When we first wrote about Goodnight Kenny, the new neighborhood bar coming to Poughkeepsie, back in April, it was to say it would be open by late summer. But alas, you know how things go in the restaurant industry…on the heels of a pandemic. But the day has finally come as the bar prepares to open for its inaugural service tonight, Friday, October 28.
The bar’s co-owners, Davina Thomasula and Megan Giometti, met at Park Bar in Manhattan and have used their former place of employment as a source of inspiration for their current project. “I didn’t want something big,” Thomasula previously told Chronogram. “I wanted it to feel like a small, intimate neighborhood bar.” She found what she was looking for at 27 Academy Street, which after a major overhaul of outdated plumbing and electric systems and a fresh interior design, is finally ready for its public.
The building itself has a long history as a bar. The original Art Deco bar back is still the focal point for the small space, which Thomasula hopes to see packed with neighborhood regulars. The exterior and interior have been given a uniform paint job in a moody shade of dark green, illuminated by vintage, milk glass pendant lights from area shops. The long butcher block bar can seat upward of 18 people with an additional five high tops and a plush corner booth. “The interior came out great—everything is monochromatic,” Thomasula says. One charming idiosyncrasy of the space is a wall of framed family photos that were dropped off by future loyal customers responding to a call-out on social media.
“It’s been really fun to see people’s old family photos, they are hysterical,” Thomasula says. But it’s more than just a design gimmick. “We just want to be a neighborhood bar, we want to create a family atmosphere,” she adds. “We want everyone to feel comfortable in our space and everybody is welcome. People bringing old family photos felt like a really fun way for us to do that. And obviously the area and the bar itself has so much history. Plus they are really fun to look at.
On the drink front, Thomasula is going back to basics with Kenny’s Dirty Dozen, the bar’s list of 12 takes on classic cocktails, ranging from a Hemingway daiquiri to a dirty pickle martini and a Manhattan (all $13). “We also have a really great wine list, beers, and a curated shot menu as well. It’s approachable, our glassware is pretty fun,” Thomasula says. For a tropical detour, try the Jungle-ish Bird, which is made with plantation rum, pineapple juice, orgeat, lime, and tiki bitters. For something to brace you against the cold, Grandpa Bill offers up J&B scotch with dry vermouth, bitters, and olives. It’s said that Eleanor Roosevelt drank at the bar in one of its former incarnations, and the Good Enough For Eleanor cocktail is her tribute. It’s made with vodka, lemon,honey, grapefruit cordial, Lillet blanc, and topped with sparkling wine. The Bee Sting offers a spicy twist on the classic Bee’s Knees with the addition of Mike’s Hot Honey.
The wine list has half a dozen options ranging from $9 to $13 by the glass and hits all the bases with a couple whites, a couple reds, a bubbly, and a rosé. With the exception of the Paso Robles cabernet, the wines are all European, including a Loire Valley sauv blanc and a rosé from Provence.
On the food front don’t expect much—this is mainly a bar for drinking, though you are able to bring in food from any of the area businesses, including neighbor Hudson & Packard, which serves up square slices of Detroit-style pizza. The bar does offer offer hot pretzels and TV dinners, which tickles Thomasula. “We are just focused on being a bar-bar,” she says.
The beer list ranges from high-brow craft options from regional producers like Millhouse, Newburgh, and Paradox to domestic drafts like Miller Hi-Life and Bud Light, plus an Athletic NA for the non-drinkers (or the end of the night).
“It’s taken us a while, but we’re finally here. Thank goodness,” Thomasula says. “I'm excited to get back behind the bar.”
Goodnight Kenny opens at 3pm on Friday.