In the Catskills winter, with spring still a ways off, cabin fever sets in. There aren’t as many activities to lure us out of our dens. The season of cold and dark brings a lull in the parade of concerts, festivals, fairs, markets, performances and general merriment that fill the Hudson Valley the rest of the year. Though there’s still a respectable variety of events to perk up the weekends, weeknights can sometimes be as quiet as the snow falling outside.
Enter a number of resourceful businesses who have stepped in to fill the void by creating homespun game nights (fueled by a little local brew) as a way to keep customers coming in, build community and maybe win a beer or a bite.
Want to work your brain a little? Come to Trivia Night! Not so much? Then Bingo Night may be your thing.
Catskillist hit the trail in search of this brand of indoor amusement and found a wide swath of fun and games.
Rough Draft Bar & Books
Starting near the Hudson River, Rough Draft Bar & Books in Kingston’s Stockade district serves up trivia with local beer and literary flair. The historic stone house bar/bookstore holds their “Geeks Who Drink Weekly Pub Quiz” Thursdays at 7pm. Co-owner Amanda Stromoski elaborates, “so far it’s a mix of regulars who’ve been here every time and some new teams each week as well. The first week we were absolutely mobbed — it was actually hard to hear the host, and people were sitting on the floor — but since then we’ve added some extra seating and revamped our sound system so now you can hear (and participate) from anywhere in the bar. It’s definitely been a boost for business and filled up the bar on cold and dreary winter nights, but there’s always room for more!”
Keegan Ales brewery in midtown Kingston has been the scene of Trivia Break year-round on Tuesdays at 7pm for the last five years. MC Andre, who also hosts at other venues, makes it a party for your brain, with Keegan’s fine craft brews to help lubricate the synapses. Owner/Brewmeister Tommy Keegan explains how it works, “Andre is a real pro! He does a great job. Groups win free rounds of beer after every quarter, and there is a $25 gift card for the smartest group in the room for the evening.”
Heading west, Colony Woodstock also tunes up the brainpower on Thursday nights, followed by karaoke. (Okay, so karaoke isn’t a game but there are still definitely winners and losers….) The recently renovated Spanish Mediterranean landmark serves up a bar menu so you can think, drink and eat at the same time. Trivia sign-up is at 7pm, the games begin at 8pm.
R&R Tap Room
R&R Tap Room, aka Reynolds & Reynolds, across from the Woodstock Playhouse, has been offering Trivia Nights for a year on the first and third Monday of the month, rotating hosts who have different followings. “One host, Eric, is more challenging, while the other, Andre, who also hosts trivia at Keegan Ales, is like an event with music. Both are really fun nights,” enthuses owner Megan Reynolds. Trivia starts at 7pm.
Emerson Resort & Spa
The Emerson Resort & Spa in Mount Tremper woos the locals by holding its weekly Trivia Night on Wednesdays in the bar at its Woodnotes Grill. It attracts a regular crowd who team up to compete. “Trivia Night is one of our most popular events. Both guests and the local community have a great time gathering at the Woodnotes bar and testing their trivia knowledge with topics like music, entertainment, current events and sports,” says Woodnotes G.M. Greg Gagne. Note to those in the know, show up early to get a table and order from the happy hour food and drink menu before it ends at 7pm (when trivia begins).
Trivia make your brain hurt? The Pines in Mount Tremper offers Bingo Night hosted by actor/writer Bobby Tisdale (Bob’s Burgers, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon). You get two for one here – comedy and a chance to play a game usually only found at American Legion halls and senior centers. Win an appetizer or random prizes donated by patrons. Bingo happens most Wednesdays at 7pm but call ahead to make sure.
At the far west end of Ulster County, co-owners Amelia and Michael Hegeman run the Zephyr Restaurant in Pine Hill. They hold their trivia night every Monday 7pm with drink specials and prizes. It attracts folks who don’t mind putting on their thinking caps early in the week. According to Michael Hegeman, “the first night we did it, we had 30 or 40 people stream in. It’s a great community up here and the trivia nights are really social and a lot of fun.”
Check websites, Facebook pages or call first to confirm:
Rough Draft Bar& Books
82 John St., Kingston NY
St. James St., Kingston NY
22 Rock City Rd., Woodstock NY
R&R Tap Room
104 Mill Hill Rd., Woodstock NY
Emerson Resort & Spa
5340 Route 28, Mount Tremper NY
5327 Route 212, Mount Tremper NY
302 Main St., Pine Hill NY