To many, the Hudson Valley may be more synonymous with daytime diversions like skiing, hiking, and apple picking than nightlife. But the truth is our region has offered multiple forms of after-dark attractions since the nights when its original indigenous inhabitants danced around campfires beneath its clear, starry skies. In the 17th and 18th centuries, European settlers tippled from tankards in the taverns and inns whose original stone structures still dot our landscape.
The first waves of tourists from New York came north during the 1800s in search of the stunning vistas depicted by the Hudson River School painters to dine, drink, and stay in mountaintop Victorian hotels. During Prohibition local authorities turned a blind eye to the numerous roadhouses and speakeasies that flourished around the area, and of course the 1940s and 1950s were the peak years of the iconic Borscht Belt resorts that presented big bands, comedians, and extravagant supper club revues to martini-sipping weekenders. All of this helped to create the permissive 1960s climate that led to the lively outdoor music festivals we enjoy every summer.
The Hudson Valley’s long tradition of evening entertainment is as diverse as the performers who headline its thriving live music venues and as fine as the top-shelf libations that flow freely from their bottles and taps. No, it’s not the velvet-roped, techno-thumping clubscape of Brooklyn or the family-themed restaurant scene of Midtown Manhattan. We’re guessing you have your eye on our beautiful area because you’re looking to leave all that behind for a bit. But we also know that doesn’t mean you want to sit beneath our tall trees and listen to our crickets for your entire stay. So if you’re seeking a fun night out after admiring our gorgeous scenery all day, the Hudson Valley will surprise you with its hidden wealth of unique nightspots.
Ready to sample some artisanal beers in a cozy atmosphere? Try Grand Cru Beer & Cheese in Rhinebeck, Draught Industries in Beacon, or Bacchus in New Paltz. In the mood for a night of world-class live music? Hit the Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie, the Dancing Cat Saloon in Bethel, or the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock. A quiet table for two and some glasses of award-winning wine? Visit (p.m.) wine bar in Hudson, the Shelter in Rhinebeck, or Oak Vino Wine Bar in Beacon. The beat may be slower in the Hudson Valley, but the nights are never boring.