With the closing of the Moosehead Tavern (aka Fatso's) late last year, John and I have been on the lookout for a new local watering hole. A place that may or may not serve food, but which serves up beer and atmosphere the likes of which are not readily available to your average "Citiot."
Over Thanksgiving we stopped by the Iron Horse Bar in Hudson (with all of our weekend guests, safety in numbers and all that). Since then we've been back once, last weekend, when we had the opportunity to visit with a friend who grew up in Hudson and who now lives in NYC-environs.
The Iron Horse is a quintessential old-man's bar, with knotty pine wood paneling decorated with old saws and other farm remnants, framed and yellowed autographed photos of big-haired wonders like Melanie Griffith (a la Working Girl) and a smallish bar area. In the back is a pool table and juke box which they'll plug it in for you, along with the disco lights, if you ask. The Iron Horse's signature item, however, are the "pony" beers they sell (smaller sized bud and corona bottles) for just a buck a pop.
Once the initial stares of not being a local wore off, we had a great experience, with friendly staff and conversation that extended down the bar and back up on the topics of Hudson's history of whaling, cement plants, detention centers and the recent fame of local Kirsten Gillibrand, most of whom thought she would do a good job as a NYS Senator, but didn't like her buckling on the whole firearms issue (a good article which matched the thoughts of the patrons at the Iron Horse can be seen here.)
Other topics covered were what it means to be 'Upstate.' If you live in NYC, for instance, Hudson is 'Upstate.' But for people in Hudson, 'Upstate' is north of Albany - perhaps from Troy on up. Poughkeepsie, it turns out, is "Downstate," at least according to the majority of folks hoisting a few at the bar. Being out-numbered, I wasn't about to argue.
What attracted us to the Iron Horse Bar in the first place was the great neon sign that hangs outside. It gleams a rosy red color in the night that is just so....inviting. That's got a story, too. Apparently the bar's name is actually the State Grill, but at some point, Paul Newman pulled into town to film "Nobody's Fool," and several key bar scenes (including the bar's pool table) were included. The film crew brought the sign for the movie and the locals liked it so much they never bothered to take it down.
Well done, Iron Horse. See you soon.