Better Than Your Average Bar: Berkshire County’s Hidden Gems
By Amy Krzanik
We at Rural Intelligence eat and drink our way through the region’s towns as a service to our readers (you’re welcome) and we thought it was time for a followup to reporter Jamie Larson’s roundups on drink and snack places in the southern Berkshires and Columbia County’s oldest bars. Turns out there’s more in Berkshire County to explore. You may have overlooked some of these bars that have surprisingly good food and a friendly ambience.
The Red Herring
Tucked beneath Images Cinema on Williamstown’s main street, The Red Herring is a sometimes-overlooked spot for a quiet pre-show snack or a drink to finish movie night off right. During the height of summer, you’ll find Williamstown Theatre Festival actors and interns bringing the post-show party to the bar and outdoor tables. Lighter fare includes a hummus plate with artichoke, feta, olives and pita triangles; and fries or onion rings with sriracha mayo. More substantial fare can be found in the homemade shepherd’s pie; and chicken or pulled pork picnic plate (which comes with your choice of two sides: slaw, baked beans or mac and cheese). As it states on the menu, this might just be the “best little bar in town.”
46 Spring Street, Williamstown, MA
Bar open daily from 5 p.m.-1 a.m., until 2 a.m. on Saturdays.
Kitchen closes at 10 p.m.
The Tavern at Haflinger Haus
This four-year-old restaurant, tavern, and inn offers Austrian cuisine (think wiener schnitzel, Hungarian goulash and potato pancakes) along with pub favorites like a great lightly breaded haddock; a soft pretzel with obatza (cheese); and crispy waffle fries. More options are available on the fine dining menu (served in the adjacent dining room but also available to tavern patrons) including an entire schnitzel section (one delicious-sounding example: slow roasted pork shank with Haus apple sauerkraut, handmade dumpling and Haus-made apple sauce), as well as classics such as filet mignon and Haus cordon bleu. A large wine selection, specialty cocktails, bottled beers and drafts such as Hofbrau, Franziskaner Weisse, Spaten Lager and others round out the menu. Offering live music on weekends and outdoor seating on the porch in the summertime, this haus is the perfect place to relax after a bike or snowshoe trip on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.
17 Commercial Street, Adams, MA
Tuesday-Thursday: 4-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday: 4-11 p.m.; Sunday: 4-8 p.m.
Paddy’s, opened at the end of July 2015 in the spot previously home to Shamrock’s, is much more than your neighborhood Irish bar. Executive Chef Xavier Jones is at the helm of a surprisingly swank menu that makes it difficult to choose just one delicious and inspired entree. Fried oysters for a starter followed by boneless braised short ribs? Or bourbon butternut bisque and then a build-your-own pasta or polenta dish with a variety of meat and sauce options? Making tastebuds water even more is an entire page of specials every weekend that may include options such as seafood cioppino, cheese ravioli marsala and lobster mac and cheese. As for libations, be sure to check out the chalkboard near the bar for what’s on tap, as well as for specialty cocktails including coconut cream pie or peppermint mocha martinis and a selection of hot toddies.
645 Main Street, Dalton, MA
Monday: 4-9 p.m.; Tuesday-Saturday: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Dewey’s Public House
Formerly known as The Milltown Tavern, the new Dewey’s Public House has kept the same set-up and loyal clientele, who nightly pack the bar area and enjoy meals with the family in the dining room. Quirky treats like beer-battered dill pickles and perennial favorites like truffle fries will keep snackers happy, while more serious diners can enjoy a nice ribeye, risotto cakes, or hand-tossed pizza with homemade sauce and beer-infused dough. A wide selection of brews keep the crowd coming back. Find out what Dewey’s has to offer at a special five-course wine dinner on January 28 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets will go fast, so call soon for reservations.
16 Depot Street, Dalton, MA
Monday, Wednesday & Thursday: 5-11 p.m.; Friday: 5 p.m.-12 a.m.
Saturday: 12 p.m.-12 a.m.; Sunday: 12 p.m.-10 p.m.
20 Railroad Street
With something to please everyone’s palate – from bratwurst and bison burgers to Vietnamese spring rolls and a salmon salad – it’s no wonder 20 Railroad is a perennial South County favorite. The spot’s comfortable and classic pub feel is a step up from a “watering hole” for sure, but won’t alienate the lone diner who wants to grab some hot wings after a hard day’s work. Especially appreciated are the drink options not often found outside of specialty liquor stores, like Lindemans lambics and organic beer and cider. A note to newcomers: the front door is located down a short brick alleyway on the right of the building. Just follow the sign.
20 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, MA
Everyday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Bar open until midnight.