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The Dark Horse Tavern: The Inside Story

“The Horse,” as it is affectionately known to most, has been the gathering place of choice for Cortland state students, alumni and locals since it opened in 1975.

Situated at the corner of Main Street and Clayton Avenue in downtown Cortland, New York, this landmark of memories is easily recognized by its huge two-story mural on the Clayton Avenue wall of the building. It is Central New York’s premier place to enjoy a beer or cocktail.

Although we’ve changed with the times, we’re proud to preserve the overall look from when we opened.  There’s the same warped bartop, the unique and historical wall hangings, the mesmerizing bathroom wallpaper and general atmosphere that’s been here for years.  We even have the same manager- yes; Dave Barbato is still here, running the best party in downtown Cortland since as he has since 1975!

The subtle changes we’ve made over the years to keep up with the times combined with that consistency of style and décor, makes us the place to be even after all these years.  The sidewalk seating out front, the comfortable and inviting main floor, and the second-floor party room combine to hold 350 people.  The upstairs is available for private parties, business functions, fundraisers, alumni events and other social gatherings for up to 150 people.

The Dark Horse network has grown to such a large population, that you can meet someone who has worked or drank at the Horse all over the world.  A Cortland Alumni even sent us a picture of a bartender in South Africa wearing one of our T-shirts!  If you see one of our shirts somewhere unexpected, e-mail us the photo evidence and we’ll post it on our website.

We are proud of our affiliations with other bars all over the country.  Our longest running friendship is with the Boardy Barn of Hampton Bays, L.I., NY.  Tony and his staff have been exchanging T-shirts and good times with us for many years.

We are especially proud of the honors we’ve gathered for giving back to the community.  We are affiliated with many charities, most notably the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of CNY, based in Syracuse.

Come back to your home away from home. Come to Cortland and drink to the years.

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