Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ithaca Bar Terroir

Just as a wine's terroir is defined with each minute detail of its production, bars have personalities, infused by their location, owners, patrons, decor, offerings, and so many other factors. There aren't a ton of bars in downtown Ithaca, but each definitely has its own distinct character and serves its own unique customer base. While some bars are great for hanging out with friends, they maybe aren't so great for meeting new people. Meanwhile, others are good for live music, or for dancing your ass off. Here's my breakdown of the downtown Ithaca bar personalities.

Date Night: Check out Madeline's, Mia, or Mercato (the three M's?), for classy [pricey] drinks and dessert. For a more casual but still date-y atmosphere, Felicia's Atomic Lounge is a good spot.
Just gotta dance: Moonshadows (AKA Moonies), Silky Jones, though both are hit or miss as far as dance partners are concerned
Most likely to have a sketchy encounter with a stranger: Moonies...

Welcome to the Westy
Hang with friends: The Westy (where you are encouraged to bring your own food to share with friends at picnic tables, plus $3 draft nights every Sunday and Wednesday), Bandwagon (a little on the well-lit and quiet side to be a great spot for a date, but good for a flight of beer with friends), Silky Jones during the week (sometimes it is way too loud in there for no reason, but the bar snack is Goldfish, so that's a definite plus), The Chapter House (which is really in lower Collegetown, but too good not to mention! also sports the picnic tables, complete with ancient student carvings). The Westy and Silky both have games like Apples to Apples and Scrabble that are available to patrons, and Chappy, which has been around forever, has pool tables and free popcorn.
Bandwagon Flight
Townie bar: The Westy, Northstar Restaurant, The Creeker, Chanticleer
Best shot at local music: Lot 10, Felicia's, Chapter House, or The Haunt (Oh, how I miss Castaways!)
Big Nasty Jazz Band at Felicia's

Beer: Chapter House (more than 40 on tap every night, with lots of local/craft brews), the Ale House, Bandwagon Brewpub
Wine: Corks 'n More (a wine bar where you can try small amounts of lots of different kinds of wine), Mercato (not so good with the local options, though)
Cocktails: Felicia's (try the Carried Away, a cocktail made with caraway-infused vodka and lavender syrup, or a fig Manhattan) and Mercato
Mercato Cocktails
Whiskey: Northstar Restaurant in Fall Creek (okay okay I did work there, but seriously), Simeon's (try a flight of whiskeys)
Best outside seating: The Westy (their beer garden is huge and also home to a food truck perfect for anyone with drunk munchies), Felicia's, Viva (the ultimate outdoor seating for people-watchers, as its picnic tables are right along the Aurora Street restaurant row)

The Westy beer garden and Good Food Truck!
Not that I watch sports ever, but I guess if you wanted to: 2nd Floor Bar, Joe's Sports Bar
Best Happy Hour: Viva ($2 Dos Equis and $3 basic margaritas, 4-6pm!)
Trivia: Seems like every bar in town has trivia once during the tamer beginning of the week
Monday: Chapter House and Silky Jones
Tuesday: Moonies
Wednesday: Pixel Lounge (in Collegetown), Kilpatrick's

Enjoying some flights at Bandwagon with friends!

On a personal note, I am sad to say that Boozequest as I initially imagined it is coming to a close. I have accepted a position at a distillery in San Francisco (woooo! check it out- Distillery 209), starting mid-August, so this is sadly my last post about good booze in the Finger Lakes. However, I definitely intend to embark on a new boozequest when I get to the west coast, with a guide to the bay area local booze scene as I explore my new home! 

Thank you for sharing Boozequest Part One with me, please stick around for the new chapter of my search!

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