Venue Spotlight : The Waterhole – Saranac Lake

The Waterhole, the north country’s premier live music venue, is in the spotlight this week. The original building dates back to the late 1800’s and was built as the Saranac Lake Village Livery and Stables.  They rented, shoe’d, and took care of the fire department’s horses.  With the advent of the automobile, the need for a livery died, and the downstairs became a tire vulcanizing shop, and some say that the 2nd floor turned into a brothel.

In 1970 Bill Grogan and friends opened it as The Waterhole #3, named after the 1967 Western comedy film of the same name (considered to be a comic remake of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) starring James CoburnCarroll O’Connor and Margaret Blye.

In the mid eighties, the “godfather” Billy Allen bought the business and brought live music with him. Seeing the lack of venues in the area for music,  he dreamed of a performing arts center in town.  Under his ownership he renovated and expanded the upstairs, and brought live music to Saranac Lake.

Today, The Waterhole’s Upstairs Music room is considered one of the “must play” venues in Upstate NY. The highlight each year is the annual Winter Carnival, which brings the regions top touring acts to town in a 9 day stretch in early February. Recent Winter Carnival performances include Donna The Buffalo, The Ominous Seapods, Lucid, Hot Day at The Zoo, and Raisinhead. Look for The 2013 Winter Carnival announcement soon on .com.

For more information on The Waterhole visit them online at

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