Saratoga Savoy Center of Dance's cabinet of instructors teaches hip-swinging classes in a variety of styles to partner-less dancers and matched sets of all levels and ages. Fox trot, waltz, and rumba through comprehensive ballroom lessons, or perfect the lindy hop in swing classes, wherein students learn a bombastic club-style dance executed to rockabilly, big-band, and jazz music. Club Latin, set to salacious tunes, teaches hips to keep time during the salsa, merengue, and bachata, without getting legs as tangled as the heartstrings of a newly single fourth grader. Bodies bump to newfangled urban beats in fast-paced hip-hop classes, or learn to maintain balance and connection with a partner in the Argentine tango.
Irish eyes smile in Niall Roche’s traditional Gaelic pub, at once cozy and grandiose with iron chandeliers and imported Irish furniture strewn throughout the many rooms of the 6,000-square-foot space. An Emerald Isle native with restaurateuring in his blood, Niall realized his dream of owning and operating a pub of his own in Saratoga. He's poured energy into The Irish Times Pub & Restaurant's tiny details: the hunter-green leather on the second-story furnishings, the serving staff of accented Gaels, and the wall-mounted fiddle painted as green as a three-leaf clover jealous of its four-leafed cousin. The bar and booths on the first floor form a cozy country-pub ambiance, and the castle-like second story takes advantage of the space and spills out over a rooftop terrace overlooking Congress Park.
As much care, if not more, is taken with the menus, which feature an all-day Irish breakfast, chicken with imported Irish curry, and Celtic fusion food that incorporates anything from egg rolls to nachos. Fresh haddock, broiled or fried, offers a taste of the North Atlantic, and a splash of Guinness improves menu items from the beef stew to the chocolate cake. While diners dig into hearty shepherd's pies or rasher-topped burgers, live musicians play anything from Celtic pub songs to contemporary radio jams.
Originally conceived as a summer residence for the New York Philharmonic, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center took shape in the bustling '60s, eventually evolving away from its intentions and becoming the residence for the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet. Set amid the 2,400-acre Spa State Park, which is rife with pines, hiking trails, geysers, and mineral springs, the 10-story amphitheater acts as a fitting haven for the arts. Before or after a show, guests can traverse the grounds to enjoy fresh air and a break from the city's frequent giant-lizard attacks or stop by the Jazz Bar for a drink.
Erected in 1890, the sprawling, country-style house that harbors The Good Times Lakeview Restaurant carries on a rich tradition of lakeside hospitality. After a stint as a speakeasy, the tree-flanked dwelling wrapped itself in a cocoon and emerged as a tavern in 1940. Over the next several years, the house shape-shifted into various establishments before reaching its current incarnation in 1973. Visitors munch classic American fare from a seasonally rotating menu as they warm up by the fireplace or attempt to coat Ballston Lake in mustard as they look out from old-fashioned wooden booths. The lake thrives with coastal wildlife as blue herons and flying squirrels traverse a landscape flourishing with impatiens, zinnias, and herbs. Stardust garnishes plates on the outdoor veranda, and private parties of 30–120 revelers tap toes on the dance floor of the sunny banquet room.