Capital Region

Heaping Helpings: Local bars get creative to stay in step with state requirements, keep patrons satisfied

A $4 bruschetta plate will join several other items on the bar menu at The Waters Edge Lighthouse in the coming season.
A $4 bruschetta plate will join several other items on the bar menu at The Waters Edge Lighthouse in the coming season.

For the past several months, the age-old question, “Would you like to order some food with your drink?” hasn’t actually been a question — it’s a statement driven by a New York state requirement. As in, you can’t say no and still get that drink.

In case you were wondering, there’s no clear date as to when that rule might lift, and until then no alcoholic drinks can be served at bars or restaurants, upstate or downstate, without also being accompanied by a food order. You don’t actually have to consume the food (you can get it to go), but you’ve got to order it and pay for it, which is why some Capital Region bars are embracing their creative sides to respect the rules while they patiently wait for the mandate to be dropped.

Now that spring has arrived and vaccinations are open to anyone of legal drinking age, those who might have been a bit more hesitant to head out for an adult beverage might soon be feeling the draw to get back out there. If that’s you, here’s the 4-1-1 on some of the food you might want to consider adding to your order, whether you’re sipping a gin and tonic or your favorite craft beer.

Centre Street Public House and Beer Garden, Schenectady
With a full menu including everything from sandwiches and burgers to pizza, those simply seeking a drink can opt for a side of french fries ($4), pierogies ($8), poutine ($9) or eight different kinds of wings ($14).

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Clinton’s Ditch, Schenectady
Top options for those not looking for a full meal include chicken tenders ($9), stuffed mushrooms ($12), jalapeno poppers ($9) and shrimp cocktail ($12).

Druthers Brewing Company, Schenectady
For anyone seeking to sip rather than grab a full meal, waitstaff typically point patrons in the direction of shareable items such as fries ($3) or their beer cheese dip, which is served with pretzels and suitable for a group ($13).

The Shaker & Vine, Schenectady
The charcuterie board is their best seller ($14 for the small, which serves 1-2 people; $28 for the large, which serves 4-6), but in terms of desserts, their chocolate chip cookie dough cake ($10) is just as popular.

Wolff’s Biergarten, Schenectady
Since their full kitchen isn’t up and running just yet, bar snacks abound, including hot dogs or soft pretzels (both $2) with cheese sauce, as well as chips and salsa ($1).

Waters Edge Lighthouse, Glenville
Although currently offering bruschetta ($4) at the bar, the restaurant is planning to add two or three $3 items to its menu to serve patrons this summer.

The Hollow Bar, Albany
The appetizer menu is where it’s at for those seeking to sip and snack, with wings ($12), four kinds of quesadillas ($9), fries ($5), chips and dip ($9), and a hummus board ($14) among top offerings.

Wolff’s Biergarten, Albany
Bavarian pretzels ($2) and hot dogs ($2) are top sellers for beer-imbibing patrons, but they also offer signature bratwurst, weisswurst and cheddar wurst on brioche buns (all $8).

Hamlet & Ghost, Saratoga
As long as there’s one food item on the receipt, all is well, with “beverage-friendly” food items including their duck-fat french fries ($12), cheese curds ($12), as well as their warm bread and butter ($6). Guests can also opt for dessert ($6-$8) and even ask to have it packed to go for a late-night snack.

Henry Street Taproom, Saratoga
No special menu per se, but bar patrons tend to opt for a side of fries ($5), the pickle plate ($6), or the oysters ($14 for six; $26 for a dozen). Their creme brulee ($14) is also recommended and is designed to serve two.

Gaffney’s, Saratoga
Budget-friendly sides include french fries, waffle fries or sweet potato fries (all $6), salt & vinegar pub chips ($6), or a house salad ($5), as well as a 4-oz. portion of meat chili ($3).

Putnam Place, Saratoga
Since last summer, this music venue has been serving hot dogs for $1 apiece, although some patrons have been known to order extras as the night wears on. If you’re not one for hot dogs, ask for a doggy bag shortly before you leave and take them home to feed your pups.

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Categories: Food, Heaping Helpings, Life and Arts

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