Prior to its closing in 1994, the historic Antrim Lodge was the premier country inn, restaurant and bar in the Catskills. Before that, though, local fishermen would head to the Antrim after a day on the local streams and talk about their day’s catch. The fish would get bigger as their stories were told in “Keener’s Pool”, the downstairs bar, as the anglers tried to outdo each other.
Local flyfishing legends such as Walt Dette and Lee Wulff could be found at the Antrim. Famous visitors included President Jimmy Carter, “Today Show” host Gene Shalit and “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling. Students and their families would stop in for a meal on their way up to various universities in upstate NY. Unfortunately, after years of running the Lodge, the original family sold it to two successive owners who ultimately could not continue successfully running the classic lodge and its doors were closed after New Year’s celebrations in January 1994.
The current owners purchased in 2002 with the intention of restoring the building to its glory days. Renovations began in 2004 and were nearing completion in 2006. At that time, however, the work endured damage from floodwaters of the Willowemoc Creek and Beaverkill River on three separate occasions, the last of which involved a major flood in May of 2006. Two months later, when the restoration of the Antrim Lodge was finally again nearing completion, the building suffered extensive damage from a fire. The damage caused by the fire was severe and the extent of the damage required that much of the building needed to be rebuilt.
Previously, the building had grandfather rights such that improvements did not require that the building meet current building codes and recent federal laws. The extent of reconstruction that was now necessary, however, required that the building be brought up to meet modern building codes. This required raising the floor of the kitchen area by 18 inches, installing steel beams throughout the building, installing a full-sized elevator, installing sprinkler systems and making the building ADA compliant. In addition, the owners became embroiled in litigation relating to the fire for the next three years as they sought compensation recovery for the fire damage. Although a settlement was eventually reached, the new cost of renovations had tripled, and the economy was in recession.
In spite of all of these challenges, the owners remained committed to the project. In the ensuing years, they purchased 5 nearby parcels and 4 dilapidated buildings were torn down. These improvements accommodated flood control measures and allowed for an extension to be built on the building so a new kitchen could be built to comply with current codes. The building now has drains in the basement floor to allow water to drain out in case of any future flooding. Flood louvers will allow water to flow through the building in case of a flood to reduce potential structural damage. Basement materials now include stone tile and stainless steel beams to minimize damage from flooding. Kitchen equipment and refrigeration units have been raised to reduce the chance of water damage. The furnace, air conditioning units and water tanks have been moved from the basement to the roof to prevent damage from flooding.
Now, the Antrim is preparing to recommence construction. It is scheduled to open in late 2019/early 2020. The Antrim will function as a hub for visitors to explore the Catskills while enjoying upscale accommodations and a destination restaurant. The restored Antrim Lodge will offer 14 upscale guest rooms, each with private bath and modern amenities; an elegant 75-person dining room; and a lower ground floor bar with fireplace for casual dining and drinks. Catering to anglers and outdoor enthusiasts, the ground floor will have a gear room for guests to store outdoor clothing and equipment. The Lodge will also accommodate weddings, events and conferences. Approximately 15 minutes away, the Antrim Streamside, its sister property with private water on the Willowemoc, will offer lodging to up to an additional 18 guests. All guests will have access to nearly a mile of private trout fishing, hiking, snowshoeing and crosscountry skiing on over 200 acres of adjacent private property. The Antrim now has its own farm, Beaver Lake Farm, that will provide pasture raised meats and poultry, fruits and vegetables to the Antrim and will also host agri-tourism events.
The restaurant at the Antrim will offer high-quality, full-service dining including an extensive and exciting wine list. The menu will focus on local foods prepared in a simple and tasteful manner at medium- to high- price points.The downstairs bar will be comfortable, inviting and more lively than the restaurant. It will feature a restored portion of the original historic bar, a fieldstone fireplace and will be designed to match the historic décor. The bar will offer a wide selection of imported and local beers, bourbons, single malt scotches, Irish whiskeys and cocktails. The bar will offer simple fare such as grilled sandwiches, burgers and wings, as well as certain items from the upstairs restaurant menu. The Antrim will also host special functions, private parties, weddings, banquets, corporate and local club events.
We look forward to an exciting new, old Antrim Lodge, with Antrim Streamside and Beaver Lake Farm by its side, and we look forward to seeing you there!