Make the time for Zulu: The gorgeous rooftop location is bested only by their stellar cocktails. Photos by Heather Lockyer.
With sweeping views of the Hudson River and the United States Military Academy, Zulu Time Rooftop Bar and Lounge at The Thayer Hotel at West Point has become one of the Hudson Valley’s most popular rooftop bars.
An enticing new cocktail menu features two Go Army! Mules; Zulu’s creative spin on the popular Moscow Mule. Your choices include the Strawberry Pineapple made with vodka from Rochester’s Black Button Distilling, or the Hot Summer Chili made with Oola Chili Vodka infused with sweet and spicy Hungarian goathorn peppers. Six specialty cocktails have also been added to the menu, including the Ginger Grapefruit Cosmo made with Belvedere, ginger zest, vodka, grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup. Snack on shared plates, sandwiches, salad, or a burger while you enjoy your drink.
Happy Hour is 4–6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, with half-price wine, beer, well liquor, and select appetizers. On Tini Thursdays, specialty martinis are available for $5; Friday evenings will feature a DJ from 7–11 p.m.
674 Thayer Rd, West Point, 845.446.4731, www.thethayerhotel.com
As you like it: Order the bartender’s Choice for a cocktail crafted to your taste at OCD. Photo courtesy of OCD.
Orange County Distillery, a farm-to-bottle operation, opened Brown Barn Farms nearly two and a half years ago. Surrounded by 23 acres of picturesque farmland in New Hampton, a 100-year-old barn was converted into a two-floor cocktail bar. While spirits from Orange County Distillery are primarily featured on the bar menu (they make eight types of whiskey, three types of vodka, and two types of gin), guests can also choose from other New York-made craft beers, wines, and ciders.
Beverage manager Nick Spiegel is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and is “damn good at what he does,” says Bryan Ensall, who co-founded and co-owns Orange County Distillery with John Glebocki. In addition to a standing cocktail menu with classics like the OCD (bourbon, lemon rosemary simple syrup, and dark maple syrup), Spiegel creates three unique cocktails each week using botanicals and other items grown on the farm. “If we don’t have it, we won’t use it,” says Ensall. There’s also the Bartender’s Choice — a cocktail specifically tailored to your likes and dislikes. They also serve classics like the old fashioned, gimlet, whiskey sour, and more.
Brown Barn Farms is family- and pet-friendly with plenty of outdoor space, games, picnic tables, and even The Bus, an on-site food truck in a retrofitted school bus.
Enjoy live music most Friday and Saturday nights and Happy Hour Thursday and Friday from 4–7 p.m.
286 Maple Ave, New Hampton, 845.374.2011, www.orangecountydistillery.com
Valley views: This summer hot spot is the place for sensational sunsets and irresistible cocktails.
It’s nearly impossible to find a view of the Hudson Valley more breathtaking than the one from Valley Restaurant at The Garrison. Guests are treated to northwest views of the river valley from both the indoor dining area and the two-tier deck, where sunsets are particularly spectacular.
“We run with the season and emphasize local as much as possible,” says James Brown, restaurant and beverage manager for Garrison Properties. In the summer, look for handcrafted cocktails like the Basil Blackberry Mojito and a Sweet and Sour Lavender Daiquiri. Herbs used in cocktails — like mint, thyme, and basil — are grown in kitchen gardens located right outside the restaurant, while other ingredients are sourced locally throughout the year.
Adjacent to Valley, World’s End Bar shares the same stunning views. Its name is derived from the stretch of river directly below the bar, where the deepest spot in the Hudson River lies along with a particularly dangerous curve for sailors. “If you were a weak navigator, it was the ‘world’s end’ for you,” explains Brown.
Valley and World’s End are open year-round. Guests are invited to meet friends for a drink, have a light bite, or enjoy a full dinner.
2015 U.S. 9, Garrison, 845.424.3604, ext. 39, www.thegarrison.com
Waterfront watering hole: Jon Mcweeney pouring a blood orange margarita at Ole Savannah. Photo by Jennifer May.
Located in a converted warehouse formerly owned by the Cornell Steamboat Company (Hudson River’s dominant towing company from 1880 to the 1930’s), Ole Savannah features indoor dining and an outdoor wrap-around deck overlooking the historic Rondout Creek. “It’s a great location,” says owner Dave Amato. “Nowhere else in Kingston can you literally sit on the water and enjoy a cocktail.”
Ole Savannah serves a Southern-inspired food menu paired with locally sourced cocktails. Bar manager Jon Mcweeney picks ingredients from farmer’s markets in Kingston and Rhinebeck. “What we can get fresh determines our weekly drink specials,” Mcweeney says. Those are mixed with local spirits and spirits of the season (like tequila) to create deliciously refreshing cocktails like the Pear Cucumber Cooler, Ole Savannah Sweet Tea, Blueberry Lemonade, and Kiwi Tom Collins. The bar menu also includes a flight of Hudson Bourbon from Tuthilltown Spirits in Gardiner, and a large selection of local craft beers.
Happy Hour runs from 4–7 p.m. Monday through Friday, offering complimentary appetizers and discounted drink prices.
100 Rondout Landing, Kingston, 845.331.4283, www.olesavannah.com
Barhopping on the Newburgh Waterfront
Inside out: The Hudson Water Club has a patio for sipping amid the scenery. Photo courtesy of Chef Michael Dobias.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, The Hudson Water Club boasts expansive river views from its waterside location at the Haverstraw Marina. The outdoor patio has a spacious tiki bar and umbrella-covered seating for dining. “It’s a premiere location for everything you expect inside a venue, but [everything is] outside,” says bar manager Christine Leggio, who along with her staff created all of the Hudson Water Club’s cocktails.
“There’s something for everyone. If not, our bartenders will create something to fit your palate,” says Leggio. Two of the most popular summer drinks are the sangria (red or white) made-to-order in a glass or pitcher, and the Tiki Punch. “It’s made with four kinds of rum, it’s easy to drink, and makes you feel like you’re on vacation,” Leggio explains. Also popular are frozen drinks like the Mango Mint Daiquiri. In honor of its anniversary, there will be 10 new cocktails (voted by customers) to sample this summer.
Live music performed by a variety of local bands creates a fun and laid-back atmosphere, where guests can sit back and relax while enjoying food, drinks, and water views with friends and family. “For such a big, high-volume location, we go through the extra effort to get to know our guests. There’s always a familiar face behind the bar,” says Leggio.
606 Beach Rd, West Haverstraw, 845.271.4046, www.hudsonwaterclub.com
Capital drinks: The modern decor at City Line is as cool as the frozen cocktails. Photo by Susa Designs.
Don’t let the 20 televisions fool you: City Line Bar and Grill is far from a sports bar. “We consider ourselves an upscale modern bar and grill,” says general manager Alissa Dibell. The centerpiece of the restaurant is the oversized U-shaped bar that extends to the large outdoor patio.
In addition to 22 beers on tap, City Line has an inventive cocktail menu with so many options you’ll be compelled to try more than one. Choose from specialty drinks like the rotating seasonal Magic Elyxir special served in a copper pineapple cup, or try a frozen cocktail like the Arctic Palmer made with Deep Eddy Sweet Tea, fresh raspberries and lemonade. Specialty martinis are also featured on the seasonal menu, along with dessert cocktails like the wildly popular Birthday Cake martini made with Three Olives Cake Vodka, Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, ice cream puree, and a rainbow sprinkle rim.
Happy Hour drink specials are offered at the bar Monday through Friday from 3–6 p.m. Reservations are unavailable, but a call-ahead seating policy will place you on a waiting list prior to arriving.
1200 Western Ave, Albany, 518.504.1200, www.citylinebar.com
Happy hour on the Hudson: Who can resist a drink special and a riverfront view? Photo by David Nieves.
The recent remodel of this Poughkeepsie staple has made it even better than ever. Perched above the Hudson River and just 50 feet from the water’s edge, Shadows on the Hudson has views of the Mid-Hudson Bridge to the north and miles of open river to the south. There are plenty of places to enjoy these views — indoors, on the veranda, or on the outdoor patio with an awning to protect you from the summer sun and a 28-seat circular bar if you’re simply looking to have a drink with friends.
With the new look comes a new approach to the summer bar menu. “All of the specialty cocktails were created by our bartenders,” says bar manager Matt Manfredo. “I asked them to come up with twists on classic cocktails and they delivered; they put their heart and soul into these drinks.” If you go, expect to see summer flavors giving new life to old favorites like the Boulevardier. “It’s a rare drink that’s not seen on menus that much anymore,” says Manfredo.
Happy Hour with drink and appetizer specials is offered at both the outside and inside bars Monday through Friday from 4–7 p.m.
176 Rinaldi Boulevard, Poughkeepsie, 845.486.9500, www.shadowsonthehudson.com
Behind the Backbar: Southeast Asian inspired food and inventive cocktails make up the menu at the Backbar. Photo by Caylena Cahill.
Tucked away behind an antique store on Warren Street is one of the best bars in the Hudson Valley — and in America, according to Esquire magazine and The Daily Meal. Open seven days a week, this trendy spot gives off tropical vibes in a casual cool way. “We always debate if we’re a bar or if we’re a restaurant,” says general manager Bryn Clarke. “Backbar is a fun, awesome place for anyone to visit.”
The old bay doors of the former gas station serve as a wall of retractable windows between the inside bar and a spacious outdoor patio, where weekenders and locals alike imbibe until the wee hours of the night on weekends. The tiki-inspired cocktails pair well with the spicy Southeast Asian-inspired food menu by Fish & Game chef, Zak Pelaccio, whose previous ventures include Fatty ’Cue and Fatty Crab in New York City.
If you go, order the popular adult-slushy Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire made with mezcal, Thai-chili-infused Aperol, lime, smoked agave, and sumac. A mix of adventurous and classic cocktails like daiquiris round out the bar menu, along with a selection of beers and wines.
Happy Hour specials run Monday through Thursday from 4–7 p.m.
347 Warren St., Hudson, 518.828.0567, www.backbar-hudson.com