Photos and details by Caroline Alexander
With summer upon us, restaurants and bars in the Berkshires are expanding hours and opening up lovely patios to al fresco dining.
Many chefs look forward to this season for its abundance of locally raised vegetables and meat, and they pride themselves on sourcing ingredients from farmers they know well. Farms are often listed on menus here, and you’ll see these farmers at the farmers markets.
As you tour the Berkshires, we hope you’ll stop in one or more places for a drink and have a taste of the local cuisine. Chances are the vegetables were just recently pulled from the ground right here.
Many bars listed are restaurant bars, and unless otherwise noted they serve meals or light fare at the bar. It’s a great way to taste our local cuisine and enjoy a beer from the region or a restaurant’s signature infusion cocktail. We hope you enjoy the offerings!
Here’s a brief overview of bars in the Berkshires, driving from southernmost Berkshire County, near the Connecticut border, to North County, near the Vermont border. All venues offer cocktails, wines by the glass or bottle and draft and bottled beer, unless otherwise noted. Most have websites, so check online for the latest updates.
864 S. Undermountain Rd., Sheffield 413-229-8585
Features specialty drinks. The “Down County Social Club,” a speakeasy-style club downstairs, has eclectic live music and original events every Thursday night. Lovely outdoor seating in summer months.
JOHN ANDREWS RESTAURANT
224 Hillsdale Rd., South Egremont 413-528-3469
Seasonal cocktails are creative and beautifully crafted here. At the bar, watching Eric make cocktails, you know this guy knows his stuff—he’s very, very good. Passionate about the wine list, too. He says, “It’s the food. Dan Smith’s menu is what sets this bar apart from the rest.”
THE OLD MILL
53 Main St., Rte. 23, South Egremont 413-528-1421
The Old Mill is tried and true with locals—a place for all to come where they’re loved and served well. That starts at the door with Terry, the owner, and then Adrian follows through at the bar; you feel at home. Weekly cocktail list featuring seasonal favorites and an extensive wine list. This is a place that cares about its guests in every way—with good food and good conversation.
ROUTE 7 GRILL
999 Main St., Great Barrington 413-528-3235
Large whiskey collection. Bourbon Lemonade is a bestseller. Wines from Millbrook Winery in the Hudson Valley are featured. Full restaurant menu is available at the bar. Live music outside on Fridays and Saturdays.
CASTLE STREET CAFÉ
10 Castle St., Great Barrington 413-528-5244
Everybody seems to know each other at this bar. Lots of locals here and lots of nice vibes. Live music on weekends— jazz, rock, blues and swing music—and it gets very busy. The regulars know who’s playing, so they show up. Customers are happy here, barkeep Michael knows what many are drinking and often introduces people at the bar.
312 Main St., Ste. 1, Great Barrington 413-528-3651
Beer on tap and cocktails. Bar burgers, salads, pizza. The garlic chips & cheese are popular. Live music occasionally. Local regulars.
GYPSY JOYNT CAFÉ
293 Main St, Great Barrington 413-644-8811
Live music is big here, and so is the ’70svibe atmosphere. It’s authentic and laid back. Beer sells well, and so do cocktails like Frozen Whiskey Lemonade. Open mike on Wednesday night is a winner; singers and songwriters are featured on Thursday and weekends offer bands. A family-owned restaurant, Hayley and her brother Jordan Weller tend the bar.
17 Railroad St., Great Barrington 413-528-4343
Small bar in a cozy front corner of this attractive Japanese restaurant. A popular spot for Japanese cuisine and sushi as well as extensive vegetarian selections.
47 Railroad St., Great Barrington 413-528-0351
Handsome large bar and Railroad Street patio are a draw. Specializing in Jesse’s seasonal infusions and craft beers. Live music on Thursday, Friday and occasionally Saturday, featuring singers, songwriters, bands, folk, reggae and rock.
44 Railroad St., Great Barrington 413-528-2118
After dinner, the crowd changes to a different mix, fueling a vibrant bar scene on weekends. Bartenders enjoy introducing people to drinks they may not be so familiar with, keeping it fresh. Cocktails are crafted to expand the palate. Allium’s wide window onto Railroad Street totally opens the restaurant up.
20 RAILROAD STREET
20 Railroad St., Great Barrington 413-528-9345
A convenient place to stop, the bar and restaurant are open to Railroad Street, so you’re in the heart of town.
BELL & ANCHOR
178 Main St., Great Barrington 413-528-5050
Large bar for drinks and dining. Cocktail list includes unique potions. Tables outside, with ping-pong table on the large lawn leading to Main Street.
327 Stockbridge Rd., Rte. 7, Great Barrington; 413-528-4001
Greek restaurant with very friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Bar menu and full dinner menu. Live music on the patio on Saturday, beginning in July.
420 Stockbridge Rd., Ste. 3, Great Barrington; 413-528-7786
This is a food-centric bar where you can get oysters, a burger or fresh seafood. Adam and Sylwia have added a beautiful contemporary bar, and this new location should please the many devotees who love this restaurant. A great view of the open kitchen at work, here, and the bar is in the midst of it all. Bar menu available at the bar and on the patio between lunch and dinner July 4 through August.
BARRINGTON BREWERY & RESTAURANT
420 Stockbridge Rd., Great Barrington; 413-528-8282
Exclusively Barrington Brewery beer on tap, which is handcrafted with no preservatives. Everything can be put in a growler to go. Beer garden in the back is open and off the street.
THE OLD INN ON THE GREEN
134 Hartsville New Marlborough Rd., New Marlborough; 413-229-7924
People have been drinking at the Inn since 1760! Barroom features old roadhouse bar with three tables where dinner can be served. Chef Platt is masterful; cocktails or wine available with the a la carte menu.
THE BRICK HOUSE
425 Park St., Housatonic; 413-274-0020
Home-style atmosphere makes this a comfortable place. Live music every Friday and Saturday, and on occasion other days—check website. A neighborhood bar with strong following of regulars.
RED LION INN
Main Street in Stockbridge, corner of Rte. 7 and Rte. 102; 413-298-5545
LION’S DEN: Great for after-dinner drinks, craft beers or a flight of local spirits and digestifs. The tasting flights are nicely done. Live music featured every night, and Trivia night is on third Thursdays. WIDOW BINGHAM’S TAVERN: Comfortable bar. Can also have cocktails on the porch or in lobby. THE COURTYARD: Described by Dan, the Inn’s sommelier, as “the best-kept secret in the Berkshires,” the courtyard is secluded from the bustle of the street and has bar and tables.
1575 Pleasant St., Rte. 102; 413-394-4047
Serving $3 draft and dinner at the sixseat “penny bar”, named for the 8181 pennies that make up the surface of their bar.
10 Railroad St., Lee; 413-243-6637
Serving a huge list of American craft beers and American craft whiskeys. No wine, no cocktails, no food. And no Coors Light! But you can order in food from neighboring places.
MORGAN HOUSE INN
33 Main St., Lee; 413-243-3661
Fronting right on Main Street, this inn was built in 1853. There’s an authentic sense of history here with low ceilings and old tavern feel. American bistro cuisine combined with old New England inn style. Tavern area has bar, tables for dining and closed-in porch on the front.
DREAM AWAY LODGE
1342 County Rd., Becket; 413-623-8725
The Dream Away is legendary, and after a long and winding drive you’ll be glad you’ve arrived. Drinks are creative here and a point of pride. The Music Room is where it’s happening at night after dinner. Wednesday is the popular open music night. They run the gamut on scheduled music Thursday through Saturday—check website.
THE PIANO BAR AT THE GATEWAYS INN AND RESTAURANT
51 Walker St., Lenox; 413-637- 2532
Classy mahogany bar with wines, grappas, vodkas and 226 types of whiskey. From July 3, live music and entertainment every night in the piano bar lounge. Platters featured at the bar, such as New York Deli plate.
16 Church St., Lenox; 413-637-0020
Downstairs at the Village Inn. Tavern menu Wednesday–Sunday. Monday and Tuesday lighter menu. Check web for music, karaoke, etc.
ALTA RESTAURANT & WINE BAR
34 Church St., Lenox; 413-637-0003
Signature cocktails and infused drinks. Choice of wine flights, such as “Mediterranean Red.” Extensive wine list and after-dinner options of port wines, spirits, single malts and coffee drinks, such as the Espresso Martini. Style is European, with an elegant, casual atmosphere. Outside seating on the front overlooking the street. People come here for “pleasures of the palate rather than heavy drinking,” according to Aurelien and Stephane.
OLD HERITAGE TAVERN
12 Housatonic St., Lenox; 413-637-0884
Outdoor patio out back for dining and drinks. Live music most Thursday nights. Casual atmosphere that’s a cross between an Irish pub and an American sports bar.
27 Housatonic St., Lenox; 413-637-9171
Large selection of wines by the glass and bottle. Craft beer also popular here. Tapas-style food and pizza. Lots of regulars from the Lenox area and actors from theatre companies nearby. This is a small, cozy place where it’s not unusual for patrons to engage in conversation table to table.
ZINC BISTRO & BAR
56 Church St., Lenox; 413-637-8800
Large bar in attractive, contemporary restaurant setting. Seasonal cocktail list. Bar menu between lunch and dinner service.
CHURCH STREET CAFÉ
65 Church St., Lenox; 413-637-2745
Owned by the same group that owns Alta up the street, this restaurant is more American, less European. Pours Berkshire Brewing Company beer exclusively and has extensive wine list. Signature cocktail list includes infused drinks; the favorite bar food is mac ’n’ cheese and flatbreads from Berkshire Mountain Bakery.
71 Church St., Lenox; 413-637-2700
Enjoy drinks on the back porch or at the bar and booths inside. Sometimes live music—check Facebook page . A friendly neighborhood restaurant bar setting.
PRIME ITALIAN STEAKHOUSE & BAR
15 Franklin St., Lenox; 413-637-2998
Full menu for seating at bar or tables. Late-night menu draws a crowd, including staff from Tanglewood and the theatres. Special cocktail list features seasonal drinks.
3 Center St., West Stockbridge 413-232- 4111
Comfortable setting where you feel at home. Bar menu with tapas and sandwiches, plus full dinner menu. Signature cocktails and infusions.
SHAKER MILL TAVERN
5 Albany Rd., West Stockbridge 413-232-8565
Large tavern-style bar. Full dinner menu and specialty drinks. Local crowd comes here for the food and casual dining.
1015 South St., Pittsfield; 413-448-2095
Large restaurant with classic Italian offerings. Busy full-service bar. This is a new location for the enlarged restaurant, serving dedicated clientele since 1988. Live entertainment Thursdays on the patio beginning June 6.
26 Bank Row, Pittsfield; 413-499-1994
Irish restaurant and bar, located downtown on Park Square, with outdoor seating on the street. Live music twice a month on Thursdays. Seasonal sangrias. Draws steady stream of regulars and tourists.
MADJACKS BBQ RESTAURANT
295 North St., Pittsfield; 413-442-2290
Authentic Southern-style wood-smoked barbecue, served at the wrap-around bar. Full bar service, 12 beers on tap, with house special Cajun Martini and Madjack lemonade. Live blues and jazz on Friday and Saturday; Sunday brunch once a month.and on Pittsfields “third Thursday” Check website for details.
MISSION BAR + TAPAS
438 North St., Pittsfield; no phone
Craft beer, all Spanish wine, no cocktails. Tapas menu with indoor or outside seating. Monday, live jazz; Tuesday open mic; Thursday bluegrass. Some Sundays and Wednesdays feature singers/songwriters (local, Boston, New York). First Fridays Artswalk features jazz and Third Thursdays is bluegrass. Pre-theatre/posttheatre crowd for Barrington Stage and the Colonial Theatre. Popular, with locals and tourists spilling out onto the street.
34 Depot St., Pittsfield; 413-499-2400
Recognized by locals for its creative pizzas and salads, you can count on Baba Louie’s for great food. The Pittsfield restaurant serves wine and beer and has lots of seating, with a great view of the pizza oven.
75 North St. entrance on McKay Street), Pittsfield; 413-443-3188
Asian-style cocktails and popular American cocktails. Beers from China, Thailand, India and Japan. Malaysian, Chinese and Indian cuisine.
OLD FORGE RESTAURANT
125 N. Main St., Lanesboro 413-442-6797
The Old Forge is well known for its beers. Chicken wings are big here, and summer months are especially popular, with the large open deck overlooking the Berkshire hills. The Forge draws families, dates and motorcyclists. Lots of Harley- Davidson jackets! Students from Williams College and many from nearby towns of Pittsfield and Williamstown, too. A welcome spot for dedicated regulars.
MEZZE BISTRO AND BAR
777 Cold Spring Rd., Williamstown 413-458-0123
Craft cocktail program here includes respected ingredients and a strong listing of gin cocktails and aperitifs. “Cultural Cocktail” list is creative and named after popular cultural institutions, celebrating the rich arts of the region. Bar overlooks Sheep’s Hill and the patio is large. Popular with locals and the Williamstown theatre crowd.
HOPS & VINES BEER GARDEN & BRASSERIE
16 Water St., Williamstown 413-884-1372
The restaurant features two themes: The “Hops” side is casual, while the “Vines” is more fine-dining. Outside beer garden and vine deck and a private tasting room inside.
WATER STREET GRILL
123 Water St., Williamstown 413-458-2175
Casual food, rustic atmosphere. Live music on occasion. Patio on side of the restaurant is popular. Casual, homey atmosphere. Parents enjoy bringing students here when they visit.
GALA STEAKHOUSE & BISTRO
(@ Orchards Hotel) 222 Adams Rd., Williamstown; 413-458-9590
Cocktails in the Gala Lounge or garden courtyard. Signature cocktail list and wine flights. Occasional live music— check listings. Bar menu served in addition to restaurant menu. Comfortable restaurant setting.
PUBLIC EAT + DRINK
34 Holden St., North Adams 413-664-4444
Bar has a view of the open kitchen. Live music once a month—check the web. Focus on craft beer, microbreweries and local breweries. Cocktail list changes seasonally. This bar gets a mix of tourists, artists and locals.
87 Marshall St., North Adams (on the walk as you enter MASS MoCA), Pittsfield 413-663-5300
Elegant, artistic restaurant setting with outside patio. Located off the street, close to entrance to MASS MoCA, so lots of visitors from arts events and locals interested in fine dining and good food.
30 Marshall St., North Adams 413-664-9062
Neighborhood tavern with music, sometimes DJ, sometimes juke box. Can order pizza from outside to be delivered here.
FREIGHT YARD RESTAURANT AND PUB
3 Furnace St., North Adams 413-663-6547
Al fresco dining in courtyard or dinners inside with white tablecloth. Pub feel, with live acoustic music Friday and Saturday. Eclectic mix of locals and tourists from MASS MoCA.
55 Main St., North Adams; 413-662-2500
Full menu served at bar. Patio out front and larger seating area outside in the back. Photos of old North Adams decorate the walls. Loyal customer base with people seeing people they know here. Draws visitors from MASS MoCA too.
Note: Many fine-dining establishments offer alcoholic beverage service but are not known for their significant bar presence. We’ve done our best to provide a range of options in our limited space and we offer our apologies to those not listed here.
Caroline Alexander moved to the Berkshires seven years ago after a career in public broadcasting. She continues to develop programming and websites for television, and three years ago she launched BerkshireFoodJournal.com and began documenting the lives and work of local farmers and chefs. Impressed by the intimacy of personal voice in the recordings of her subjects, she photographs her stories and then edits the interviews into audio/slideshows, now archived on her site.