These Bars and Cocktail Lounges Serve Top-Notch Drinks in the Hudson Valley

From old-school dives to trendy cocktail lounges, the Hudson Valley has a wealth of watering holes to grab a round or two.

We asked local beverage pros for their favorite bars to give you inspiration for your next night out.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Universal Café & Bar, Germantown

They’re right across the street from Gaskins and opened last year. We were the only restaurant in town for the last eight years and I love having somewhere to pop in for a drink right near home. We share a lot of the same regulars, so I always see a familiar face.”
—Sarah Suarez, co-owner of Gaskins, Germantown

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Central House
Photo courtesy of Central House

Step inside the Central House Inn’s Universal Café & Bar to find a modern space with plenty of art adorning the walls. On tap are beers and ciders from local producers such as Mill House Brewing Company and Hudson North Cider Co., or you can opt for a glass of wine or signature cocktail such as the Firefly, a mix of gin, Suze, Lillet, and a pink grapefruit-bay leaf shrub. You can also order bar bites like citrus-marinated olives, a full entrée, or dessert from the café menu.

A Place With a Chill Vibe

The Nest, Kinderhook

“It’s the perfect spot to drink and dine, whether it is alone or with friends. The cocktails are fresh and inventive, but even better is their bartender Nick, who makes a great drink but even better conversation.”
—Daniele Frazier, bartender at Bimi’s Canteen, Chatham

The Nest, an elegant space in the Kinderhook Knitting Mill serves wine, local beers from Arrowood, and Nine Pin ciders. Select cocktails are made with shrubs and syrups from neighbor business 2 Note, like the Hummingbird with Thai basil vodka, lemongrass syrup, and lemon juice. Order small plates or larger entrées off the menu from the adjacent restaurant The Aviary.

For Drinks With a View

Dolly’s, Garrison

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“Dolly’s seems to always innovate and try out new recipes. I love how they incorporate New York distilleries like Forthave (Brooklyn) and Method Spirits (Finger Lakes) into their menu.”
—Matt Green, owner of Liquid Fables, Beacon

Dolly’s setting is ideal for an outdoor drink with river views. The bar shakes up everything from negronis to creative sips like Dolly’s Pop (cucumber and turmeric vodka with seltzer, lemon, and toasted coriander syrup). Dolly’s is also restaurant, serving seasonal bistro-style fare.

For Drinks and a Show

The Wherehouse, Newburgh

“I always go to The Wherehouse when I want to see great live music—the atmosphere of the bar is second to none!”
—Matt Green

Equal parts classic bar and music venue, The Wherehouse promises a fun night out. After enjoying one of the 24 beers on tap or a craft cocktail (like the Rock Fantasy made with black currant-infused whiskey, raspberry jam, and grapefruit juice) and a burger (meat or vegan), dance to a live band. They regularly host musicians who play all genres from rock and psychedelic to swing and indie.

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For an Intimate Night Out

Small Talk, Woodstock

“Recently opened last October, this establishment brings a unique touch to classic cocktails. The owners, Kat Bangs and Mark Landsman, contribute to the warm atmosphere. Right on Tinker Street, Small Talk boasts a dimly lit and moody ambience, providing a perfect setting for enjoying their well-executed classics.”
—Greg Windrem, beverage director at Deer Mountain Inn, Tannersville

At Small Talk, customers can enjoy seasonal cocktails like the Piparra martini (gin or vodka, dry vermouth, and pickled pepper brine) and specialty spirits such as German rye and Lebanese arak. The food menu includes chicken pot pies, mac ‘n’ cheese, and mezze platters. If you’re looking to stock up your home bar cart, head to their sister business—Elevated Wine & Spirits in Hunter.

Where to Go With Friends

The Maker, Hudson

“The Lounge is ideal for a round before heading to dinner. A special shout-out to Tommy, an incredible barman who consistently crafts exceptional drinks, whether it’s a classic or something off the menu. Pro tip: If you’re feeling adventurous, ask him for one of his ‘tiki’ creations.”
—Greg Windrem

The Maker
Courtesy of The Maker

The Lounge at The Maker hotel, a former 19th-century carriage house, is an intimate, dimly lit setting to enjoy a drink. Pia Bazzani, the head mixologist, crafts signature cocktails named after novels, like Big Swiss (which, fun fact—takes place in Hudson!), made with Swedish punsch liqueur, cognac, amaro, falernum, and rye. International wines, local craft beers, and inventive mocktails such as the peach- and jasmine-flavored Owl Moon are also on the menu, plus snacks like truffle fries and oysters.

For South of the Border Sips

Casa Susanna, Leeds

“Mixologist and author Natasha David designs their killer cocktail list. The Tepache Colada (with blanco tequila, Oaxacan rum, tepache, and coconut) is a favorite.”
—Sarah Suarez

Open for only a year, the restaurant and bar at boutique hotel Camptown has already drummed up critical acclaim—chef Efrén Hernández was nominated for a James Beard award. The drink menu nods to Hernández’s Mexican heritage, and ranges from a classic margarita (tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice) to a spicy elote sour made with jalapeño-infused tequila, corn liqueur, strawberry, and lime juice. Pair your cocktail with an order of fresh corn masa.

For Hyper-Fresh Ingredients

Hemlock, Catskill

“Hemlock is a true gem, serving as a fantastic neighborhood spot. Their cocktail menu is fresh and exciting, and if you happen to be there late at night, don’t miss out on the hot dogs!”
—Greg Windrem

Hemlock
Photo courtesy of Hemlock

Before moving upstate, owner Adam Minegar tended bar at Raines Law Room and Dear Irving. Hemlock’s bartenders squeeze fresh juice—from pineapple to cucumber—every day and incorporate seasonal ingredients into the menu when possible. The cocktail list changes frequently but look out for creations such as the Gourgeous, made with gin, sherry, lemon, and cucumber juice. The bar also serves small bites, including a vegan take on chopped cheese and a wagyu smash burger.

For Elevated Classics

Kitty’s, Hudson

“It’s my go-to when I want a cocktail made immaculately. The space is designed and lit to create the perfect mood for a martini or gimlet made with attention to detail and exquisite ingredients. I can’t pick someone up from the train across the street without stopping in for a drink first!”
—Daniele Frazier

Kitty's bar in Hudson
Photo by Rebecca Fogg Shaw

A multi-concept space with a market, a restaurant, and a great bar—what more could you ask for? Cocktails like the rinsed martini are made with local spirits such as vodka from Albany Distilling Co. and gin from Arrowood Farms. Want to try something new? Order the Best Fronds, made with pineapple rum, Campari, sweet vermouth, and chocolate bitters.

Related: Bimi’s Canteen & Bar Is a Bistro for Cheese Lovers in Chatham

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