Buckley’s is dead. Long live Buckley’s!

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Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the newly re-opened Buckley’s roadside tavern which has been closed since December while the new owners/operators instigated major renovations. For anyone that fondly remembers the local landmark, it is instantly recognizable upon entering, although one is quick to notice an overall polished and refined feel to the place, and a much needed updating in regards to everything from the lighting to the lay-out.

The bar is roughly the same squared horse-shoe shape as before, although the taps and registers have been relocated to a peninsular arrangement that backs right up to the kitchen. There was a distinct sense of bemusement among the clientele, as if someone had set off a percussion bomb, and everyone was shuffling around rolling their head back and forth regaining their composure and sense of where they were. For first time returnees, there will be a lot of looking for and pointing out all of the slight-to-significant changes that have been made. There will also likely be many debates about what has actually changed and what hasn’t, resulting in drinks being wagered and lost as the details are verified by the staff.

Buckley’s has always had a strong draft selection, and they have only improved upon it, featuring several local and regional drafts, most notably two varieties of Twin Lakes, the wonderful brewery located a mile or two down 52 towards town. For the non beer drinker they feature a wide variety of fine wines and spirits, so no one need fear leaving thirsty after a visit.

The booths seem to be a bit narrower, which yields much more space around the bar to move about, while the bar stools are now movable, allowing them to be slid in, out, and around in various configurations. This should be welcome news for anyone over 5’tall, as the old fixed stools tended to force one to be much closer to the bar then they would normally choose to sit, as many knocked knees can attest! Perhaps the VIP seating for the bar area would be considered the front corner booth which is a large circular shape, that should hold 7-8 people comfortably(9 if it is a group of close friends). It was a pleasure throughout the evening to see people returning to this venerable local institution, and there was an overall feeling of a reunion happening. Some of the bar tenders even made the rounds, welcoming people back and answering questions about the renovations, future plans, etc.

In closing, it’s great to see an old friend back in business, and comforting to see the tasteful choices made by the new owners/operators. They seem to have struck a nice balance between keeping the look and feel of the old place that we remember fondly, and making the necessary updates and changes that one will look forward to experiencing during future visits, such as the inevitable trips to the fabulously improved restrooms. Though I can only vouch for the ‘men’s’ room.