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Taproom 49
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Caffe lena explore saratoga 20170305 024 cover 1

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A Downtown Saratoga Guide to Drinking with Your Parents

Sometime near the end of college, around the beginning of that painful transition to the real world, you start to recognize that your parents are people too, and they’re probably cooler than you gave them credit for. You might also realize how little you actually know about their pre-minivan life. What better way to break that ice than over a couple of cocktails, followed by a few pints, in downtown Saratoga? Worst case scenario, free drinks for you, because, hey, they’re the ones with the 401K plan. Best case scenario, over an excessively expensive scotch purchased by your straight-laced dad you learn that during the mid-eighties he randomly quit his job to camp for an extended period of time on a Caribbean island... In honor of mom and dad, we put together a little guide for drinking in downtown with your parents. As any good night out goes, it starts with classy cocktails and ends with cheap domestics. Cheers! PHASE ONE: Following the age-old adage “liquor before beer”, start the evening in style at one of these upscale locales, where the cocktail lists hold their own against acclaimed menus. Grab a bite to eat, because we wouldn’t want mom or dad drinking on an empty stomach. 15 Church A post shared by 15 Church Restaurant (@15church) on Apr 29, 2017 at 8:18am PDT Salt & Char A post shared by Jacob Hopper (@jacobhopper) on Oct 8, 2016 at 4:38pm PDT Fish at 30 Lake A post shared by Fish at 30 Lake (@fishat30lake) on May 16, 2017 at 12:12pm PDT PHASE TWO: Depending on your post-dinner preferences, any of the below are perfect spots for a digestif, where the focus is on a good drink, whether that be craft cocktails (Hamlet & Ghost), fantastic beer (Henry Street Taproom) or smooth bourbon (Bourbon Room), and a fun atmosphere. Hamlet & Ghost A post shared by Hamlet & Ghost (@hamletandghost) on May 12, 2017 at 2:41pm PDT Henry Street Taproom A post shared by henrysttaproom (@henrysttaproom) on Apr 6, 2017 at 1:49pm PDT Bourbon Room A post shared by The Bourbon Room (@bourbonroomsaratoga) on May 5, 2017 at 7:56am PDT PHASE THREE: Now that you’ve impressed them with your good taste, and everyone’s feeling the buzz, we’re comfortable making the following recommendations. Move on to one/all for a few fizzy nightcaps (and by that we mean anything in a can). At this point, keep close tabs, or you might find Mom busting a move in the Boom Boom Room. Saratoga City Tavern A post shared by Saratoga City Tavern (@saratoga_city_tavern) on Jan 8, 2017 at 10:07am PST Desperate Annie’s A post shared by Katie Wohlers (@kawohlerbear) on Dec 8, 2016 at 9:11pm PST Tin & Lint A post shared by Peter Harris (@pgharris11) on Apr 29, 2017 at 6:32pm PDT
Cantina saratoga mexican restaurant

5 Mexican Restaurants in Saratoga Springs

When we’re craving a little spice from South of the Border, we don’t have to look too far for authentic food and drink. From classic guacamole to Mexican dishes with modern flair, and, of course, all the margaritas, there’s a range of delicious options right here in Saratoga. Cantina A post shared by Explore Saratoga (@exploresaratoga) on Apr 22, 2016 at 1:33pm PDT Front and center on Broadway, this is a festive spot for those feeling a fresh California-take on Mexican cuisine. We love popping in and ordering from the Bocaditos list (YES to the Mexican Street Corn, $6.95, and Cantina Nachos, $10.95), but you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, especially when paired with a pitcher of fresh lime margaritas (Serves 5, $38). Get there early to snag a seat outside, order a sampling from their 150+ types of tequila and let the people-watching commence. Blue Agave A post shared by Blue Agave Saratoga Springs (@blueagavecantina) on Apr 28, 2017 at 1:35pm PDT Newer to the scene, Crescent Street’s Blue Agave blends traditional Mexican fare with modern creativity. There’s something for everyone with beautifully plated stand-bys like classic ground beef tacos ($12), or for a slight twist, pork carnitas with mango and pickled red onions ($14). But you’ll also find unique dishes like the seasonal guacamole with apple honey goat cheese, apples, dried cranberries and pecans ($10). El Mexicano A post shared by Matt Hunter (@mattylou19) on Mar 25, 2017 at 4:39pm PDT The walls of this South Broadway eatery are as colorful as the menu is authentic and the service is exceptional. Both food and drink are reasonably priced and the friendly staff have been known to pass out a free shot or two. $6.50 for a frozen margarita, with an extra side of free tequila? We’ll take it. Mexican Connection A post shared by Mexican Connection (@mexconnection) on Jan 22, 2017 at 10:30am PST There’s no shortage of tequila at this vibrant Mexican mainstay on Nelson Avenue, with the bar boasting 150+ varieties. The casual atmosphere is the perfect match for the menu, which houses all your comfort-food favorites. Insider tip: Order the guacamole ($9). Put it on everything. Order more guacamole. Esperanto We’re 100% guilty of stuffing our faces with a late-night doughboy or two (definitely not Mexican - hang with us), but believe it or not, this Caroline Street hideaway is open pre-12am and has a full menu of delicious street-inspired options from around the globe, with a notable focus on Mexican cuisine. There are a few tables, but we usually take out. Try the burrito and choose the black beans prepared with chipotle peppers and olive oil ($6.50 regular, $8.00 large).
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Make the Most of Jazz Fest Weekend + 3 Can’t Miss Shows

With Jazz Appreciation Month in full swing, we’ve started looking forward to our own local nod to the genre, the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival. And this time around, there’s extra cause to celebrate. The 40th Anniversary of Saratoga Jazz Fest will take place at SPAC on June 24th and 25th, with a full list of world-class headliners jamming the amphitheater and a line-up of fantastic bands lighting up the gazebo. As one of the best ways to kick off a Saratoga summer, you can bet we’ll be gracing the lawn with our favorite picnic blanket and basket full of seasonally appropriate food and libations (think a crisp bottle of rosé, berries, fresh cheese and warm baguettes…). We feel like we’ve got a pretty good handle on the best way to enjoy Jazz Fest weekend, so here’s an overview of our plans: MAKING THE MOST OF JAZZ FEST DAY 1 (Saturday):Start with brunch in Saratoga, followed by a morning stroll through the farmer’s market, hitting the regular booths and gathering bits for lunch. With blankets, baskets and chairs in tow, head to SPAC and spend an afternoon lounging with friends engulfed in a live playlist of smooth saxes and upbeat baselines. (Note: If primo lawn seats are your priority, you’ll want to get there first thing, lines have been known to start forming as early as 6am!). End the day downtown with dinner and cocktails at one of Saratoga's many incredible restaurants or, of course, at one of the Best Jazz Joints in Saratoga. DAY 2 (Sunday):Still hitting up brunch (obviously), but planning to order a SPAC PACK picnic (um, YES to gourmet sandwiches, salads and wine) from Putnam Market (call 587-3663 in advance). Today, we’ll spend time inside the amphitheater for a closer look at some favorite bands. And as the night cools off, it’s back into town for a cocktail before we bid the weekend adieu. We’re considering Jazz Fest the official start to summer, and even though it’s still a few weeks off, we’re clearly ready for it. Feel free to steal our jazzy weekend plans (see what we did there) and rearrange however you’d like. 3 CAN’T MISS SHOWS The SuffersReminiscent of St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Alabama Shakes and the like, The Suffers deliver some old school soul. Regardless of your preferences, there’s something here for everyone. Cory Henry & The Funk ApostlesIf you’ve cruised the internet for music any time in the past 5 years, you’ve come across a couple of tracks with Cory Henry on the keys. Catch this Grammy award-winner perform with his Funk Apostles in the gazebo, because we have a feeling it won’t be long before we’re listening from the nosebleeds. Jacob CollierTalk about being in the company of giants! This shockingly young prodigy busted onto the scene with his manager, the legendary Quincy Jones, and his buddy the great Herbie Hancock. Collier takes the stage as an “up-and-comer” with some serious punch. We’ll let the video speak for itself. OTHER DETAILS Saratoga Jazz Fest is family-friendly. Food and drink are available at concession or you can also bring your own. Line up EARLY for the best lawn seats. 2-Day Passes available until May 1. Re-entry permitted with wristband. Tickets: Lawn Single Day: $65, Lawn 2-Day Pass: $110; Amphitheater Single Day: $75-$105, Amphitheater 2-Day Pass: $130-$190; Lawn for kids 15 and under: FREE; Amphitheater for kids 15 and under and students with a valid I.D.: $20 (excluding Orchestra pit, $90).

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