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Escape From New York: Boozy Destinations and Day Trips In and Around the City

by Jessica Klein on May 19, 2014 in Culture

As summer begins to show itself in the burning pavement and sweltering subway platforms across New York City, the city’s many inhabitants know that it’s time to escape for breezier, boozier pastures. Luckily, you don’t have to travel far to experience the chill of rooms filled with barrels of fermenting wine or the wind as you sip cocktails on a boat. For some ideas of where to retreat for a day of comfortable summer drinking, here are some options in and around New York City.

Brooklyn Brewery (79 N 11th St, Brooklyn; 718-233-6654)
Founded in 1988, Brooklyn Brewery is open for tours and tastings on weekends while it welcomes the public for small tours on weekdays and hosts happy hour each Friday. Located in Williamsburg, the Brewery will let you out by the East River, so you can cool off in the riverside wind after gaining a solid beer buzz. Hint: Tours are free on Saturday between 1pm and 5pm.

City Winery (155 Varick St.; 212-608-0555)
Nestled in Hudson Square, City Winery boasts a special relationship to music. Between the Hudson Square music festival and hosting a variety of renowned musicians for an evening in their dimly lit, wooden dining room, City Winery will certainly make you feel like you’ve escaped from the outdoor throng. The refined atmosphere is not in contrast to the fact that winemakers are slapping around kegs behind the scenes. Rather, the fact that you can dine on salmon crudo while sipping the latest Riesling with barrels just around the corner adds to the feeling of escape from NYC.

Martha Clara Vineyards (6025 Sound Ave., Riverhead, NY; 631-298-0075)
Though an hour and a half drive from the heart of the city, the trek to the far east of Long Island’s North Fork will be worth your while whether your interest lies primarily in wine or in horses. Transformed in the 70s from a potato farm into a horse farm, Martha Clara Vineyards offers horse and carriage rides along with educational tours of the vineyard, focusing on the various stages of vineyard growth. If you’d rather just taste the wines already, it’s $25 per person for five, different wine pairings.

New York Booze Cruise (The Skyport Marina, 24-30 FDR Drive, East Service Rd.; 212-691-6693)
The AOL email address may make this booze cruise seem like a sketchier enterprise, but the option to drift outside of the city while reaping the benefits of an open bar for an evening after work should outweigh any initial hesitation. The five-yacht fleet will take you aboard for $55 if you opt for the open bar (it’s about half that if you imagine having just a drink or two).

Hudson Valley Wine Country (Locations throughout Hudson Valley; 845-204-8538)
The famed beauty of the Hudson Valley marks a refreshing contrast to the bleak expanse of NYC skyscrapers during the warmer seasons. With over 25 wineries to explore, you can spread yourself out during a weekend while soaking up views including miles of greenery and mountains as far as the eye can see. Towns in the area, like Rhinebeck (the site of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding), include restaurants and craft shops worth exploring, as well.

New York Distilling Company (79 Richardson St., Brooklyn; 718-412-0874)
Bringing it back to the city, the New York Distilling Company (also in Williamsburg) produces Gins and American Rye that celebrate New York history. With a gin named after Matthew Calbraith Perry, a Brooklyn Navy Yard Commandant in the 1840s, and one distilled from state-grown grains in Brooklyn’s old Dutch colony, the NY Distilling Company hosts free tastings and tours on Saturdays and Sundays between 3pm and 5pm, so you can make a day out of it by hunkering down at their connected bar, the Shanty, later in the evening.

Bedell Cellars (36225 New York 25, Cutchogue, NY; 631-734-7537)
Another Long Island North Fork destination, Bedell Cellars comes recommended by New York City winemakers and houses a historical barn cum tasting room that looks right into the barrel cellar and bottling room, as well as showcasing views of the surrounding vineyards. Visitors can picnic on the lawn in the summer or experience a tasting of five wines for $15 to $20, depending on the particularity of your palate.

Photo: New York Distilling Company


Tags: Beer, Cocktails, Education, Food, Spirits, Whiskey, Wine
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