The Library at the Colgate Inn Reopens


The Colgate Inn

BOOKS & BOOZE: The Library, a speakeasy located beneath the Tavern at the Colgate Inn, returns with a revamped menu.

“Hamilton’s one and only speakeasy,” The Library, reopened the first weekend of October after a hiatus since March 2020 due to the pandemic. The spot opened for the first time in September of 2019 and is located beneath the Tavern in the Colgate Inn, at the intersection of Payne and Madison streets.

Featuring handcrafted bookshelves, common area seating, a lounge and comfortable banquettes, the Library has a more intimate atmosphere than the Tavern upstairs. 

“It’s styled after a speakeasy space,” Colgate Inn’s General Manager Kendra Young said, noting the classical jazz and soul music that often plays to complement the Prohibition-inspired ambience. 

Craft cocktails named after famous literary characters, as well as a unique selection of beer and wine, are part of what differentiates this space from other options in the area.

“When you visit The Library speakeasy, choosing a cocktail is like choosing a character you’d like to be for the night,” reads a posting on the Inn’s Facebook page. “We invite you to try Ernest Hemingway on for size with our Death in the Afternoon cocktail, consisting of Absente Absinthe and Champagne.”

In addition to drinks, The Library has a menu that includes both small and shareable plates, such as a charcuterie board. Since reopening, “we have updated and refreshed the menu,” Young said.

The reopening of The Library marks a welcome occasion for Colgate students and the Hamilton community, especially for those who had frequented the spot prior to its temporary closure.

“During our sophomore year, the library was a frequent spot we visited as a great, cozy place to go with family or friends. We are so excited the library has reopened, especially now being 21. It’s a great place to go for a meal or cocktail,” senior Elizabeth Laub said. “We went with our parents during parents weekend and it’s such a great addition to the village.”

Senior Megan Smith echoed the sentiment, noting that the speakeasy is a unique spot in town.

“It’s a different [atmosphere] from other places in town and offers a traditional speakeasy setting,” Smith said.

The Library is open Fridays and Saturdays beginning at 5 p.m., with live music almost every Friday night. Previous acts include Colin Aberdeen and Mark Nanni, and future events will be posted on the Inn’s Facebook page.