Wonder Bar: A Little Gem in Beacon, NY

If you haven’t yet tried this Beacon gem; Wonderbar, here is a little intro and history. You walk into this quaint retro cocktail bar, which is adjacent to the Story Screen Beacon Theater, and you are instantly greeted with a warm smile from one of their mixologists. The smell of popcorn fills your nostrils and there is just something about this space that offers you instant comfort. It could be the nostalgia of the decor that immediately transports you back to the original nightclub from the 1930s & 40s. Back in those days, it was a place for musicians and singers to showcase their talents and you can almost feel the history.

If you’re hungry, you can order thoughtful, small bites and sandwiches created by Chef Adam Sternberg and wash it all down with a hand-crafted cocktail cleverly named after a character, quote or setting from the classic movies we love so much at Story Screen Beacon.

Project developer Brendan McAlpine and owner/operator Marjorie Tarter opened Wonderbar a year after opening Story Screen Theater in the landmark Beacon Theater building. They restored the historic 1929 space and brought a little independent theatre back to Dutchess County.

For the time being, due to the COVID19 Pandemic, the theatre and bar are temporarily closed for the safety of their employees and customers but when they reopen, movie goers and locals can look forward to a brand new cocktail menu, with a lighter, Spring-time focus.

With so many restaurants shuttering, restaurateur/developer Brendan McAlpine, was kind enough to offer a few words of encouragement and advice during these trying times. Here are a few things I asked him:

Any words of advice for bar/restaurant owners during this time?

“Be flexible.  Be creative.  If this shutdown is going to last for an extended period of time (most likely) you will have to be creative to change your concept to generate streams of revenue you didn’t focus on before.  Think about selling cocktail kits and cook at home packages for customers.  Traditional takeout is a great start, but the owners that adapt and execute well can still thrive.”

How important is it that the locals support small businesses at this time and why?

“It’s incredibly important.  Most mom and pop shops are living week to week, and to get shut down on the brink of their busy season has been devastating.  Many don’t have reserves to pay bills in the event of an extended shut down.  So don’t change the frequency you go “out” to eat, just buy takeout.  Or if you don’t feel secure leaving the house, buy a gift card online or contribute to one of the many staff GoFund me accounts being set up to benefit hospitality workers who were put out of work. ”


If you’d like to support Wonder Bar, the theatre, and their staff, in this time of need please visit the website here to purchase gift certificates!


If you’re inspired by art, history, and good food you can find incredible Beacon apartments available very close to this bar and theatre here! Or you can shoot me an email for a private virtual tour.

I look forward to seeing you all at Wonderbar soon! Stay safe everyone!

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