People waiting for a pint at the bar at P&G’s Restaurant might not know exactly how much history the building holds. Built in 1900, and with roughly 70 years as a restaurant and bar, the Main Street icon connects generations of college alumni, professors and current students with each other.
Mike Beck, P&G’s owner since 1985, is pretty proud of his establishment’s past — and how it still links back to yesterday.
“It’s neat, because the alumni or local people that used to hang out here — and either graduated or moved on — when they’re in town, they come back. So it’s always cool to see those people,” Beck said.
Of college-aged patrons today, he added: “We have a comfortable feel. It doesn’t feel brand new when you walk in the place. But I would suspect they don’t have a real sense of what P&G’s stood for, who they were and what happened here.”
P&G’s has also been a family business for Mike Beck, whose father Ed bought the bar back in 1969.
Here’s a look back at how P&G’s came to be the place everyone knows in 2014.
The (non-gambling) Casino
Originally built back in 1900 by John H. Hasbrouck, during the trolley car era, 91 Main Street in New Paltz used to be known as The Casino.
In 1961, the New Paltz Independent looked back on the history of the building, remembering its days as The Casino.
“In the center of the first floor was located a large artificial pool; which had goldfish and water lilies in it,” the article states.
The Casino was across the street from the New Paltz Hotel, a busy establishment that housed a bar. At that time in the early 1900s, The Casino didn’t serve booze.
Decked out with palm trees and exotic plants, its main draw was as a seasonal dance hall, catering to people from Poughkeepsie — originally it was open from May through September.
The Casino also dished out ice cream and entertained its crowd with live music from an orchestra and other acts. In 1901, it was a big deal — big enough to merit mention in the local papers — that The Casino got electric fans.
Articles remembering The Casino era looked back on pranks played in the fountain — which despite its height often found people dunked into it.
According to research done by P&G’s, Mr. Steen — The Casino’s owner — got the concept for the ice cream parlor and dance hall from “the famous Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.”
Blue Crane Inn
After it stopped being The Casino, the building morphed into the Blue Crane Inn, which opened in July 1921. At first, not much had changed. A news article from that year describes Blue Crane Inn as a “tea room and ice cream parlor.”
A vintage advertisement from the same time period brags about them offering “banana, orange ice and vanilla” as flavors.