Cooper’s Bar Embraces History and Good Eats in Beacon

Seeking an easygoing place to eat great food and experience a bit of Beacon history? Look no further than this gastropub.

If the walls of Cooper’s could talk, they’d tell an epic story of this place—the oldest continuously operating bar in Beacon dating back to 1872. In January, Cooper’s became the latest business to continue a longstanding tradition in a brick building tucked off the city’s main drag, once home to Sunderland’s Saloon, Bryant’s Saloon, Victor Zaleski’s, Andy Mordas’ Bar & Grill, Gallagher’s, Zep’s, Annie Cabe’s, Papa Joe’s and, finally, Dogwood, which was sold in 2023.

Named in memory of co-owner Brendan McAlpine’s beloved French bulldog, the vibe at Cooper’s aims to be comfortable and cozy. And, with a new paint job, refinished floors, and banquettes constructed from locally sourced barnwood, the space is as appealing as ever, says McAlpine, who, along with Marjorie Tarter, his partner in life and business, also owns The Beacon movie theater and Wonderbar next door, Hudson Valley Marshmallow Company, and The Bird & Bottle Inn in Garrison. McAlpine’s family also owns The Roundhouse hotel and restaurant.

Cooper's Bar

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“I’m drawn to spaces with history and a connection to the community,” says McAlpine, who’s also a real estate attorney. “When George Mansfield [Dogwood’s owner] reached out to me to let me know he was selling and wanted me to be the one to take over the space, I couldn’t resist.”

Paying homage to the past is baked into the vision of the space and was easily accomplished when a crate was found in the basement with pre-war receipts and invoices—and quickly repurposed. “We decided to make a wallpaper out of those relics,” he says. “There are still some vendors that exist today such as Dutchess Beer Distributors. We love this connection to the history of this space.”

Something for Everyone

Customers are gravitating to a menu featuring apps like disco tots and Korean-style wings and entrées such as smash burgers and fries, rice bowls, pinsas—traditional flatbread pizzas such as the Roni (shredded mozzarella, provolone, tomato sauce and pepperoni) —and a bestselling short rib grilled cheese, all created by Cooper’s executive chef Kristian Meixner (who’s also the chef at The Bird & Bottle) and chef de cuisine Raffie de Guzman. “We didn’t want to offer just greasy, heavy bar food,” explains McAlpine. “Kristian can operate at all ends of the dining spectrum, and I think he has struck a nice balance with the menu.”

Cooper's Bar

There are also several desserts that are quickly becoming customer favorites. “I didn’t want to roll out typical ‘chef dessert’ items like crème brûlée or panna cotta,” says McAlpine. “My favorite dessert—and Kristian didn’t ask me ahead of time before putting it on the menu—is his sticky toffee pudding. He does these incredible Nutella-filled beignets, too.” Drinks include a rotating selection of local, regional, and national craft beers on draft and seasonal classic cocktails.

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“We’ll be offering an all-day brunch-ish menu,” says McAlpine, which will, of course, feature “fantastic” bloody Marys, mimosas, and some more interesting offerings including micheladas (a slightly spicy Mexican cocktail), plus chicken and waffles and French toast. “We want customers to be able to come in at 10 a.m. and get eggs, bacon, and coffee and sit in a comfortable place.”
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At press time, plans were underway for live music, Premier League soccer screenings, and deliveries through platforms like DoorDash. In addition, the team intends to sell a line of ready-to-drink canned cocktails using Cooper’s own spirits. “We’ve got a micro-distillery on the premises and our goal is to make and sell our own line of spirits in a retail spot right by the bar,” he says. Expect to find Cooper’s own gin, vodka, white rum, bourbon, rye, and a line of apple brandies the team has been perfecting.

Open six days a week for lunch and dinner, Cooper’s is walk-in only; takeout orders are welcome, and you can come for a drink or stay for a meal. And ultimately, McAlpine hopes customers see that, despite the new name and a few changes, Cooper’s is keeping to the long tradition baked into the walls. “Nothing too major has changed,” he says. “What I always liked about the place—even prior to owning it—was that there was always a good comfortable feeling in the space. We want to keep it that way.”

Cooper’s Bar
47 East Main Street, Beacon
845.440.7171
Website

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