Slurp a ‘Nervous Breakdown’ — or Maybe a Margarita — at Vergennes’ Up Top Tavern | 7 Nights Spotlight | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Slurp a ‘Nervous Breakdown’ — or Maybe a Margarita — at Vergennes’ Up Top Tavern

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Up Top Tavern - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Up Top Tavern

The Up Top Tavern looks like the spot where a crusty New England judge in a Shirley Jackson novel might stop for a scotch on his way home from chambers. Tucked on the second floor of a 19th-century Greek Revival building on the town green, it's all low lighting, dark wood and maroon walls. There's a model ship over the fireplace — flanked by leather sofas — and one booth sits directly under a massive moose head.

But it's hard to imagine a town father sipping a "White Chocolate Martini" — a foamy concoction of vanilla Stoli, Kahlua and heavy cream scalloped with house-made dark-chocolate ganache. With six beers on tap and a cooler full of bottled brews, the Up Top offers sips of urbanity, even if the folks at the wall-length bar are likely to be regulars jawing companionably with the staff.

Up Top Tavern - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Up Top Tavern

The creative (and saucily named) drink specials at the Up Top change with the seasons: Among the offerings on a wintry day are the "Toboggan" (hot chocolate and Frangelico), the "Nervous Breakdown" (soda water, raspberry vodka and Chambord) and the tangy tropical "Shangri-La," which combines homemade passionfruit juice with soda water, Cointreau and lime. In the warm months, patrons can scope out the village green from the outdoor patio while sipping a black-raspberry Cosmo or a Margarita flavored with apricot or smoked sage. Many drinks come with an extra portion, and with prices hovering around $7, they're a steal by city standards.

Food choices are limited but solid: The Up Top offers a menu of hot pub fare ferried from nearby 3 Squares Café, including a Boyden Farm burger, a "Grilled Chicken Cobb Sandwich" and a veggie 'wich with asparagus and Portobella mushrooms. Like Vergennes, Up Top combines metropolitan stylings and small-town charm in a very neat package.


This article was originally published in 7 Nights: The Seven Days Guide to Vermont Restaurants & Bars in April 2010.

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