The Blue Rock Shoot (or, as we locals know it, simply "Blue Rock"), like many things, is past its prime. It recently changed ownership under somewhat mysterious circumstances, and something died with the change. I'm not entirely sure what, but the vibe it had previously cultivated is lost. Amir's theory (a friend that I met at the premises) is that since the liquor license is in the mail (and should arive March 4th, so everyone should turn out and give it a great welcome), the "usuals" are different, and thus the vibe different. That's a good theory, but I think it goes deeper. A quarter of an inch deeper, in fact.
Immediately before the ownership change, they embarked upon a substantial renovative effort, particularly upon the wooden floors. Previously they had this gritty, dirty, old-looking floor. Seeing as how the entire place was trying to cultivate an ancient feel, I thought it went well. However they ground off about the top 1/4", and now it has a bright red and beige look. It's admittedly much cleaner, brigher, and cheerier. But with that 1/4" went a whole lot of style. Now it looks like a poor rendition of the Starbucks motif, losing its authenticity but without gaining modernity.
While on the subject of Starbucks -- a fine coffeeshop about which I have no complaints -- the Blue Rock has dropped their great looseleaf tea selection in favor of Tazo tea! Tazo is probably the worst brand of tea of which I'm aware. I like the Zen and Tazo Chai, but the rest pretty much blow. As far as bagged teas, it's all about Mighty Leaf, Choice, or even Twinnings. But Tazo -- gah. Hopefully when I get back in a year they'll have come to their senses.
Anyway, it's still a great place, and I'm sure will get greater once the fine wine selection is back. In addition, they have good folk music on the weekends, a nice menu of sandwiches, pizzas, and salads, and a good dessert menu. At nights they turn on some great heat-lamps in the front and back porches, allowing visitors to see and be seen in downtown Saratoga without suffering the weather. All in all, a good place, though it still has yet to regain its former glory.