Exploring Hudson (and beyond)

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Seems like more and more lately I find myself heading towards Hudson and the surrounding areas. Too often I hop on the Thruway and head straight to New York City. I’ve done that for years now, missing out on all of this goodness that has been less than an hour drive from me.

Gaskins in Germantown and Suarez Family Brewing in Livingston are a big draw for me, but I really hadn’t done much in Hudson itself until a few months ago. So far, everything I’ve stumbled upon or that’s been recommended by friends has been pretty great. Let’s take a look.

Back Bar

Back Bar has some great cocktails and a decent, albeit small beer list. My biggest draw to this place was that Nate, the former bartender from The Shop, ran the joint. Nate definitely help me explore cocktails from my introduction to them, and I trusted him completely in judging my palate and what cocktails he felt experimenting with at any given time. Sadly, he’s moved on since my visit, but given Back Bar is owned by the same folks at Fish & Game, I don’t see the quality slipping.

Cafe Le Perche

Cafe Le Perche had this insane BLT with lobster, avocado, and egg, and it was such a pleasant surprise considering I ran into this place without really having any preconceived notions or forethought while heading there. (I actually originally planned on going to Bonfiglio & Bread for breakfast, but was looking for something a little more exciting than what they were offering on the menu that morning). There are other items worth checking out on the menu at Cafe Le Perche, but it will be difficult not to revisit this dish the next time I visit. Be sure to grab espresso and some incredible appellation d’origine contrôlée certified baguettes on the way out the door. And some croissants. And everything else in the display case, really.

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The Crimson Sparrow

Damn I loved this place. The Crimson Sparrow was created by two WD-50 alum and the execution of every detail of the place exemplifies this. They have what looks like an incredible tasting menu that I sadly did not get to try, but even what they offered a la cart on the bar menu was impressive. I’ll hopefully get a chance to come back to check out this tasting menu, but if not I’ll definitely stop in quick to see what’s ever changing at the bar (which had some damn good cocktails, too).

Fish & Game

Another stop where I just stepped in quickly for a cocktail, but would have much rather have stayed for a long tasting. Everything about Fish & Game is perfect, from the bar, to the decor, music, ambiance, etc. Another friend was bartending here that night which was the reason for the quick stop, but I’ll sure as hell return for the tasting menu.

Grazin’

Not much to say here other than Grazin’ offers an incredible well executed burger. The care of the ingredients is well thought out, sustainable, and farm to table. Not what you would expect from the diner’s facade. An easy choice for a quick meal in Hudson. The Uncle Dude is a burger with strengf.

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Rivertown Lodge

Rivertown Lodge is an absolutely stunning place to sit down, have a drink, and lounge with your friends. Perfectly retro, I know if I’m ever looking for a romantic getaway in Hudson, this will be the place I stay. Be sure to check out And North‘s piece on Rivertown as I will never do it such justice.

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Spotty Dog Books & Ale

The Spotty Dog might be the only beer bar in Hudson. If there’s somewhere else to drink beer in the area, none of my friends have recommended it. The selection here isn’t incredible, but the ambiance is certainly unique and worth checking out, just don’t go into it with the mindset that you’ll be slaying any whales here. If you haven’t noticed a trend from the above posts, most of what I’ve had around town has been cocktails, and Hudson has a bit of work to do on beer. And as of my first visit, I cannot recommend the new brewery in town. Hudson, as a whole, desperately needs to up their beer game.

Sloop

This is where we start getting a little further out from Hudson. Sloop Brewing is in Elizaville, and I stopped by on their Customer Appreciation Day a little while back. They had a great tap list, a band was playing, a bonfire was going and the place was absolutely jam packed. They even had a Handsome Guy floating around. Sloop just came out with Juice Bomb, a intensely grapefruit heavy IPA that you might still be able to find on draft in the Capital Region. Sloops sours can be a little one sided acidic for my tastes, and like most modern sours these days I could definitely use some more complexity, but these guys are still very much worth checking out.

Daughters Fare & Ale

Daughters in Red Hook is pretty unique. Ryan is killing it in the kitchen, and it’s nice to see his food make guest appearances at some of my other stops like Sloop and Gaskins. This is a one stop shop. Always some great beer on tap and in the fridge to go (I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but this is the furthest up North you’re going to see Other Half cans). Tons of great sandwich and snack options (I went with the grilled merguez on the visit pictured). Not to mention a bunch of sausages, kielbasa, cured meats and other charcuterie you can bring home. They’re doing some unique burgers on Friday night, and they’ve even started hosting a bottle share for the beer geeks, too. Definitely check this place out.

The Lantern Inn

Even further out is this little townie bar in Wassaic, NY called The Lantern. It’s not much to look at from the outside or even the interior. It’s still very much a local hangout with some entry level craft beer, pool tables and some old school arcade games. It just also happens to have a renovated kitchen with a wood-fired oven and a pizza recipe developed by a Roberta’s alum. I said it on Instagram and I’ll say it again here, this is the best pizza I’ve had in Upstate New York. I can’t imagine ever being around this area for any intended purpose, but definitely make yourself go out of your way for this pizza (the burgers and wings look great, too).

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