Any trip to the Hudson Valley would be incomplete without a stop in Kingston. Discover a variety of Kinston restaurants, bars and cafes to visit during your next trip to the historic and vibrant Catskills city.
Located less than two hours from New York City, Kingston is a Hudson Valley destination with both a storied past and an exciting present.
It was the original New York State capital city before British troops burned Kingston to the ground in 1777. Later in the 20th century, the riverside city was home to a huge IBM campus for decades before closing in 1995.
Both the fire and IBM plant closure threatened the Ulster County city’s future to varying degrees. However, Kingston survived both catastrophes, eventually becoming a popular Hudson Valley destination.
Kissing both the Catskills Mountains and Hudson River, Kingston isn’t far from towns like Phoenicia, Rhinebeck, Saugerties and Woodstock. However, there’s more than enough hiking trails, art galleries and restaurants in Kingston to make it a wonderful weekend destination as well as a convenient base for exploring the expansive Hudson Valley.
But Kingston isn’t just a holiday hub. A fresh crop of outdoor enthusiasts and culture vultures have planted themselves in the center of town as well as on the city’s fringes, transforming the Hudson Valley weekend getaway spot into their year-round hometown.
Our Favorite Kingston Restaurants, Bars and Cafes
Kingston has expansive dining and nightlife scenes despite its relatively small size.
Restaurants in Kingston offer a wide variety of culinary options including cheap eats, global cuisine, cute cafes and upscale dining. These eclectic options make Kingston an ideal base for those looking to sample a range of Hudson Valley restaurants without the stress of driving everywhere.
While it would be awesome to eat at every Kingston restaurant and drink at every Kingston bar, we appreciate that most visitors have limited time. With this in mind, we recommend the following eight Kingston restaurants, bars and cafes for a food-focused weekend getaway:
1. LOLA Pizza
Located in a historic Stockade District building and open since January 2020, LOLA Pizza is the opposite of an old-school pizzeria. In fact, it’s more than just a pizzeria.
Obviously, you’ll want to order a wood-fired Neapolitan pizza at this Kingston restaurant. We did the same when we ordered a Tiger Paw pie topped with pepperoni, tomato sauce, provolone, mozzarella, onion and chili honey. However, you may want to order a simple Margherita pizza or a loaded ‘Fighettta Bout It’ pie topped with figs and prosciutto instead.
However, you won’t want to stop there. We mentioned that LOLA Pizza is more than a pizzeria and we weren’t kidding. Beyond pizza, LOLA’s menu has a range of salads and pastas. We tried the Kale Caesar during our visit and weren’t disappointed.
Ironically considering its name and dedicated pizza oven, LOLA Pizza may shine brightest with its drink and dessert programs.
The clever cocktail program features a drink called Night Animal that’s crafted with jalapeño-infused mezcal, st. germain, cucumber, cynar and lime as well as a ramped up Negroni. As for dessert, we just have nine words – build your own soft serve ice cream sundae. Need we say anything else?
LOLA Pizza’s menu has craft beer options for those who prefer to pair their pizzas with brewskis.
LOLA Pizza is located at 243 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401, United States.
2. Lunch Nightly
Is it just us or is Lunch Nightly’s name confusing?
The Midtown restaurant operates as a deli / cafe during the day and a restaurant / dive bar at night. But not every day and night. At the time of our summer visit, Lunch Nightly was closed on Sundays and Monday.
There’s no doubt that it’s a catchy name. But that’s not what caught us during our mid-week lunch. It was the pastrami. And not just any pastrami…
This pastrami had been brined, smoked and steamed over a period of two weeks. Flavors of coriander, black pepper and caraway danced in our mouths with each bite into our juicy Reuben sandwich.
→ The Reuben is one of the best American sandwiches. Discover more great American sandwiches.
Lunch Nightly sources its meat from local farms and butchers whole animals in house. Beyond pastrami, meat options include dry-aged steaks and sausages.
At night, elevated comfort food is complemented by an eclectic drink menu that features both natural wine and kombucha cocktails. It’s a lot for any restaurant to tackle, especially one that opened in May of 2020 when the pandemic was raging. Somehow, it all works.
We’re still not sure about the name though.
Don’t skip Lunch Nightly if you’re not a meat eater. Both the lunch and dinner menus have plenty of options for our vegetarian friends as well as our carnivorous brethren.
Lunch Nightly is located at 636 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401, United States.
3. The River Pavilion at Hutton Brickyards
Besides eating, communing with nature is one of the best things to do in Kingston. Its Catskills location near both mountains and the Hudson River makes the city a mecca for bikers and hikers as well as for food travelers.
The River Pavilion at Hutton Brickyards hits the buttons for those who appreciate both nature and food. Living up to its name, the restaurant is situated in an open-air pavilion that offers sweeping views of the mighty Hudson. With a pedigreed NYC chef at its helm, The River Pavilion immediately became destination dining upon opening in May of 2021.
Prior to its current life as a waterfront resort, Hutton Yards operated as a Hudson Valley brick manufacturer from 1865 to 1980.
Executive Chef Dan Silverman cooked at spots like Balthazar and Minetta Tavern before moving upstate. Not recreating those classic Manhattan restaurants, he’s instead created a more casual restaurant with Adirondack chairs in the lounge and multiple fireplaces throughout the restaurant.
We sampled a few dishes from a menu that features both local products and global cuisine. Highlights included PEI mussels swimming in white wine sauce and grilled shishito peppers flavored with lime, sea salt and bottarga.
Dine at The River Pavilion while the weather is warm and request a table with a view of the river.
The River Pavilion at Hutton Brickyards is located at 200 North Street, Kingston, NY 12401, United States.
4. Lis Bar
Kingston’s Lis Bar is a Hudson Valley restaurant committed to Polish food, crafted cocktails and natural wine. It’s also a relatively affordable restaurant despite the classic Bentley that was parked in front of the mid-century building during our meal.
After earning kudos for their modern yet funky decor after opening Lis Bar in October of 2018, the owners pivoted to focus on wood-fired grilling on an expansive outside patio when the pandemic hit in 2020. It was a smart move and one that we hope continues.
Keeping to theme and beguiled by the patio’s large charcoal grill, we ordered the restaurant’s pork kielbasa during our visit. While the grilled meat was purely Polish, Bavarian mustard and naan transformed the dish into global cuisine.
The fox connection is real at Lis Bar. Not only is the Kingston restaurant named after the Polish word for fox, but it’s also located on an avenue called Foxhall.
Lis Bar’s drink menu is equally inspired with a mix of natural wine, local craft beer and crafted cocktails.
Cocktail options include all of the classics as well as inspired concoctions with ingredients like locally foraged mulberry jam and fermented tepache made with pineapple, sugar cane and spices. Cocktail curious, we sampled the latter after we ordered a delightful La Floridita cocktail crafted with tepache, lime, agave and two different rums.
5. Kingston Bread & Bar
Kingston Bread & Bar opened its brick and mortar location in February of 2020, shortly before the pandemic caused the new eatery to focus more on its bread than its bar. While this type of shift could be cataclysmic for some businesses, it just so happens that sourdough became a hot commodity, rivaling rolls of toilet paper in popularity, at that time. Talk about good luck!
But, make no mistake, Kingston Bread & Bar’s success isn’t solely due to luck. Co-owners Anthony and Amanda Stromoski are Kingston veterans who own Rough Draft Bar & Books (see below) just around the corner and co-owner Aaron Quint clearly knows how to bake great bread.
Bread options run the gamut from classic sourdough to buckwheat boules and French baguettes. While some breads are available every day, assuming they’re not sold out, others like challah and olive whole wheat are day specific.
Kingston Bread & Bar sells more than just bread. Additional options include sandwiches, locally cured fish, cheese wheels, pizza ingredients and Zapp’s potato chips from New Orleans.
Plan your visit to Kingston Bread & Bar based on the calendar. Go on Thursday for olive whole wheat, Friday for challah, Saturday for bagels and Sunday for brunch food.
Kingston Bread & Bar is located at 43 N Front Street, Kingston, NY 12401, United States.
6. Rough Draft Bar & Books
Rough Draft Bar & Books combines three of our favorites things – books, beer and coffee – in one happy place.
We felt at home as soon as we saw a rainbow of Counter Culture coffee bags and a sign for New Orleans cold brew. Before long, we were sipping a flat white and chatting about chicory coffee with the shop’s friendly staff.
We didn’t stop with coffee during our visit. Though it was before lunch, we ordered a black lager locally brewed in nearby Livingston Manor. Ironically, we had eaten dinner at The DeBruce in that hamlet just two nights earlier.
But what about the books? Not just for show, books play a prime role at Rough Draft Bar & Books. The independent bookseller sells a range of books including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a book that pairs well with the cafe’s Berry Hungry Caterpillar hibiscus tea drink.
7. Village Coffee & Goods
Our hunt for great coffee in the Catskills hit peak percolation when we stumbled into Kingston’s Village Coffee and Goods. The specialty coffee shop is a treasure trove for third wave coffee drinkers like us.
Owners Mark Palmer and Anthea White channeled their Australian heritage when they opened the compact shop in 2018. They lived in Sydney before Palmer honed his barista skills at spots like Buvette and Partners Coffee in New York City.
Beyond coffee, the duo serves cafe fare along with a range of curated local dry goods and edible products. In 2021, their ‘village’ got bigger with the opening of Village Grocery & Refillery also in Kingston.
Varying from our typical flat white, we broadened our coffee boundaries at Village Coffee and Goods by ordering a ‘lavish’ lavender latte made with lavender orange honey syrup, two shots of espresso and milk.
It was a good choice that turned us on to lavender as a coffee flavor. We’ve since enjoyed lavender-laced specialty coffee drinks in New Orleans and Philadelphia.
Prices skew high for items like ceramic mugs and cutting boards. In other words, bring a well-funded credit card if you plan to shop for souvenirs at Village Coffee and Goods.
Village Coffee and Goods is located at 17 Railroad Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401, United States.
8. Hole in the Wall by The Anchor
Our never-ending donut quest led us to Hole in the Wall by The Anchor. As its name suggests, this donut shop is located at The Anchor, a popular Kingston pub.
What started in early 2021 as a pandemic workaround to keep employees from becoming redundant has turned into a successful business. However, unlike the pub’s main focus, this side hustle involves crafting old-fashioned sour cream donuts and new-fangled mochi donuts.
Tempted to try all twelve flavors including pear champagne and cotton candy, we settled for maple bacon, an old standby, since our eating mission had space for just one donut. It was a solid choice and a sweet start to the day.
Additional Kingston Restaurants, Bars and Cafes
Kingston has even more great restaurants, bars and cafes. After you try the eight we’ve recommended, you can and should check out the following additional spots:
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
We thank Amy Rosen for hosting us at her cosy Phoenicia home and acting as our personal Catskills tour guide.
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.
Some businesses may revise their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Others may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information and make advance reservations where possible.