Kingston, NY is an historic city nestled in the heart of the Hudson Valley that is emerging as a diverse culinary and beverage destination. From farm-to-table dining to nano breweries and trendy cocktail bars, the city has a variety of establishments.
If you are a visitor staying in a hotel in the Stockade district, (also referred to as uptown) then you will find everywhere you need from morning to night within walking distance. But you will find some great bars and breweries in midtown arts district as well as some great restaurants and wine bars in the Rondout area.
If you are looking for some of the must go spots, check out the below guide to Kingston’s best restaurants, breweries, bars, and coffee shops.
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Best Restaurants in Kingston
If you’re looking for the best Italian restaurant in Kingston, LOLA is the place for you.
The selection of true Neapolitan style pizzas is perhaps the top draw. They are cooked in a wood-fired oven imported from Naples at 800 degrees to give just the right touch of char.
But it’s the small selection of pasta dishes that have kept me coming back. These dishes made with fresh pasta generally follow the Italian approach of simple without too many ingredients… like the cacio e pepe and the cavatelli with kale pesto, peas, and parmesan cheese.
While the dining room is nice and the outdoor tables are preferable in the summer, don’t shy away from sitting at the small bar and trying some of the cocktails or natural wines they offer.
While not my intention to crowd the top restaurant spots with the same ownership, sometimes it happens. The team of Taavo Somer (behind NYC establishments Freemans and Rusty Knot) and Charles Blaichman decided to venture upstate and opened both Lola and Hotel Kinsley in 2020. They have since also created the famed luxury Inness resort that includes a fantastic restaurant in the nearby hamlet of Accord.
The ground floor restaurant at Hotel Kinsley often features a blend of local and global culinary influences. The small, yet focused menu showcases the best of Hudson Valley’s produce with farm-to-table ingredients that change on a regular basis. Yet the burger remains a staple.
Le Canard Enchaine
Le Canard Enchaine is a highly regarded restaurant known for its authentic French cuisine. It’s praised for its inviting atmosphere and dishes such as duck confit and French onion soup.
Chef Jean Jacques Carquillat grew up in the French Alps, where both his grandmother and father worked in the restaurant industry. After working in various restaurants in Paris, London, Lisbon, and eventually came to New York City. And years later he moved up to Kingston to provide a dining experience reminiscent of France, complete with excellent service and a charming Parisian ambiance.
Ollie's Slice Shop
Ollie’s Pizza in High Falls is already known for some of the best pizza in the region. Now they have opened Ollie’s Slice Shop on Broadway as one of the businesses filling the space of the former Tony’s Pizzeria.
Ollie’s Slice Shop offers a straightforward menu featuring New York-style pizza, with options like cheese, white, vodka, and tomato slices, alongside vegan, gluten-free, and Sicilian variations. This is in contrast to the wood fired pizzas at their flagship location, they do offer the same Sicilian slices.
And despite the name, they do in fact sell full pies in addition to slices.
Hoffman House Restaurant and Tavern in Kingston, NY, is a charming establishment offering relaxed dining in a National Historic Registered stone house. Celebrating over 34 years of service, it features both summer patio and winter fireside dining.
Tables are scattered in several dining rooms. Or go to the small wooden bar and you’ll probably sit beside a local and strike up a conversation. It’s not fancy, and it’s not trendy. But it’s a great value. The garlic steak sandwich at $13.50 is one of the best lunches in town.
Front Street Tavern
Food is fine, but let’s be honest, you come here for the roof deck. There is happy hour from 11:30-6pm every day at the bar, and this is easily the best place to meet friends out for a couple beers in the summer. They do have a few cool things on the menu though like their Tavern Poutine and Chicken Parm Egg Rolls to for appetizers. And it’s pretty awesome that you can get chicken and waffles for both lunch and dinner.
Best Breakfast in Town
Half Moon Rondout Cafe Coffee and Donuts
Would you believe this restaurant advertised the worst donut somebody on Yelp claimed she ever had? Well, don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it!
Half Moon Rondout Cafe in Kingston, New York, is a delightful little eatery celebrated for coffee, delectable babka, and of course the freshly made donuts. Try the cinnamon or apple cider donuts as well as the Turkish tea as an alternative to coffee. And don’t worry about the calories, just walk up and down the hill a few times to burn them off.
Rosie’s General exudes a quaint small-town charm with a wraparound bar and cozy window seating. This establishment stands out for its array of local brand general store items and a bustling cafe component serving fresh, creative baked goods. Highly recommended are its delightful breakfast and lunch options, particularly the spicy egg toast and a variety of excellent sandwiches, featuring top-notch bread and deli staples, making Rosie’s General a must-visit spot for a fulfilling Hudson River Valley meal.
Kingston Bread + Bar
Kingston Bread + Bar is a unique establishment that combines a bakery and a bar. They offer a variety of naturally leavened freshly baked bread and pastries each morning. Additionally, the breakfast menu includes egg sandwiches which you can get with bacon or house made sausage and bagels on Saturdays. Alongside the food, they serve coffee, tea, and a bar featuring local beer and cider. If you want to make your own pizza at home, they also sell some pretty good pizza dough to purchase.
Alternative Recommendation: Meredeth’s Bread is located just outside of town on Rt 28 and also makes great bread with some gluten free options.
Kingston Breweries & Bars
Kingston Standard Brewing Co.
Kingston Standard Brewing Co is a nano brewery that focuses on crafting small-batch, crisp, and easy-drinking beers. They offer their brews on draft and in 4-packs to go.
The brewery has a welcoming atmosphere, which is both child and pet-friendly. Despite a limited food menu, its well-loved oysters and quite decent pizzas make it a go-to spot.
Stockade Tavern is renowned for its excellent cocktails, providing a perfect blend of old-timey ambiance and contemporary charm. The tavern features a cozy atmosphere with a fireplace, tin ceilings, and abundant candlelight. Additionally, they have an outdoor patio and a cocktail truck that serves drinks on tap. Stockade Tavern is not just about drinks; it also hosts food pop-ups and DJ sets, making it a lively spot for an enjoyable evening.
Brunette is a quaint and cozy wine bar located in the historic waterfront area of Rondout. This pocket-sized venue specializes in natural wine, but also has a selection of beer, cider, and small plates. It’s a place where the love for good drinks, food, and music come together in a charming setting. They host frequent pop-up events plus industry night the last Monday of the month.
Alternative: While much more under the radar, you can find the Yarn Farm around the corner. While it appears to be a just a crafts store, they have a wine bar in the back that also has great charcuterie. You can sign up for classes on knitting, crochet, or sewing. Or just come for the wine. 21 W Strand St
West Kill Supply
West Kill Supply is a satellite taproom for West Kill Brewing. This venue offers a selection of crisp, balanced beers from their Catskill Mountain Brewery, along with New York State ciders and wine. The taproom has a rustic, early 20th-century Catskill boarding house vibe. Additionally, there is a backyard beer garden, and hosts a food trucks and live music.
Kelly's Shamrock Tavern
When you come across a dive bar that opens at 8am, then it must be included on this list. I might never have tried this bar if it weren’t for me driving by one morning around 9am and seeing it was already open. This of course made me interested and curious.
There will usually be a couple people there before noon and the regulars seemed to be a little wary of me when I began taking pictures. But they warmed up to me after a few beers.
Is it the best? I don’t know. But the beers are cheap and it opens at 8am. And sometimes that’s good enough.
Kingston's Best Coffee Shops
Rough Draft Bar & Books
As the name suggests, Rough Draft Bar & Books is a unique establishment that combines the charm of a bookstore with the relaxation of a bar. The beer and cider menu changes frequently but is almost entirely made up of local New York state breweries.
But in the mornings, it is more of a coffee house. It is a sister shop to Kingston Bread + Bar, so they serve some of their pastries and cookies.
The bookstore offers a curated selection of new books across various genres, including fiction, non-fiction, comics, graphic novels, and more.
It’s the kind of place you can spend an entire day at, and you’ll find lots of people working on laptops here. But this is somewhat surprising because the WiFi is pretty horrible. I’d come here more often if WiFi was faster. but instead, I go to a local coworking space.
Monkey Joe Roasting Co
The best coffee in town can be found at Monkey Joe Roasting Company. This woman-owned coffee shop and roastery offers a variety of specialty grade, single-origin coffees. The beans are roasted on site in small batches to emphasize each coffee’s unique flavor and aroma. Try the Jazzy Joe, their signature flavored coffee tasting of cinnamon maple French toast.
Note: They do not offer WiFi.
My Top Places to Stay in Kingston
If you are looking to stay in Kingston, here are my top three hotels. There are also several north of the city on Rt 9W. Check out my post about The Best Hotels in Kingston, NY for my full list and more details.