The Palace Theatre has been a Downtown Albany landmark for the better part of a century. Hosting rock stars, local theater, symphonies, and film series, the one-time RKO movie palace is now operated by a non-profit seeking to foster entertainment and the arts throughout New York’s Capital Region.
Being a cultural destination, patrons often travel from rather far away to attend events, and may be in need of some pre- or post-show sustenance. If that’s the case, check out these food and drink recommendations that don’t stray too far from the venue.
If you’re just looking to grab drinks before a show, Albany has you covered.
The Albany Pump Station, once used to funnel water underneath Clinton Avenue from the Hudson to the now-defunct Bleecker Reservoir, now houses the resurgent C.H. Evans Brewing Company. The Pump Station offers eleven beers on tap and four in bottles, all of them brewed on-site and seasonally rotated. It is also located just two blocks down from the Palace Theatre at 19 Quackenbush Square.
City Beer Hall is a little bit farther away — about half a mile, give or take — on the corner of Howard and Lodge Streets, but it features 18 different taps and as many cans and bottles. With a main hall, a beer garden, and even a “Rodeo Bar” room complete with mechanical bull, there’s sure to be a suitably thematic pre-show drink for any taste. (Plus one of the small plates on their menu is named after a They Might Be Giants tune.)
If that seems a little too far of a walk, try The Hollow Bar + Kitchen on North Pearl Street. The Hollow is an award-winning restaurant and live venue in its own right, but by boasting close to 90 tapped and bottled brews, Hollow patrons may benefit from a hollow leg.
If you’re looking for something a bit more food-focused, try The Olde English Pub and Pantry. They’re just next to the Pump Station at 42 Howard Street, and serve both lunch and dinner standards like sandwiches and fresh salads alongside English classics like beef & stout pie, fish & chips, sausage rolls, and Scotch duck egg. There’s also live music, a dozen taps, and solid house cocktails so there’s really no going wrong…
…unless you root for Galway, that is. If Irish pubs are more your thing, McGeary’s in Clinton Square bills itself as “Your Home Away From Home.” Their menu contains traditional pub fare like shepherd’s pie and corned beef, with the benefit of 30 beers on tap and another 40 bottled, including both Old World standards and plenty of East Coast favorites like Sam Adams, Ommegang, and Yuengling.
You know you’re in a good steakhouse when they’re open about dividing their entrée menu into “Steaks” and “Not Steak” and the spirits list is predominantly Scotch. Welcome to Angelo’s 677 Prime at 677 Broadway. It’s definitely pricier than other restaurants, but if you’re looking for a Grade-A dinner before a concert — maybe a birthday or other type of celebratory outing — this place should be near the top of your list. Save room for dessert, though, and a lot of it: Angelo’s serves up a “Big Big Chocolate Cake” complete with a glass of milk, a “Colossal Crème Brûlée,” and a cake-strawberry-ice cream monstrosity doused in hot fudge known only as “The Titanic.”
Yono’s on Chapel Street is another fine choice for fine dining. Opened in 1986 by Certified Executive Chef Widjiono “Yono” Purnomo and wife Donna, Yono’s delivers 4-star American cuisine with an Indonesian influence in its spice palate. Chef Yono crafts monthly grand tasting menus from local farms and producers, as well as four- and five-course planned menus. To ensure a perfect dinner pairing, Yono’s also curates a 65-page wine list, and that’s not even counting their extensive selection of beers and spirits.
Speaking of spirits, we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention ama cocina on Sheridan Avenue, just across from The Hollow. “Modern Mexican street food” like juicy chorizo burgers, Mexican pizza, empanadas, and street corn are all delicious and quite reasonably priced for a bite before or after a trip to the Palace. Oh, but did we mention they have a selection of 140 mezcals and tequilas? We love a good mescal, and ama cocina has more than two-dozen of them alongside blanco, reposado, añejo, and extra añejo varieties of tequila. Since there’s so much to try, we recommend you hit up ama cocina after your other plans for the night. In fact, multiple trips may be in order.
Check out our Eat & Drink blogs for all the latest and tastiest eateries and drinkeries in the Hudson Valley.