar signs mix perfectly together for a family and friends atmosphere. Inside the dining area there are also 25 high-definition televisions and a 110-inch projector screen to play all of the customer’s favorite sports games. The website even guarantees “college or pro, the game you want is almost sure to be on.” 302 Vine Street, Liverpool;

4. J. Ryan’s

J. Ryan'sFor an all-American bar experience, J. Ryan’s is the place to go. The atmosphere is that of a normal bar – a few pool tables, a jukebox, a dart board, enough seating for a large group of people, a small outdoor patio, but no separate party or event rooms. Although it may seem like there is nothing special about a bar like J. Ryan’s in downtown Syracuse, you may think again after being presented with the beer selection.

J. Ryan’s features over 60 beers offered on tap alone. In addition, they also have at least one cask beer at all times. These beers are ever-changing and can sometimes surprise the customers. Although J. Ryan’s is not known to have any kind of rare beer on tap, occasionally they will. The staff is friendly and helpful and offers samples of anything that’s available before you make your purchase.

Although the space that is now J. Ryan’s was once the home of two other bars, Macgregor’s and Kelly Coles, it looks like this bar has made its mark and is here to stay. 253 East Water Street, Syracuse; 315-399-5533 ‎

5. Blue Water Grill

Blue Water Grill Although the Blue Water Grill, located in the town of Skaneateles, is much more of a restaurant than a bar, it had to be included. The restaurant has an impressive menu and an array of different beers and wines to choose from. While browsing the list of foods available you’ll find everything from a baked brie appetizer to a Philly cheese steak sandwich. There is something for everyone, at moderate prices.

What makes the Blue Water Grill a great location is the view. Right on the shores of Skaneateles Lake, the view from the patio space is absolutely breathtaking. If you’re looking for a great place to gather with friends or to have a romantic night out, this is it. Come here for dinner and drinks and you’re bound to get a free show around 8pm as the sun starts to set over the water. 11 West Genesee Street, Skaneateles; 315-685-6600

Elise Miklich is a Contributor to 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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