Baptism By Fire: How Schroon’s New Wine and Beer Bar Almost Didn’t Make It!

A welcome, new addition to the drinking and eating landscape in Schroon almost flamed out before it was launched, after a fire caused severe smoke and water damage to its new home.

Vine and Barley – Tasting Room and Tavern, now under construction on the second floor of the Towne Store, is a new venture by owners Bob and Patti Mehm. Miraculously, the building and their dream is intact.

For the last several weeks, a major renovation has been underway to convert the Town Store’s second floor, formerly home to an art gallery, into a 48 seat wine and craft beer tavern. Part of that renovation involved applying linseed oil to the floors. All was going along swimmingly, until last Monday.

Patti says she arrived at the store at about 5:15am, after the fire alarm went off.  She walked through the front door of the store into smoke and what she described as a “waterfall of water, coming from upstairs.”

“I don’t know how long the sprinkler system had been running for,” Patti told Schroon Laker today.

“There was about four feet of water in the basement. It was devastating, unbelievable,”

Tens of thousands of dollars of stock and merchandise was destroyed in the fire. “We lost everything in the basement and most everything from the main floor and upstairs. We still don't know the total damage."

Patti theorizes that in the wee hours of last Monday morning, rags used to wipe excess linseed oil from a newly finished floor spontaneously combusted. Linseed oil is known to do this.

Fast forward a week and a bit and a sense of normalcy has returned to the store and the soon to be opened tavern. The clean-up crew from Certified packed up their last dumpster yesterday, and Patti is planning on opening the main floor of the store this weekend. A June opening of Vine and Barley – Tasting room and Tavern, is expected. And on Friday, SchroonLaker will have the inside scoop.