Last week, The Spinning Room on Main Street in Tannersville was ranked as one of Yelp’s top dive bars in New York state, according to a list by NewYorkUpstate.com.
The bar earned 3.5 stars with 27 Yelp reviews, and embraces its dive bar status with pride.
Owner Katherine O’Brien defines a dive bar by both the décor and the place’s personality.
“It’s an old building,” she said. “But you’re not coming in here for martinis and Manhattans, you’re coming in for cans of beer and shots.”
O’Brien opened up shop in Tannersville 15 years ago when she was 22 years old, with support from her family. Without much experience in the nightclub scene, she went with a college bar aesthetic, she said.
The bar draws a stream of tourists from the mountain — snowboarders and skiers, hikers and leaf peepers — but also fosters a band of regulars.
“We try to keep everything mellow,” said O’Brien. “Come in and have a beer at the bar by yourself and it won’t be awkward, or bring a group of friends, play pool and get rowdy.”
“It’s a very easygoing environment,” said Karli, who’s been bartending since July.
“People tend to come in packs,” she added, including bachelor and bachelorette parties that come to the mountain.
Yelp reviewers rave about the cheap drinks and bar food, which include wings and a notorious burger.
“The Buckaroo burger is huge. It’s got onion rings, mozzarella sticks and a beef patty — it’s just huge,” Karli said.
The bar’s entrance leads visitors directly into the music venue, a spacious room framed by carved booths and a scuffed woodboard floor. A long countertop wraps into the game room complete with a pool table, video games, a chalk board, and more bar seating. Trinkets, stickers and posters crowd any open space on the shelves and walls.
But the most eye-catching art piece is “Homieville,” a street-scene sculpture of “Homies,” figurines based on the ‘90s comic strip by David Gonzales. The sculpture looks like a graffitied frieze sticking out of the wall, at the very end of a long chalkboard. The artist, Frank Cabrera, was a regular at the bar and comes in to add Homies to the scene, said O’Brien.
Many of the bartenders moonlight as snowboarders, just like O’Brien herself, who had her first baby a few months ago. She said she hopes to get back on the mountain soon.
In the 35 years that O’Brien has lived in the area, she’s noticed tourism trending toward upscale businesses and clientele. And despite being a bar that prides itself on being cheap and friendly, she predicts this change will be good for business.
“We cater to either crowd,” said O’Brien.