By R.J. DeLuke
The vacant building at 17 Maple Ave. in Saratoga Springs—long a nightclub and most recently a high-end restaurant—is coming back to life.
A new craft beer garden and restaurant, with an old-fashioned coin-operated game room—the Sinclair—is set to open perhaps by early this summer, according to Hillary Morrison, who will be the owner and operator.
Morrison recently moved to the area from Los Angeles with her husband and two children. After years in operations management in Los Angeles at some of the city’s top venues, she said she is ready to realize her vision in the Sinclair. She is the daughter-in-law of local business owners Mark and Betty Straus.
“Saratoga has an incredible sense of community and I am so excited to be a part of such a great town. The beer garden and game room will be a place where everyone can enjoy outdoor vibes, and have some nostalgic fun,” she said.
The name, she said, comes from a restaurant of the same name that her great-great grandfather operated in Manhattan that was closed in 1925 for serving alcohol during the Prohibition.
While the Maple Avenue location had a nightclub atmosphere for many years—perhaps the most well-known incarnation being the Metro—Morrison said the Sinclair will be more of a bar atmosphere. The first floor will be the focus of activities for the bar and the public. The upstairs will be used as a private events space, available for people or groups to book for various occasions.
Morrison is going through the permitting process before renovations begin.
“It’s going to be a big makeover. Something that looks almost entirely unrecognizable to what it was before,” she said. It will include changes to the outdoor patio. A fire pit, a fountain, picnic tables and “a lot of green” will give it “an outdoor garden ambience.”
She said she hopes to open by the end of May.
Craft beers will be featured at the bar. “New York state has so many great craft breweries and cideries that I can’t wait to showcase,” she said, adding that she plans to make monthly trips to emerging breweries throughout the state whose beers aren’t distributed in the region in order to showcase all the state has to offer.
The game room will feature 80s and 90s classic pinball and arcade games like Ms. Pac Man, NBA Jam, Double Dragon and more, along with foosball tables and board games on a large communal table.
Live music is something that she will be considering.
Chef Rory Moran of Comfort Kitchen, her brother-in-law, has signed on as consulting chef.
The food will be German-inspired, she said, with a locally sourced menu and “a playful take on bar food classics … The aim is to make it affordable, approachable and something where you want to come back again and again.”
The business will employ 18 people to start, a number that will grow as the upstairs event space grows. “I’m really excited about starting our team,” she said. The hours, roughly, will be 3 p.m. to possibly 1 a.m.
“I’ve been so warmly welcomed by everyone in Saratoga,” said Morrison. ““I picture a lot of people smiling. I’m really excited to get it open again.”
The Sinclair can be followed on Twitter at @sinclairbeerbar and on Instagram at @thesinclairsaratoga.