Photos by Megan Spiro Photography
Dating back to the 18th century, the Hudson Valley hotel and restaurant comes back to life under the leadership of the team behind Wonderbar in Beacon.
By Francesca Furey and Sabrina Sucato
When it comes to Hudson Valley landmarks, The Bird & Bottle Inn is as historic as it gets. The sunshine yellow Putnam County destination has been standing for more than 250 years, during which time it served as everything from a stagecoach stop to a tavern to an inn and restaurant. Yet after changing hands from one owner to the next over the past few decades, it ceased operation in 2019 and awaited a visionary who could bring it back to life.
Now, the property extends its storied legacy in the Hudson Valley as an inn and restaurant for the community once more.
“I didn’t even realize that the Bird was for sale,” admits Marjorie Tarter, the new owner and operator of The Bird & Bottle Inn. “I hadn’t been there for some time and it wasn’t at all on my radar.”
The Putnam County inn might not have been on Tarter’s radar much prior to her purchase of it in February 2020 with a group of friends and investors, but business management certainly was. A local leader in Dutchess County, she and partner Brendan McAlpine are the masterminds behind Hudson Valley Marshmallow Co., Story Screen Theater, and Wonderbar in Beacon, along with Dutch’s Spirits in Pine Plains. They also collaborate with their family, including McAlpine’s father Robert McAlpine, to manage The Roundhouse in Beacon.
When a friend mentioned that the inn was for sale back in 2019, Tarter was intrigued by the history of the space. At the time, she had her hands full with the success of Story Screen and the recent debut of Wonderbar, so the prospect of adding another business to her local collective wasn’t on her mind at all. Even so, she ventured over to Garrison for a tour and promptly fell in love.
“The building itself is 260 years old, and it feels like walking back in time,” she enthuses. “I saw the property in the winter and was like, ‘This is my dream.’”
A Hudson Valley history lover, Tarter knew she wanted to preserve the sense of tradition embedded into the property as much as possible. Between visiting the space and purchasing it, she dove deep into the inn’s past to learn more about its local legacy. Along the way, she discovered that The Bird & Bottle Inn dates back to 1761 and was originally known as Warren’s Tavern after first serving as a residence and later a stagecoach stop under Samuel Warren. After sitting abandoned in the 1800s, it transformed into the inn that Hudson Valleyites know and love beginning in the 1940s.
Because of The Bird & Bottle Inn’s longstanding local roots, Tarter wants to keep that history intact as much as possible.
Today, Garrison’s 260-year-old, five-room inn has finally reopened after two years. The Bird & Bottle Inn a gorgeous retreat and restaurant ideal for dining with friends and family or hosting private events.
“My goal [was] to rehabilitate and restore the space while respecting her bones and what she is,” she notes. Since the COVID-19 crisis hit the Hudson Valley just after the purchase of the building, Tarter and McAlpine had months to renovate the property and take their time to ensure it fit their vision.
(If you’re looking to stay over, the circa-18th century rooms were given a modern makeover.) Throughout the inn are nods to its history including displays of Revolutionary War lithographs and old maps. You’ll also find a portrait of Emily Warren Roebling, a Cold Spring native whose family home was the Bird—she also was an important figure in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge (her husband was the chief engineer and when he fell ill, she became his correspondent and guided construction). The restaurant, open for dinner Wed–Sun, features a cozy dining room with a fireplace and wallpaper reminiscent of the Hudson River School—and offers mains such as duck pappardelle and spring pea risotto. Next door is the tavern and lounge where you can order small plates of charcuterie, flatbreads, and more. Now available: weekend brunch and outdoor dining along the Indian Brook.
“Everyone who had an experience here will have a different memory of what it was,” Tarter observes. “My whole focus is to bring that feeling back.”