Kingston, NY has been a recent discovery for me. I have been to Uptown Kingston for the Chronogram Block Party food trucks lining Wall Street opposite the bands up on stage and a woman with her flock of blue and gold Macaw parrots. This street is also home to the BSP Lounge, a great venue to perform at and to see some great bands where I enjoyed their selection of beers before I discovered my gluten sensitivity. But outside of festivities and a couple of gigs at the lounge, I haven’t had a chance to experience Uptown Kingston’s nightlife. Which Rachel’s birthday extravaganza fixed that weekend.
Reunited after some snowed in weeks and busy schedules, we headed over to Boiston’s for our first drink and something to snack on while her entourage began to gather. We sat at the bar stretched out almost to the back of the room. People packed in on either side of us and filled the tables along the opposite side of the hallway-shaped restaurant. Crowded, but cozy, we ordered braised pork lettuce wraps minutes before the kitchen closed. My stomach was grateful. Very tender, surprisingly sweet pulled pork shoulder paired with pickled red onions and crisp jalapenos on the side to dress the wraps how we pleased. A great meal to start the night.
While we worked on our whiskey, everyone ventured in to celebrate, coming after their shift ended or from a production they partook in. Everyone got a drink to catchup and Rachel got a birthday “shot” which ended up being a full glass of bourbon.
I would have to say the absinthe at Stockade Tavern is the reason I am the one writing this blog recollecting the evening. I tried a taste of Absinthe Fizz, a punchy citrus elixir that sent Rachel drifting for the rest of the night with other birthday girl companion Tessa. The party found the back corner barely outlined in the dimly lit bar by the back wall mirror. I nestled into one of the chairs by the wall noticing the coffered ceiling and intimate atmosphere to tuck yourself away and get lost in conversation.
As the bar closed for the night, the group dispersed till it was me and the birthday girls done with their drinks and planning the next destination. We hit the fresh night air waking us up with Rachel in full pursuit of one last open bar “for the blog!” she proclaimed.
We found our way to everyone’s after hour bar that night, Snapper Magee’s. We squeezed in the door by the foosball tables and headed over to the juke box. We filled it with change and selected a range from Joan Jett, The Clash, and The Distillers. I inched my way through the crowd to find a space in the back for us while the birthday girls got their last beers. The people filling the place where chatty, relaxed, and a good amount of rowdy. Together with the smoky air, neon lights, and grit is what I look for in a classic, local bar. A perfect way to end the night and drive back with just hours left before the sunrise.
I ended up staying over, the two of us starting the day with a lot of water, coffee, and the same idea of a perfect breakfast joint. Bistro. Right on Main Street in the town of New Paltz, you might end up waiting a long time during any weekend morning, but as long as you keep your party small and go early, you’ll get a seat quick. It has a wide range of delicious and creative meals to start your day, and a price range anyone can agree on. Their famous Breakfast Special gets you eggs, toast, and home fries for just under $2. My personal favorite is the Trailblazer with crabcakes, poached eggs, hollandaise, Andouille sausage, and ingredients I can’t even remember! But lately I like to try out one of the specials they have up on the marker boards and I never regret it.
There’s always a new bar to check out and a great restaraunt to revisit, and what better excuse than for a birthday celebration. You can always find a good reason to enjoy a few drinks and experience the Kingston nightlife.