Wilmington is full of surprises. On the surface, it looks like a quiet, well-kept village, but there’s a lot more beneath the surface. Wilmington is also a place where the towering mass of Whiteface Mountain dominates the horizon, mountain biking enthusiasts cut trails across steep slopes, and bands begin playing when the craft beers start flowing.
The next time you visit, don’t call it a night after your last run. Scope out these five venues and cap off your day in style.
5021 Route 86
Wilmington, NY 12997
More than a paradise for skiers and boarders, Whiteface also hosts events throughout the year, and they often include live music. But even when there isn’t a weekend of entertainment on tap, snow-seekers can still catch performances in the resort’s Base Lodge. It usually starts in the afternoon and never goes too late, so hit the slopes early so you’re ready to come inside when the party starts.
8 Whiteface Memorial Highway
Wilmington, NY 12997
Opened on New Year’s Eve 2016, Pourman’s has spent the last year emerging as a great live music venue that’s close to the mountain and an easy walk from most of the region’s hotels and motels. Conveniently located at the bottom of the Whiteface Mountain Veteran's Memorial Highway, this restaurant and bar combo is just that — the front section is a large dining area with a bar, while in the back there’s an entirely separate area that feels like a small, modern pub. The latter section is where you’ll find live music. It’s an intimate setting that lends itself to dancing and other forms of revelry. There’s plenty of beer on tap, a lot of it local, and there’s a a great menu in case you need sustenance.
12198 Old Route 9n
Upper Jay, NY 12987
One of the area’s best kept secrets, Upper Jay Arts Center is a hotspot of music and other artistic endeavors. Housed in an old upholstery shop, the Recovery Lounge is a funky, eclectic place — even the furniture is a mixed bag of comfy chairs and sofas — and so are the performances. You might hear indie rock from Brooklyn, see an art exhibition, or catch a play written by classic or contemporary playwrights. There are open mic jams on Sundays in January that pack the place, and it’s no wonder — the local talent is a fitting complement to the top-notch artists who travel to perform here.
14231 Route 9n
Ausable Forks, NY 12912
20 Main is your quintessential small-town bar. Drinks are cheap, there’s food during special events, and the people are friendly and welcoming. In the summer, bands play in the courtyard out back, where there’s a pavilion and plenty of space to dance or mingle. In winter, groups set up inside by the large front window. Stop in any night and you could see a five-piece act shaking it up or someone sitting on a stool strumming a guitar — pop in on a weeknight and you might catch local favorites rocking the open mic.
14224 Route 9n
AuSable Forks, NY 12912
Pizza, beer, and music — is there a better combination? This long, narrow bar sports a welcoming atmosphere, tempting menu, and some comfy arm chairs to lounge in. Sit at the beautiful, copper-plated bar and you can order a reasonably priced beer from the healthy selection of craft and domestic brews. The music selection is also varied. You might catch rock, funk, or folk on any given night, and you’ll never have to worry about showing up late because there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
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