If you’ve been in Stowe for any amount of time, and you’re a fan of the limited nightlife scene here (a smattering of live music, a deluge of great beer), there’s a good chance you’ve been to the Backyard Tavern. Located, appropriately, in a secluded spot one could call a backyard to Mountain Road, “The Yard” is where youthful locals and weekend warriors turn up before turning in for the evening. And if you’ve been to the Backyard, you’ve certainly seen the perpetually smiling face and been in the capable service of bartender and town treasure Dennis Tallagnon.
A spin through the World Wide Web finds the name of Dennis popping up on nearly every review site on which the Backyard is mentioned — “Dennis is the man!” is a popular refrain, as is “Dennis is the BEST bartender ever” and “say hi to Dennis for me!”
Dennis will not only mix you a terrific cocktail or pour a generous round for you and your buddies, he’ll gladly hand over the remote if there’s a game you’re dying to watch on TV, and he’ll rally a team to push your car out of a snowy rut if you get stuck in the driveway. He’s there to lend a kind ear if you have a heavy heart, he’ll call you a cab if you find yourself rideless in the wee hours of the morning, and, in a town where most kitchens shut down at 10 p.m., he’ll make you a syrup-drenched plate of fried chicken and waffles or a tasty basket of late-night fries.