Happy 120th Birthday To My Favorite Bar in Upstate New York

It’s better to read this post while playing this song ^

It feels just like yesterday I was attending school at Plattsvegas. I remember my first time heading to the Monopole, we would walk down a long dark alley before encountering the front entrance of Plattsburgh’s oldest bar, the Monopole Tavern.

Like clockwork we would go there and I would always get 10 wings, a pint of Saranac to wash it down and then play pool while going a few too many buttons deep with my friends.

monopole outside

My Alma mater SUNY Plattsburgh is located 2 hours north of Albany via one very scenic route along I-87 through the Adirondacks. And Plattsburgh resides across the lake from Burlington, an hour south of Montreal and is surrounded by America’s largest natural park, the Adirondacks.

Philip J. Blair opened the Monopole in 1898. The establishment first opened as a fine dining steakhouse. Later on in 1949 when Thomas J. Finnan (from Amsterdam, NY) took over ownership he started turning it into a tavern. In honor of the two owners, the stairwell heading up to the second floor has “P.B. Finnan” painted in gold lettering.

monopole 2

During the 60s – 70s the bar began to be taken over by college students, then in the 80s live music appeared and would fill up the second floor. A small stage would soon be added to help draw in more bands.


This bar has literally seen it all, from the Great Depression to prohibition, two World Wars, and over 20 presidencies. One thing has remained true in Plattsburgh, and that is the Monopole.

Plattsburgh isn’t known for a whole lot, but it’s certainly known for its parties.

plattsburgh pole

UAlbany students think that Kegs and Eggs was the shit? C’mon. First your school banned any celebration after you guys rioted for no reason. So I hate to break it to you, but Plattsburgh’s been going at it for decades on a whole new level.

Plattsburgh was listed in Playboy magazine (only behind New York City and Boston) as the top place to party on St. Patricks Day. In 1978 there were estimated around 10,000 people in downtown Plattsburgh. The crowd got out of control, a floor almost collapsed in a bar because there were too many people inside. That would be the last time school would be in session during the holiday.

Some of my professors who were around during the 60s/70s/80s/ would share a few stories of what went down before there was social media and it sounded like a scene straight out of the movie Animal House, I believe them…because that’s when Plattsburgh had a bar located on campus!!!

However, I love Monopole because of one night in particular, I’m talking about wing night of course! It’s a broke college kid’s dream, 50 cent wings? $1.50 pitchers of rolling rock? Makes me want to go back…These aren’t no ordinary wings either, some of the best in town, I’d even argue the state.

There’s two types of flavors that you’ll drool over.

  • Stoner – a mix of every sauce splashed together.
  • Mantis – a combination of buffalo sauce and honey mustard.


Monopole Tavern will be hosting a birthday party for their 120th year on November 30th. Happy birthday Monopole, here’s to another 120 years!


Two Buttons Deep is a news & entertainment website based in upstate New York.
We don’t just post the news, we post stuff worth talking about

Visit our newsfeed, and stay up to date on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.





  1. toobadforme

    Class of 83′ PBurgh grad here. I was lucky enough to experience the final years of both the “Pub” in the basement of McDonough Hall and Green beer served on St. patty’s day IN THE DINING HALL! (you would get one ticket for one beer as you got in line for food).
    The Monopole is the last of the great P-Burgh bars. Fileon’s, The Royal, The Rook, and Mother’s are all gone now, But the Monopole continues on. My memories include $1 Monday pitcher nights and Monopole famous “burn the roof of your mouth” pizza….

  2. Unlce Pete

    The college changed the calendar so “Spring Break” coincided with St. Patrick’s Day after 1978, but it was in session one more time in 1980 due to a February recess needed for the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. Monopoles did not serve wings then, they were famous pizza! The article in Playboy magazine was written by a freelancer whose flight from Montreal to NYC was weather grounded, so he attempted a Greyhound and got stuck in Plattsburgh for St. Patrick’s Day. Playboy picked up the freelancer’s article. The year after that publication the school and bars were run-over by outsiders.

    • Kyle

      That’s incredible! Thank you for sharing


How do you feel?

%d bloggers like this: