It may be my new favorite restaurant, but then again I'm not sure. After all, I only went three times in one week. No joke! I went once on a date with my husband, then with some friends and their families after they heard how much we enjoyed it, and again when my sister and her fiancée were in town. The place? A small little pub and teahouse located on Beekman Street affectionately known as The Local. With a menu full of options for any appetite and having an inviting atmosphere, it's a watering hole and a family friendly restaurant that won't empty your wallet. If you've never been, you're missing out on one of the best kept secrets hidden in the art district of Saratoga Springs.
The first thing you should know is that this restaurant is extremely easy to find, but for some reason it took me almost eight months to discover it. Located on the corner of Beekman Street and Grand Avenue, parking will probably be your hardest task besides trying to figure out what delicious entrée you will be eating. I say that because it only takes a minute or two finding a spot to park along one of the side streets. Once you're done with that, you have two options on where you can sit: inside the restaurant or outside in the pub garden (wouldn't recommend the later in the winter though). Inside The Local, one of the first things you'll notice is the wood bar that seats over a dozen folks. After that, there's the stone fireplace, mugs hanging above the bar, a chalk beer list also hanging above the bar, booths on the far end of the restaurant, and pub styling tables with leather ottomans on casters in the front. Of course, you also have your standard darts and television as any traditional bar does.
Outside, however, has more of a "beer garden" feel with stone/gravel walkways, modern Adirondack chairs, café style tables, and lights hanging along the fence and in the trees. To me, after a long winter, I can't think of a more relaxing place to have dinner. And then to top things off, The Local also has some great events which are also posted on their Facebook page; and from the looks of it, they have bands that play there on a regular basis making it just another way to enjoy the evening.
Then comes the hardest part of going to The Local: trying to decide what to eat much less what to drink. Having been voted "Best Fish and Chips" and "Best Burger" in town, those two items seem like an obvious choice. But with a menu filled with Irish and English specialties all ranging from $6 to $15, it's hard to decide whether to get poutine fries, Sheppard's pie, a tea sandwich, a salad, or even the steak and chips. Even the kids menu is hard to pass up. The Local also has an unforgettable weekend brunch menu, served from 9:30am to 3:00pm, featuring Irish dishes to traditional pancakes. And by the time you're finish with everything, don't forget their dessert menu; once again it won't disappoint. Afterwards, if you haven't eaten yourself into a coma, you can always walk around Beekman to make yourself feel less guilty for eating all that tasty food.
In addition to the extensive menu, The Local also has an array of fine teas, craft beer, and specialty drinks. And for the record, this isn't another bar where the server doesn't know anything. If you want a suggestion of what might pair well with your meal, they are very quick with suggestions. This is one of those places I almost wished my husband and I fought more so I would have an excuse to escape to have a decent draft beer. On our first visit to The Local, one of my husband's first questions was in regards to their Mug Club. With only 220 spots available and a wait list to boot, our waitress informed us of the many benefits of becoming a member. For starters, every member receives a personal mug which is hung above the bar. When you then order a beer, because it's a 20oz mug, you get four extra ounces of beer for free not to mention the Mug Club specials every Monday and Tuesday. Members also get an invitation for the Annual Mug Club party where they also receive a Mug Club t-shirt. Let me just say, I'm thinking I may need to get on that waitlist.
The Local, which has been honored as one of the "best neighborhood bars," definitely lives up to its reputation as the place where locals go because it's so good. For personal reasons, I love the fact that I can go to a place, not have to drive here and there for parking, get a great meal without breaking the bank, have a decent drink, and bring my family. It was embarrassing to admit that I went so often in one week, but when you find a place you love, it's hard not going back several times. It's hard to believe such a small place could have such a large personality, but that's what makes it unique. No doubt, this is my favorite local restaurant.