Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hamlet & Ghost craft cocktail bar to open Tuesday

Brendan Dillon in a familiar spot.
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Hamlet & Ghost, the new craft cocktail lounge that will guarantee you a seat, today announced it will begin a soft opening at 5 p.m. Tuesday, January 26.

An official grand opening party has been scheduled for Wednesday, February 3 -- ribbon cutting at 4:15 p.m., and party at 5:30. On that one day, the guaranteed seating policy will be suspended.

Otherwise, the Caroline Street bar’s host will manage a text/call wait list, and the bar will only accommodate 50 guests at a time. Seating will be in three areas: a banquette along the front windows, a classic bar counter in the middle, and a more intimate area with small tables and a 16-foot curved banquette in the back.

"After many months of planning and extensive renovations to this historical building, we’re excited to share our interpretation of speakeasy hospitality with a contemporary flair," said owner Brendan Dillon, who spent five years behind the bar at nearby Max London's. His partner in the venture is local businessman Dennis Kiingati.

"Unlike most bars, every server here will be fully trained to tend bar, so they will have exceptional knowledge of how the drinks are made," Dillon says. "They will offer personal attention to help our guests find just the right cocktail to suit their mood and palate."

The interior of the circa 1870s building is a blend of exposed brick from the original feed-and-grain store, reclaimed wood from a local mushroom farm, a poured-concrete bar flanked by white subway-style wall tile, and industrial-style seating and lighting.

The seasonal cocktail menu will consist of 9 to 14 specialty drinks as well as a line of craft beers, wines, and Champagnes. The cocktails will be made with fresh-pressed juices and housemade bitters and tinctures. For the opening period, such concoctions as the Spice Hound (Ancho Reyes chili liqueur with Tequila Ocho Añejo) and a Milk Punch (tea-infused Battenkill Valley Creamery milk, rum and nutmeg).

The establishment will offer a small-plates menu to complement the drinks. Colin Murphy is the chef, and Brady Dillon the sous chef. Their menu has not yet been unveiled, but we do know it will include such items as wagyu beef steak with hand-cut steak frites with turmeric aioli, and a Cognac-soaked pear tartine.

Hamlet & Ghost is located at 24 Caroline Street at the intersection with Putnam Street. Hours: Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. until midnight and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. Closed on Sundays. Phone: 450-7287.

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