Underneath the Colgate Inn, University students, faculty, staff and Hamilton locals, can find Hamilton’s newest dining venue: The Library, which opened on September 14. The Library takes guests back to the days of the Prohibition-era with its new speakeasy, offering original cocktails, mocktails, local spirits and small plates. Centered around two large communal tables, guests can drink and dine in a space inspired by a classic library complete with table games, art, leather sofas and club chairs. The drink menu features cocktails named after famous literary characters, and all drinks are discounted during Happy Hour from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.. Guests can enjoy dishes such as Creole Shrimp with Chorizo Panko, a Seacuterie plate or Old Home Distillery Ice Cream Sundae while listening to live music from local groups and musicians.
The new bar and restaurant opened in mid-September, following the renovation of a space that used to hold private events for The Tavern and the hotel.
The Library General Manager Kendra Young said that she is excited about the look and feel of the new space.
“We wanted it to feel authentic, like an old library. We took the old space, added some new lighting, bookshelves, and decor to make it feel like something pretty unique,” Young said.
Guests can enter The Library through an exterior staircase and tunnel located adjacent to the main entrance to The Colgate Inn or they can enter using the stairway to the right of the inside entrance to The Tavern.
Bartender Kali Gates said the crowd is usually filled with a mix of clientele, from students and professors to locals.
“It’s a great mix of people in here. Really everybody, even the students, come in,” Gates said.
Behind the bar, guests can choose from a variety of bourbons, whiskeys and wines, or from the list of modern inspired cocktails.
“I love the Atticus Finch,” Gates said.
Her counterpart, sophomore Lucas Rondan, agreed with Gates’s suggestion, also citing the Sherlock Holmes and Leopold Bloom as house favorites.
For guests who prefer non-alcoholic beverages, The Library can make anything on the menu without alcohol, also providing specialties such as the Mary Poppins, which features a unique Raspberry Shrub base.
“If you ever see something on the internet that you’ve wanted to try, bring it in and show us, and we will give it a try as long as we have the ingredients, and we can always substitute,” Gates said.
All drinks are composed of ingredients such as bacon-infused bourbon, the base for Gandalf, and are then infused with bitters. Bartenders then garnished the drinks with ingredients such as espresso beans, bacon, grilled pineapple, jalapeño extracts and candied ginger, which are are all laid out in jars and glasses on the counter of the bar.
First-year Calloway Nettles said he visited the Library and enjoyed appetizers such as the Creole Shrimp, Prosciutto di Parma Croquettes, Spanish Olives and Marcona Almonds.
“The food was awesome in presentation and taste. It was perfect with what the bartender had prepared,” Nettles said.
Those who work in The Library can provide recommendations to any first timers.
“The Seacuterie is definitely a favorite, but I also love the shrimp,” Gates said.
Rondan also recommended the Seacuterie, which features smoked salmon pastrami and seared sesame Ahi Johana crab dip. Rondan said that the Brie En-Croute topped with fig compote is a special dish that is not to be missed.
The Library is open from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. No reservations are needed, and guests can enjoy cocktails and appetizers in the Library before or after dining in The Tavern.