WGNA’s Guide for Livin’ It Country in the Albany Area
We are creating the ultimate lifestyle guide for the country music fan in the Albany area. This is by no means complete, and it never will be, as this will always be a continually growing guide. In order to make this the best guide ever, we are depending on both our own expertise plus your suggestions, so please don't be shy!
There is no better place to get your cowboy boots than the Double M Western Store – a wonderful local business that is family owned.
Vinyl is making a comeback and classic country should only be heard on vinyl. Period. We’re fortunate to have several record stores here that sell actually LPs! Last Vestige has an amazing collection of classic country western music on vinyl from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s, as well as some more modern favorites too dating as “new” as the 80s.
It’s a fact that country music fans still love to purchase their favorite albums on CD and while you can hit up the local WalMart or Target, we are fortunate to have the world headquarters of F.Y.E. right here in Albany and with that comes several retail locations that offer a big selection of country music. The F.Y.E. store at Crossgates has the largest selection of country music on CD. The location at Colonie Center also has a great collection. If you aren’t near either, F.Y.E. has locations in Queensbury, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Johnstown.
We have so many bowling alleys in the Albany area. Abundant. You can find several in the larger cities, and even in many of the smaller towns and villages. For the city folk, or those who don’t mind venturing into town, the Playdium is our favorite. It’s delightfully stuck in the 1960s heyday of bowling alleys – from the signage to the lounge. They do have automatic scoring though, so you need to sharpen a pencil. If you know of a bowling alley with a country music night email us – we’ll make sure to make that our best best, but we haven’t found one yet.
There are many places to go line dancing,and you might even be able to do so with our own Kevin Richards, Our best bet? Vapor Night Club in Saragota. This multi-million dollar night club has a state of the art sound system, a high-tech light show and giant video screen, BONUS: an all-country format on select Thursdays, and you've got the Northeast version of the Wildhorse Saloon.
It’s easy for us to make The Barrel Saloon country music central for many things – but our very favorite night is the Karaoke night here – there are a few country themed karaoke nights (but hardly enough of them!) but none as good as you’ll find here every Wednesday at 9P
Three Words – Dirty Swamp Water. If you’re birthday happens to fall on a Wednesday, then you’re in luck for a perfect country night (see our best pick for country karaoke) at the Barrel Saloon. This birthday drink is free on your birthday, comes in a fish bowl (a rather large one at that). We have no idea what’s in it, but we do know there are no goldfish.
Need a new hat? Perhaps want to give one for the holidays? A quick drive out to Greenville, NY will bring you to the Westerner, and our favorite selection of cowboy boots. It’s about a 1/2 hour drive south of Albany but worth the drive.
Want to be the next big country star? Great! But you need to know how to play a guitar and you can get your start at the Troy Music Academy. Lessons are inexpensive, and gift certificates are available for a future country star in your family.
DJ Kenny Casanova has over half a dozen country themes you can choose from for your party or wedding. He gives you a whole bunch of free ideas for throwing your own country themed party too – but hiring an expert never hurts either.
When we want to see a good stock car race we head to Fonda. We especially love races on the dirt track, so this is the perfect place.
Everyone has driven out to Oneonta for Brooks BBQ, or been at a function where Brooks came to us. If you haven’t experienced this yet, you should. One review we found of our favorite place for chicken BBQ said ‘before you die, eat here’ – and we agree. Not only is the food great, it is also a great price.
Casey’s Restaurant is one of those hidden gem places that we like to keep a secret but yet tell everyone. The first time you go they will likely ask your name, and if you return a few times, don’t be surprised if they remember it. They do a great job with steak – and the name thing is a nice touch too.
Want to learn horseback riding? Fortunately lots of places you can go but we like the folks at Double B Farms. We think you will too. They are our pick because they are best for beginners, which if your’e taking lessons, that’s you!
Want a country wedding that’s out in the country? There just so happens to be some folks who go by the name ‘A Wedding in The Country’ who specialize in just that. You could venture out to Galway for a very old church setting, or consult the reverend for where a great outdoor spot is too. The church has been specializing in this since 1859, so they might have some experience.
Mud season is our favorite time to take the truck out and give it some color. Or the Jeep. Or whatever. Fact is though, it’s not legal to go mudding on public lands and the DEC frowns upon it. You’ll have to stick with private property. We’ve tried to find a good place to go that perhaps charges a small fee, but we have yet to find one. If you know of someplace to go – email us and we’ll check it out.
City Beer Hall has to be one of the coolest places ever. There's beer + free pizza + a mechanical bull. They also have a bingo night. We're in love.
Looking for a country drive with great farm and country views? Try this one in PIttstown, NY / West Hoosick, NY Take (Rensselaer) County Route 111 to Co Rt 110 and from there Co Rt 104 which turns into Mechanic Street in the village of Hoosick Falls. NY Route 22 runs through the village which will take you north to NY 67 or South to NY 7
Did you know that there hasn’t been a licensed distillery in Albany since the prohibition era? That all changed in 2011 when the Albany Distilling Company commenced operations in downtown Albany. They just poured their first batch that will be for public sale into barrels. The liquid goodness will be ready for public consumption just in time for Christmas 2012. This is the closest we can get to a local whisky, as despite the decriminalization of homebrewing beer and wine in 1978, amateur distilling is still against the law.