My friends in Callicoon were having a couple of shindigs to celebrate Shirley’s birthday. This is always a great time with a dinner at Eldred Preserve, a restaurant and bar and a lake where you can catch your own fish if you feel so inclined. Then the next day Fred and Shirley throws a great party that is catered by Mr. Willie’s (that was stop number 556) and the food is great. I brought cheesecakes from Juniors. When I go to Callicoon I usually stay at The Western Hotel.
672) The Western Hotel
This hotel was built in 1852 and still retains much of the same feeling of that long ago era. The current owner, a real character named Joe Naughton, has owned the place since 1969 and he and his wife Leona have spent a lot of time and energy selecting antique furniture and fixtures for the tap room, lobby, and dining room. The bar top itself is fairly new looking but I suspect that is just because it is so well taken care of. The front of the bar has a rough brick front and a brass rail The back bar is quite ornate with mirrors and cabinets with glass door at each end. There is kind of a plain red Formica top above coolers with wooden doors and silver latches and handles. A World War II era Marine issue shotgun with a bayonet hangs above the mirrors. The walls are dark red paneling and there is a new television above the jukebox on the wall opposite the bar. I don’t recall ever seeing the old one turned on though and this one was turned off too.
There is an old barber chair off to one side and an upright piano that was being played by a young girl who was attending a wake. Apparently it was just breaking up because there were a number of people at the bar saying there goodbyes. It was one of the cheeriest wakes I had ever seen. In fact I asked the bartender if there was a wedding party going on.
If you ever get to Callicoon be sure to stop in and say “Hi” to Joe. And if you want a place to stay, this is your only choice. Unless you want to stay at the Olympia next door.
I had a glass of Sarnac Pale Ale.
673) Sidetracks - No Mercy Inn
Just down the street a bit is this old small town bar that has been around forever. Although the name and the owner may change, not much else has. It has an old bar with a tile foot rest and chrome bar stools with black leather seats. Monkey’s seem to be everywhere. The owner, Sharon, said she doesn’t even particularly like monkeys but she bought a couple and then friends and customers continue to give her new ones. I particularly liked the large inflated monkey hanging from an airplane that hung over the bar.
The longer you look, the more monkeys you see. There are also some old fireman hats sitting on wooden shelves behind the bar. Lots of accumulated clutter, just like you would expect. Pretty much plywood paneled walls and a light tile ceiling. There are a couple small mirrors behind the bar with art deco style figures of women etched into them. Small metal edged shelves mounted on dividers covered with snapshots hold the liquor.
There is a good sized back room with a pool table, a foosball table, and an electronic dartboard. Lots of tables and chairs to sit at and have a drink when they have live music. Olive Drab was playing tonight.
I had a bottle of Budweiser.
674) Eldred Preserve
Tucked away in the woods is this good-sized restaurant and bar. It has several large dining areas and we had half of one to ourselves for our party. Very nice, with a DJ spinning tunes and great appetizers, shrimp, crab claws, stuffed mushrooms, and, my favorite, troutlings. Troutlings are the house specialty and are little trout about the size of your small finger, lightly battered and deep-fried. Delicious. The food was great too. Bar Man had a wonderful lobster and the prime ribs looked great too.
But, enough of that. People were already noshing at the appetizer table when I got there so I ducked out to the bar for a drink with Alice (she didn't drink though) before joining in the festivities.
Alice, The Bartender And Keeper Of The Squirrels
The bar is kind of a rectangular shape with an extension to the left. It is old and wooden and has a brass rail. Behind to bar was a bulletin board with a lot of fishing lures and there are also several large mounted fish. There is also a large sign that says “Squirrel Corners” and another one that looks like one of those signs with the prancing deer that you see along the road. This one has a squirrel instead with “Squirrel Xng” written on it. The place has a nice hunting lodge feel to it.
I had a quick Tanqueray and tonic and then joined the party.