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These Hudson Valley destinations give new meaning to the term “happy hour” with top-notch drinks and activities to match.
Sipping a cocktail or microbrew in an inviting bar is always a treat, but have you ever done so while shopping for a novel? Or making a candle? Or even while getting a haircut? These nine spots not only serve great bevs and snacks, but they also offer activities to keep you busy while you imbibe.
BARBER AND BREW, COLD SPRING
Salon services can be relaxing on their own, but this bar and barber shop takes things one step further by offering a selection of local beer (Hudson Valley Brewery and Industrial Arts are regularly on tap) and wine to enjoy in their backroom speakeasy. (You can visit the bar and skip the haircut.) If you’re hungry, order from their upscale small plates menu, including bites like lobster salad, oysters from Oyster Party, and a spicy peanut and mushroom paté from Dolly’s Restaurant in Garrison. To book a hair appointment visit barberandbrew.com. (They cut women’s hair, too.)
BARD & BAKER BOARD GAME CAFÉ, TROY
Whether you go for classics like Clue and Checkers or more modern games, this café has over 800 options to keep your competitive spirit engaged. The food and drinks are a draw as well: think sandwiches on house-made bread, mac ‘n’ cheese, and salads. Wash it all down with bubble tea or a craft cocktail from the bar.
DISTRICT SOCIAL, BEACON
A plethora of bar games awaits you at District Social—everything from old school billiards and darts to axe throwing and arcade classics. On the weekends, patrons can enjoy live music from local bands while sipping on craft cocktails, wine and beer (Industrial Arts Brewing Company is their neighbor), or noshing on burgers, fries, and chicken bites from their newly opened outdoor kitchen. (For Asian-inspired snacks, Eat Church food truck is located in the parking lot.) District Social also has locations in Carmel (inside Spins Bowl) and Mount Kisco (at Grand Prix New York), but the bar is only open on Saturday nights at those locations.
HAPPY VALLEY ARCADE AND BAR, BEACON
If Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, or pinball were your jam as a kid, Happy Valley Arcade and Bar is a place your grown-up self will love. In addition to games, Happy Valley has a beautiful beer garden with local brews like Sloop’s Juice Bomb and Newburgh’s MegaBoss IPA, as well as a full bar and nostalgic food like mozzarella sticks and tater tots. Happy Valley also hosts monthly events including a drag show featuring local drag queens, karaoke nights, and Yoga & Beer mornings. Follow them on Instagram @happyvalleybeacon for their latest schedule.
POURED CANDLE BAR, HUDSON
Fragrance aficionados and crafty folks will fall in love with this beautiful bar, which allows customers to create their own candles, perfumes, and diffusers from over 70 fragrance choices. Sip on locally-made wine and beer while you work or indulge in vegan bar snacks. Although walk-ins are welcome, reservations are strongly recommended (and required for parties of five or more). PCB often invites DJs to spin specialty playlists for the crowd. Check their Instagram @pouredcandlebar for a list of upcoming events.
QB BALL, MIDDLETOWN
You’ve no doubt bowled before, but have you ever tried football bowling? You can at QB Ball (it’s basically just what it sounds like: trying to knock down pins with a football instead of a bowling ball). If that doesn’t sound appealing, they also offer axe throwing, corn hole, and a “Smash Room” that you can rent out for 30-minute sessions and break things (mainly glass bottles with a baseball bat) to your heart’s content. Afterward, head to the bar for beer, burgers, wings, and pizza provided by Clemson Bros. Brewery.
ROUGH DRAFT BAR & BOOKS, KINGSTON
Whether you’re in the mood for a cup of Counter Culture coffee or something a little harder such as beer, cider, or wine, Rough Draft has it. They also serve savory hand pies from Down Under Bakery in Brooklyn and a selection of pastries baked right in Kingston. All of which can be enjoyed while browsing their carefully curated selection of books, attending an author event, testing your knowledge on Trivia Night, or listening to live music on Friday evenings. (If you work in the bar and restaurant industry, stop in on Sunday nights for 25 percent off drinks!) And if you prefer to read and imbibe outdoors, there are benches, picnic tables, and a 24-seat parklet (sidewalk seating) open all summer.
SPOTTY DOG BOOKS, HUDSON
Located in a circa 1889 firehouse, Spotty Dog is the place to go when you want to peruse the latest bestsellers or hard-to-find classics while enjoying a pint. Grab a seat at the bar, made from a reclaimed bowling alley, and order a locally crafted ale, a glass of their house rosé, or a sake cocktail. And be sure to check their events calendar, which often includes readings by local authors on Friday nights.
THE YARD HATCHET HOUSE AND BAR, ALBANY
If you like to throw things, The Yard is your happy place. In addition to wielding hatchets, you can also play lawn games like cornhole, Lawnzee (Yahtzee for the lawn), lawn farkle (yard dice), and Giant Jenga. When your arm needs a break, kick back with beers, artisanal cocktails, and their Dough Bombs—hot dough stuffed with cheese and meats. And don’t forget to top the night off with a scoop or two of house-made BoozyMoo ice cream (available in alcoholic and non-alcoholic flavors).