Hot Places for Cool Drinks in Albany and the Capital Region
As the temperatures rise, staying hydrated is important... but sometimes water doesn't cut it. When summer is in full-swing, try these places for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that will keep you from melting.
Smoothies, Freshly-Squeezed Juice, and Iced Coffee
Stay hydrated and get your daily serving of fruit. In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this vegetarian/vegan restaurant offers house-crafted juice blends and smoothies. Choose one of their concoctions or let them guide you in designing your own. They also offer iced teas, coffees, and lattes, frozen fruit teas, and kid-sized servings of their smoothies and juices. Sit down for a bite to eat or take your ice-cold drink to go.
Step right up to the juice bar at the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany and pick out juice combination that sounds perfect for you. All of their juice is made-to-order with all-organic fruits and veggies, making it a fresh and cool drink to enjoy on a hot day. In addition to juices, they offer a variety of delicious smoothies.
Steuben St. Market
Here in Albany, the Steuben St. Market is your one stop shop for housemade products, including soups, sandwiches, deli salads, smoothies, and kombucha. They are an all-natural cafe and food market that aims to provide fresh, local goods to the community. Sip one of their flavorful smoothies this summer.
BARE Juice Bar
This Albany juice bar has a wide array of smoothies, each loaded with a laundry list of fruit. They only offer plant-based fare, so their smoothies are made with almond milk. Try such creations as Harry's PB&J, Cocoa Chanel, Tequila-less Sunrise, or Blueberry Muffin. You can also have your smoothie made to order, try the juice flavor-of-the-day, or have one of their signature smoothie bowls (which are full of chopped fruit, granola, and fun toppings).
Juice Factory VII
This Troy organic juice bar boasts a full slate of unique smoothie and juice flavors, like Kale Yale, Purple Goddess, and Heavenly Chocolate, as well as make-your-own options. Also on the menu are iced coffees, cold brews, and more. If you need a bite to eat, they sell parfaits, acai bowls, and a variety of salads and sandwiches.
Milkshakes & Floats
If it's so hot out that you can't eat an ice cream cone before it melts, go for a milkshake or float. Just over the Mohawk River from Schenectady, Scotia's Jumpin' Jacks Drive In has been a local favorite for over 60 years, selling burgers, fish fry, fried dough, soft-serve ice cream, and other outdoor fare. Their milkshake flavors, along with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, include banana, cherry, coffee, pistachio, black raspberry, chocolate chip mint, orange pineapple, and blueberry. They also offer several flavors of slushies.
Located on Central Ave in Colonie, this ice cream shop opened in 1952 and has a dizzying selection of ice-cold drinks from which to choose. In addition to soft-serve and sundaes, they make ice cream sodas, soda floats, slush floats, slushies, freezes, shakes, Boston shakes (a shake with a sundae on top), and malts. Choose from many soda, ice cream, sherbet, and slushie flavors when ordering to create your perfect drinkable dessert.
Margaritas & Sangrias
Maybe eating spicy food isn't always the best way to beat a summer heat wave, but it certainly is at El Mariachi on Hamilton Street in Albany. Cool off with El Mariachi's signature margaritas and sangrias, and their wide selection of tequila (they have a daunting 80 kinds from which to choose). Make sure you enjoy a lunch or dinner of authentic Mexican and Spanish cuisine while you're there, like enchiladas, tostadas, tapas, or paella.
Bombers Burrito Bar
Editor's Note (7/27/2020 12PM): Bombers in Albany is currently open for takeout food and soft drinks.
A burrito bar with locations in Albany and Schenectady, Bombers offers several takes on the traditional margarita, including flavors like sour apple, melon, pear, watermelon, strawberry lemonade, grapefruit, coconut/pineapple, and cranberry. They also make a sangria, ronarita, and frozen margarita. Hungry? Order a burrito, quesadilla, wrap, salad, or chicken wings.
Cocktails & Wine
When you're craving some of the region's best Italian food, and the perfect glass of wine to go with it, MezzaNotte is a great place to go. Their extensive wine list includes not only red and white varietals, but also dessert and sparkling wines. Not sure which to order? Ask for a recommendation!
Stop by this Lark Street hotspot for their long list of signature cocktails and imported wines. Come for happy hour and small plates, or stay for a full dinner. Their menu has a fun mix of casual and fine cuisine, including mac & cheese concoctions, unique wings flavors, and a variety of entrees.
Cold Craft Beer & Ale
With a rotating list of dozens of craft beer and ciders on tap, bottled, or canned, the City Beer Hall is a great place to cool off in the heart of downtown Albany. Peruse their large menu and relax in either their spacious main hall or outside in the Beer Garden. Sip an ice cold beer as you try some classic and creative food on their summer menu.
This hotspot, run by the C.H. Evans Brewing Company, offers up to 11 varieties of their own brews and cask ales at a time. The local brewery, which traces its roots back to 1786, produces its brews right there at the Pump Station. Capital Region-inspired brews include their Knickerbocker Lager, Capitol Lights, and Quackenbush Blonde. They offer a full menu of pub fare, so pick out a dish to pair with your craft beer.
Drink up and enjoy local and international craft beverages at The Hollow Kitchen + Bar. Check out a full slate of craft beers, ciders, and sparkling, red, or white wine at this popular restaurant. Also on tap: cocktails, inventive pub fare, and ice-cold gelato. Chill out with some friends, enjoy a cool beverage, and fill up on great food.