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 her fiancé 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.’”
1939 Bird & Bottle Restoration Team
A history lover and Beacon Historical Society member, 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.
“My goal is 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 all goes well, it will be ready in time for a spring opening in Garrison.
With a planned opening in phases, the first element of The Bird & Bottle Inn’s reawakening will be the onsite restaurant. True to its roots, the restaurant will serve classic American fare with a creative vibe. Chef Adam Sternberg, who currently presides over Wonderbar in Beacon, will lead the food program, offering menus that delight with classic dishes presented with culinary twists.
“It’s going to be polished and old-fashioned and classic, in the vein of what people have come to know of The Bird & Bottle,” Tarter explains. “I want to dig into the history.”
Beautiful Wedding Venue, backdrop: nature
The restaurant will open just in time for outdoor dining in the Hudson Valley, bringing with it the beauty of The Bird & Bottle’s natural landscape. With its signature bar that leads to the outdoor patio, not to mention its taproom and lounge area, it’s ideal for indoor and outdoor dining alike. To further share the charm of the property with locals, Tarter plans to reintroduce the inn’s event offerings, which previously ranged from weddings to bridal showers to birthdays and everything in between.
“It serves as the most beautiful, special, and storied background for any kind of event,” Tarter notes, adding that the presence of the rippling Indian Brook and the picturesque eight acres of grounds make for perfect photo opportunities. For larger events, a dedicated site is ideal for tented happenings as well.
Of course, the restaurant and events won’t be the only offerings available at The Bird & Bottle Inn. True to its name, the space will eventually reopen its doors to overnight guests as well. With four rooms available, the inn is ideal for wedding guests, visitors to the Hudson Valley, and local staycationers alike.
“I will leave a beautiful mark on her,” Tarter enthuses, adding that her goal is to serve as a steward of the space for generations to come. “Everyone who had an experience here will have a different memory of what it was. My whole focus is to bring that feeling back.”