Bar Hoppin’ in Utica

by Joanne on December 3, 2011

Ted and I made the rounds. There are a couple of new places in Utica as well as the old tried and true.

Down by the train station there is a place called The Cage.  If you’ve lived in Utica a while, you recognize it

as the old Trackside Tavern. 


The renovated establishment offers an upstairs training facility for ultimate fighting.  Downstairs is a sports bar with more televisions than the typical sports bar times two. 


Here’ a little excerpt from the CAGE website:

While competing professionally in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, owners Duff Holmes and Matt Hamill traveled across the world, and visited the best sports bars on the planet.
The Cage is a combination of all the best those sports bars had to offer. Whether it’s lunch, dinner, happy hour, a business meeting, the big game or socializing with friends over an ice cold beer, The Cage is the place to be. We hope you enjoy.
Thank You. Your friends,
Matt & Duff

We didn’t stay for dinner but did enjoy a glass of wine and a brewski


Nothing fancy but a good name


The Cage has a nice atmosphere, definitely the place to go and watch your favorite event on television, plus a super meeting place for friends. Friendly and great service.  If I ate chicken wings, I’d be at the Cage for wings and beer every Sunday, watching my favorite team.

After The Cage, Ted and I made our way into Washington Mills where we used to frequent The Vineyard.   The Vineyard is now closed and the place has been joined with the pizza shop to make one massive sports lovers dream.  It’s now simply one big “Tony’s Pizzeria”.


Again, televisions everywhere.  The atmosphere isn’t quite as pleasant as The Cage. 

Left over wine selection from when the Vineyard was well stocked so I leapt at the opportunity to enjoy a California Syrah.  That’s wine!


Ted enjoyed his second beer.  *I really should start taking notice of what beer he’s drinking but it just doesn’t have the same appeal to me as wine. 

The hostess behind the bar was very friendly and when I asked about her tattoos (she had a lot of them), we got the full story on each one.  Quite interesting that the tattoos on her finger were the most painful and also, the very first ones she had done.  Guess it’s like running a marathon or having a baby, it hurts pretty bad but we keep doing it over and over again. *I wouldn’t know about child birth but that seems to be the case.

By this time we were getting hungry so we decided to sample the menu. 


A nice large Greek antipasto.  The rest of our dinner was better left unsaid.  It wasn’t our favorite and I’ll only add that I ate a piece of fried fish that I could have done without.  Ted had a burger that was dry and virtually tasteless.  On a good note:  The antipasto was enjoyed and the people watching in this place is tops!  Smile with tongue out

I also mentioned we went to some tried and true places.  Last night for our Friday dinner out, we decided on The Balkan/Hadley.


What a wonderful surprise we had after being seated, our friend Pierre from Franchetta’s strolled by and told us about his new endeavors.  He runs The Balkan/Hadley with his friend.  Pierre is keeping Franchetta’s although it isn’t currently open, he has plans to purchase the adjoining building to Franchetta’s on Columbia Street as well as other things in the mix.  How entrepreneurial our friend is!

It was great to see Pierre again.  He never fails to offer a smile and funny word or two. 

Our dinner at The Balkan/Hadley was fantastic as usual.


Turbot Filet broiled in olive oil and lemon with mildly spiced brown rice.


Ted enjoyed a steak, potatoes and beans.

BUT…look what else TED had – CARROT CAKE!


Too full to move, we enjoyed the music in the bar area:  Saxophone and piano with a background of loud, chattering women (could have done without).


Nice enjoyable evening. Good fun, friends, and food.

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1 Comment

  • At 2011.12.03 10:22, Sandi said:

    How fun! You guys seem to always have such a great time together 🙂

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