If you’ve never been to the bar at The Brentwood Hotel, which is located inconspicuously on the corner of Nelson Avenue and Gridley Street just southwest of Saratoga Race Course’s famed oval, you’re not alone. “I can’t tell you the number of locals that have told me, ‘You have a bar there?’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to stop by, but thought it was just for hotel guests!'” says Marcus Severin, the GM of the hotel and bar. So rather than continue to live in the shadows of front-and-center hotel bars (*cough* Morrissey’s), The Brentwood took action: This February, it rebranded its onsite watering hole as the open-to-everyone Farrier Bar, boasting “funky wines and good times.”
But let’s back up a bit, as it’s completely possible that you didn’t know there was a bar at The Brentwood because you didn’t know The Brentwood itself existed. Opened as a motel back in the 1950s, the property was purchased in 2015, given a makeover by Brooklyn-based design firm Post Co., and reopened Travers Day 2016. Since then, the 12-room boutique hotel has welcomed racing fans who want to be so close to the track they can see it from their window—or from behind an Old Fashioned while sitting at the hotel’s outdoor fire pit.
OK, back to the Farrier. While it also serves local beers and ciders as well as specialty cocktails, the reimagined bar specializes in natural wine, something that’s not widely available in Saratoga. “Natural wine is a term that is actually a bit ambiguous,” Severin says. “Most people have their own presumptions in play as they define ‘natural wine,’ but it has no standard definition. When buying for Farrier, we’re looking for bottles that can meet some of those presumptions, such as organic or biodynamic farming, minimal intervention in the winemaking process, the absence of added sulfites, and sustainability in any or all steps of the process.” In essence, the reds, whites, pinks, oranges and bubbles that Farrier serves are as true-to-the-grape as wine can be.
As for food? Farrier doesn’t have a kitchen, but it does serve up a rotating selection of focaccia from Saratoga’s Nightwork Bread on Fridays and Saturday evenings. (As Farrier’s hours expand, so will the availability of the fluffy focaccia.) “We are also serving a selection of tinned fish, which is a fantastic accompaniment to our wines,” Severin says. “We will continue to expand the menu as we figure out what works best at our little bar.”
For more information, including a drink menu, wine selections and focaccia specials, check out Farrier’s website and Instagram account. The bar is currently open Thursdays from 4-10pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 4-11pm, and Sundays from 2-8pm, but plans are in place to expand its hours as the weather warms. “Many of our local bar guests comment that our bar is their ‘best-kept secret’ and a ‘hidden gem,'” Severin says. “Unfortunately, it can really hurt our small business when people don’t share with their friends what a great time they had with us. I hope that we can become a spot for our neighbors to gather and enjoy the finer things in life.”