You know that magical feeling that happens whenever you step foot inside a coffee shop? It’s that all-at-once combination of the scent of roasting java, the buzz of conversation, and the innate feeling of ease that lures locals time and time again. An intangible je ne sais quoi, it’s a quality that only the best cafés can grasp, let alone master.
That’s why we were more than a little surprised when we found a beer shop that has it.
Admittedly, “beer shop” doesn’t do Craft Draft justice. A newcomer to Newburgh, the Front Street locale is more of a beer café than a bar or storefront. Its aura is reminiscent of a friend’s living room, one in which beer caps pop over easy conversation during weekends when the minutes while unknowingly away.
Indeed, that lowkey, family-style vibe is exactly what co-owner Antonia Stach craved when she opened Craft Draft with her husband, Daniel Zuber, and their friend, Daniel “Dano” Schiavone.
“We thought it would be so cool if we could take a craft beer festival and put it permanently in one place so people could always sample great, local craft beers and also take some to go,” she explains.
Prior to opening the shop during the final weekend in October, Stach, a Marlboro native, had only experienced the food industry as a patron. Her husband had previously brewed beer with his brother, who opened a brewery in New Jersey, while Schiavone worked for a national tea packaging company. In other words, business ownership was new territory for them.
The trio settled upon Newburgh as a way to pay tribute to the city they call home.
“We love Newburgh!” Stach enthuses. “As residents, we are really proud of our little city on the river, and the views are unbeatable down at the waterfront where we are located.”
Unbeatable, they most certainly are. Craft Draft sits at a covetable location on Front Street, right between Riverview Salon & Day Spa and Millennium Tattoo. Inside, it charms with rustic brick walls that imbue a natural coziness into the space.
As for what’s inside, that would be some of the top brews in New York State. Craft Draft is a dedicated local beer shop with options for guests who want to pass an afternoon or simply pop in to pick up a few cans for later. There are 16 taps in-house, and they pour a medley of New York beer and cider. Local favorites like Cousins Ale in Wappingers Falls and Mill House Brewing Company in Poughkeepsie take up prime real estate on the menu, with Newburgh’s Graft Cider and Warwick’s Applewood Winery mead thrown into the mix as well.
For anyone interested, Craft Draft offers tastings for guests who like variety, with to-go options available for visitors who can’t wait to take that favorite new brew home. Keeping with the “drink local” concept, the watering hole stocks regional wines for those who crave a glass of vino instead.
While the beverages on tap are niche in a wonderful way – think a fruity sour from Mill House alongside an Imperial IPA from Common Roots – the cuisine is full-on comfort fare. On the menu, Craft Draft turns two classic lunchtime staples, namely peanut butter and grilled cheese sandwiches, into customizable bites that hit the spot alongside foamy brews. The peanut butter lineup, for instance, features cheekily named entrees like “The Great Depression” with peanut butter and pickles and “Call Me the Brieze” with brie, hard apple cider jelly, and apples.
The grilled cheese spread is customizable, giving diners the freedom to pick and choose between additions like cheddar, brie, pickles, craft beer jellies, kielbasa, and more. For snackers, Craft Draft satiates sweet and salty cravings with kielbasa sticks, beer brittle, and even cookie bars, the latter which come from Mad Batters Pastries in Marlboro.
All in all, the effect is an easy, welcoming one. With drinks and small bites for everyone, Craft Draft is the type of place that invites locals for post-work drinks and tempts out-of-towners to make weekend pitstops for afternoon snacks or sips along the Hudson River. Currently, the bar is open from Wednesday to Sunday during the week, with extended hours on Friday and Saturday. Once the weather turns warmer, the owners may add additional days to the lineup.
As far as brewing goes, the café does not currently produce any beer of its own. Of course, with so many Hudson Valley breweries located a stone’s throw away, it’s only a matter of time before a collaboration results.
Have you grabbed a glass at Craft Draft yet? Let us know what you think of the space in the comments!
12 Front St, Newburgh