The Best Restaurants & Bars In Catskill, New York guide image


The Best Restaurants & Bars In Catskill, New York

Where to eat and drink in between all that antiquing.

Home to countless antique shops and 65 hand-painted cat sculptures that line the streets, Catskill is a tiny, kitschy village with creativity in its DNA. This sleepy Hudson Valley town is also home to some of the best food in the area, like cinnamon rolls that are both soft and crispy, and Korean food you can eat while singing karaoke. 

Catskill often takes a backseat to Hudson, its flashier sibling, or the resort towns in its namesake mountains, but it’s absolutely worth a stop if you’re headed to hike at the nearby Kaaterskill Falls or ski on Hunter Mountain. Here are our eight favorite spots to eat and drink in Catskill.



As soon as you read this, put your phone down, get in the closest car you can find, and head to Willa’s for a cinnamon roll. Their version is pillowy on top, buttery and crispy on the bottom, and slathered in a sticky vanilla glaze that oozes into the cinnamony layers.

The savory sandwiches are also worth making the trip for: get the egg and cheese with herby mayo or the potato and pepper-crammed breakfast burrito if you’re in need of proper sustenance for a long day of antiquing on Main Street. Just be prepared to wait—Willa’s is extremely popular and usually packed with chatty locals.

Sure, Joust might seem like a regular, mostly-vegan cafe, but it describes itself as a “transcendental gathering space.” In practice, that means you can stop in for a coffee or tea and a quick order of avocado toast and end up staying for an impromptu yoga class or an electronic drone music concert happening in the back lounge. On Sundays, they have a shaved ice pop-up with Ice Dream that’s perfect for a refreshing snack after lugging your farmers market haul to the Subaru.

There’s a beer for everyone at Subversive, a brewery that specializes in a slightly archaic method of brewing called “floor malting.” But as refreshing as the pilsners and pale ales are, we’re mainly here for the smashburger. The Classic has two patties topped with american cheese, housemade pickles, and sauce, all served on an airy milk bun, alongside fries and a necessary order of beer cheese.

This is the type of meal you’ll want when you’re too lazy to cook, celebrating a birthday, nursing a hangover—really anytime at all. Subversive’s big outdoor space is open all year, meaning you can scarf down burgers and knock back beers even in frigid temperatures, thanks to fire pits and insulated tents.

The Avalon is part Korean restaurant, part bar, part concert venue, and part dance and karaoke spot. There will likely be a band playing “psychedelic no wave” or “futuristic folk,” and even if you have no idea what those genres sound like, you should still come here to eat a homestyle Korean meal in the dark, taxidermy-filled bar before a show. Feast on spicy twice-fried chicken wings, steamed pork dumplings, or a bulgogi bowl before politely bobbing your head to a stranger’s rendition of “Mr. Brightside.”

Most places in Catskill close before 9pm, but Hemlock, which is open Thursday through Monday until midnight, is one of the exceptions. It's also the rare place in town where you can get a little dressed up to lounge in a comfy booth and sip on a few cocktails like pineapple daiquiris or martinis with local conifers. If you get hungry, they have a small food menu and serve hot dogs after 10pm.

New Yorkers are obsessed with the fact that our region is the second-largest supplier of apples in the US. For this reason, we’d like to nominate that our state drink be changed from milk to cider—and the funky, foraged stuff at Left Bank is a great example of how good alcoholic apple juice can be.

Try a flight at their spacious Catskill taproom, and before you leave, pick out your favorite bottle to take back home and cosplay as a fellow apple-obsessed resident. They also host a variety of food pop-ups, like pizza from Circles and veggie-forward noodle bowls from Mermaid Cafe.

You’ll find Atelier Ku-Ki in the back of Made X Hudson, an upscale clothing boutique, where a leather jacket costs the equivalent of a round-trip (coach) flight to Japan. And yet, the Japanese bento counter is the perfect stop for a quick lunch on Friday or the weekend. The bento boxes rotate weekly, and if it's available, order the salmon—the piece of perfectly cooked fish is accompanied by Japanese potato salad, lotus root, pickled vegetables, rice, and greens with a downright slurpable carrot-ginger vinaigrette. Most people take their lunch to go, but there are some bistro chairs and tables where you can eat next to $400 linen tops.

An annoying number of restaurants in the Catskill-proper area are only open Thursday through Sunday to cater to weekend visitors, but J&J Smokehouse BBQ is open seven days a week. Housed in a 1940s-era gas station, this place doesn’t limit itself to one specific regional style. Instead, you’ll find smoked meats and sides that pull from the wide variety of American barbecue techniques. Everything is solid, but they do spicy foods (like jerk chicken and spicy pickled cauliflower) especially well. The burnt ends tend to sell out quickly, so if that’s your order, come here earlier in the day.

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photo credit: Clare Lagomarsino

The Best Restaurants & Bars In Catskill, New York guide image