What is now the Station Bar & Curio began its life in 1900 as the Brown’s Station building for the stop on the old Ulster and Delaware line that brought passengers from Kingston Point to Oneonta. Separate branches went to Kaaterskill and Hunter.
The building was moved to become the Ashokan station in 1913 after Brown’s Station became underwater, flooded along with many other communities in the construction of the Ashokan Reservoir. It served as a working railroad station until 1954 when the trains ceased operation.
Victor Basil purchased and moved the station to 101 Tinker Street, Woodstock around 1970.
The picturesque old train station housed many businesses over the years including the salon, Melody’s Hair Station, through the 1980’s and 90’s. It temporarily housed the Gilded Carriage after the business suffered a fire. More recently it served as the office for Harmony Builders.
Now, this artifact of a bygone era, which has had so many eyes on it through the years has become The Station Bar & Curio, which opened for business on June 24.
It began with a musings that have a familiar ring to many Woodstockers. “One afternoon, we had this conversation, like how great would it be to open a bar and be able to raise our son here,” said co-owner Lily Korolkoff, who is now in the business with her husband, Ben Rollins. “We drove past this place and saw the ‘For Rent’ sign and just kind of went for it.”
Growing up, Korolkoff split time between Manhattan and Fleishmanns and has always enjoyed the area. She spent many years working at and managing bars and most recently was a full-time stagehand for eight years. Soon, work and city life got the best of her and Rollins and they saw owning the bar as a better way to raise their son.
“About a year ago, we just got sick of the city and hated our jobs and had a three-month-old and had this moment where we saw a need for a place to hang out,” said Korolkoff. “We couldn’t afford the city anymore, so this was the best alternative and it was always something we wanted to do anyway. Either we did it now or we wouldn’t have done it and we would’ve regretted it.”
The Station’s opening was always in the cards. It just took more than four decades to make it happen. The building’s original owner, Victor Basil, wanted to make it into a bar when he had it moved here around 1970, but the town’s sewer system couldn’t support it at the time. The building’s current owners John and Marina Basil have been extremely supportive and “almost like a second family,” Korolkoff said.
Now, the one time waypoint for northern Catskill rail passengers is a place to stop, relax, have a cold beer or cocktail, play a game of pool and chat with friends. The inside is cozy, but there’s also plenty of seating on the porch outdoors on a warm summer day, where regular live music is planned.
While it’s mainly a bar, it does feature a steady rotation of panini-style grilled sandwiches, gazpacho and a couscous and vegetable salad, with al ingredients purchased locally.
Korolkoff’s brother, Sasha, helps out at the bar/cooking area on the weekends. The beers on tap are from breweries within the state and are rotated regularly. A wide selection of canned and bottled beer is also available. Many of the wines and spirits also come from area wineries and distilleries.
The couple soon brought on friend Mark Landsman as a third partner because of his restaurant experience and worked hard making their dream a reality. Landsman also lived in the city but now calls Woodstock his full-time home. Rollins and Korolkoff now live in Halcott Center, just outside of Fleischmanns, but they are looking for a home in the Woodstock area to raise their son, Theo, who is now 18 months.
The Station isn’t just any bar. The decor embraces its history as a railroad station, with signs, timetables and railroad lamps giving a nod to the bygone era.
Many items inside have become conversation pieces, including an old radiator that was repurposed to serve as six of The Station’s eight beer taps. Its easy to discover pieces in different nooks that were not seen in prior visits, striking up more conversation. There’s also a couch and tables in what one could imagine may have served as the passenger waiting area.
“For the shelving for the back bar, we found all the lumber upstairs in the attic,” Korolkoff said. “We removed very little from the original structure. We kept everything we found and tried to reuse whatever we could.”
Korolkoff used her experience lighting displays at the Museum of Natural History to build a curio cabinet which will feature rotation objects of interest.
Friends and family helped out. Korolkoff’s father, Alex, built the bar.
The Station is also open to supporting local artists and plans to exhibit pieces without charging commission to those who want to sell them.
“It’s such a rambling space. It’s like a living room,” said Korolkoff. “I feel like every time it’s really crowded, it’s a house party. I feel like I’m back in high school throwing a party at my parents’ place. The only difference is I feel like I don’t have to run around asking people not to break stuff.”
Hours are Monday through Thursday 4 p.m.-2 a.m. and Friday through Sunday, noon-2 a.m.