Written and Photographed by Rich Volo
There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to write this and tell you about Hagar’s. Will Hagar’s now be overrun by trust-funders who moved upstate to complain about gentrification?
The good part is that it’s almost impossible to find.
Ride through Athens, on 385, right past Murderer’s Creek. Drive up the hill and you’ll see the sign – it’s huge – and still easy to miss.
You’ll pass Brick Row – a row of brick houses, in the middle of nowhere. Once there was a factory/plant, now only the worker houses remain.
The building itself is unassuming – simple and plain. When I take my friends for the first time, they look at me in the parking lot, the memory of passing Murderer’s Creek still fresh, and wonder, where am I taking them? And why??
You might not get on a cruise ship again anytime soon, and that’s OK. Hagar’s is the next best thing. Sit at the bar, order a drink, and you’re right over the water, on the dock. You feel like you’re on vacation. It’s the Hudson River, with fancy boats stopping on the dock, like the Virgin Islands!
Without fail, there’s the question, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a boat?”
I’ve been to Hagar’s so many times, and I’ve been through this exact conversation so many times, that I have a “you-don’t-want-a-boat” spiel. “Boats are expensive! Expensive to run. Expensive to store. And how many times are you REALLY going to use it?”
Hagar’s makes you feel fancy as you sip a margarita, looking out over the water. It makes you feel as if you can afford a boat.
The place is unpretentious – like the millionaire who doesn’t look like a millionaire. The food is fun – burger and fries – and the seafood is excellent. There’s a pear salad, with beets and goat cheese, that’s healthy and hearty.
The service is polite and prompt, always smiling and helpful. Our server Veronica was very sweet and professional. She wore a mask, and the outdoor patio seating is more than six feet apart.
“Get a kayak!” I continue with my spiel. “No maintenance. Then, you can kayak here!” (I’ve yet to convince anyone, though, to buy a kayak. Luckily, I don’t live off my kayak sales commissions.)
However, I have kayak-ed here. It’s extra fun and adventurous to paddle up to the dock for a drink!
There was evening karaoke. You may lose the view of the water at nighttime, but the inside space is rollicking. Plus, there’s no bugs indoors.
I’ve gone to Hagar’s with other gay guys – and walked in late like Miranda who’s pressed for time between briefs, but yet, can still squeeze in brunch with Carrie and Charlotte. We may turn heads, but the heads turn right back around. Folks just want to know who found Hagar’s. Hopefully, it’s not the trust-fund kids. Don’t tell them.
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