For anyone who has ever visited the new-ish Barrel Saloon or the staple Albany Pump Station, you may be interested to know that changes are (possibly) underway.
In the case of the Pump Station, changes are definitely coming since the current brewmaster George de Piro has plans to leave the popular Albany restaurant/brewery and start a brew pub in Saratoga Springs.
I interviewed him not long ago for a field trip story
I did at the Pump Station, but while there he said he hoped to have the new business up and running by May since he did not want to start a new business during the track peak season. The Saratogian
also had some info on this since they covered a planning board meeting regarding this business proposal.
In other news....
When I was at the Barrel Saloon
- Rock and Roll Country Bar on Broadway in Albany (it's not too far from the Biergarten), I had the fortune of coincidentally meeting the owner there (Chris Pratt). I had (again coincidentally) emailed him earlier that week because a friend told me that if you drank the Birthday Trifecta
, aka the Trilogy, aka the boot, the teacup and the margarita, you got to drink for the rest of the night for free at the Barrel Saloon. Chris response was something along the lines of "nope, but that's amusing."
As it turns out, Chris is apparently good friends with the owner of the Biergarten, Olde English Pub, and Bomber's which do the Trifecta/Trilogy/heckofalottaalcohol. But, he had no plans for such a promotion.
While talking with him the other night (I went there for the Saloon's birthday drink - called the Dirty Swamp Water which is beer and lemonade served in a large, actual fish bowl), he said he was planning to hopefully expand the bar which currently has an outdoor mechanical bull in the warm months but no room for an indoor one during the rest of the year. Not sure where this stands in the planning process. I actually liked the bar the way it was - it was quaint with paneled wood everywhere, a decent menu (though we weren't particularly fond of their nachos, it was probably the canned chicken on top that killed it) and their live music was great. It felt just like a western bar, even the bouncers wore cowboy hats.
Morals of these stories are - check out the Pump Station before the brewmaster leaves (even though they'll likely serve similar beer afterward anyway) and go to the Barrel Saloon in the summer to check out the bull (but avoid the nachos).