The Most Gorgeous Places to Grab a Drink in New England


hill farmstead brewing

Hill Farmstead Brewery photo provided

Whether you’ve been biking, sailing, or plowing through a new stack of genre fiction, a well-timed outdoor libation can be the chef’s kiss for a summer day. And in a place as aesthetically diverse as New England, sometimes craft beverages are practically upstaged by the beautiful scenery in which they’re poured. In other words, if you find a chilled rosé or kölsch nourishing enough on its own, wait until you imbibe one against a backdrop of humpback mountains or the whitecaps of the Atlantic. New England boasts a hefty lineup of bars, taprooms, and restaurants with an outstanding view, from Narragansett Bay to the Vermont highlands. Squirrel these six away for your next road trip.

schilling Beer Co

Photo provided

Schilling Beer Co.

The Ammonoosuc River begins from two little lakes on the shoulder of Mount Washington, cascading into a rocky ravine before widening and meandering into the town of Littleton, flowing right past the open-air deck at Schilling Beer Co. Perched over the mighty river, this European-inspired craft brewery has emerged as one of New England’s hottest venues for unusual beer styles of the lager and pilsner denominations. It’s a taste of Berlin or Prague on the west side of the White Mountains, and with several of the malty, floral accented beers here packing a relatively low ABV of 5% or less, Schilling can be a fantastic “recovery” stop after a hike or paddle. Either way, it doesn’t get much sweeter than standing on the deck, beer in hand, watching the Ammonoosuc rumble toward Vermont as the sun sets.

18 Mill St., Littleton, NH, 603-444-4800, schillingbeer.com.

vista of maine vineyard and cidery

Photo provided by Vista of Maine Vineyard and Cidery

Vista of Maine Vineyard & Cidery

Maine is where blue water meets vibrant birch and spruce woods, and there are few places that capture this binary with a single view like Vista of Maine Vineyard & Cidery. Tucked in the hills near Lewiston (home of the outstanding Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary), the Vista of Maine HQ overlooks Sabattus Pond, with panoramic views of central Maine’s valleys and farmland. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Mahoosuc Range. You’ll find the tasting room in the onsite “Big Red Barn,” where a generous variety of ciders and wines crafted from locally grown apples and table grapes are served in taster flights. The farm here has been running since the mid-19th century and as you savor Maine’s cinematic interior landscape, you might just feel a little humbled by the scale of it all.

146 N Hills Ridge Road, Greene, ME, 207-754-2527, vistaofmainewinery.com.

tree house brewing in sandwich

Photo provided

Tree House Brewing Company

The story of Tree House began in the woods of Central Mass., where hop-heads would stand in line to procure cans of Julius, a deliriously bright and juicy IPA that’s emerged as the flagship beer on a dizzying and constantly evolving brew lineup (which also includes strong stouts and smoother lagers.) Today, Tree House has expanded beyond the forest and set up a new Cape Cod outpost in Sandwich, just a few steps away from the sands of Town Neck Beach. Nab a reservation online beforehand, choose your preferred draft pour—the menu also includes craft cocktails—and sidle up to the railing of the open-air deck, where you can gaze across Cape Cod Bay toward Provincetown and Wellfleet.

98 Town Neck Road, Sandwich, MA, treehousebrew.com.

Watercure Farm Distillery

The old stone gates you pass through as you enter the grounds of Watercure Farm Distillery are the first sign that the atmospheric scenery here is as much of a draw as the spirits themselves. The fields and orchards here produce the fruits and vegetables that yield elixir offerings like cucumber and mint vodka, apple spice rum, and Connecticut corn whiskey. Flights and cocktails are served in the tasting room and outdoors, where you can pore over the active farm grounds while sampling the handiwork of the crew here. But that’s not all. The distillery also offers direct access to the Air Line State Park Trail, which runs along the bed of a lost railroad that once connected New Haven to Boston. You can hop onto the trail at Watercure Farm and see the deciduous forest in all its green, rustling glory.

426 Mashamoquet Road, Pomfret Center, CT, 860-315-5566, watercurefarm.com.

Hill Farmstead Brewery

Edward, Susan, and Everett may not sound like the offerings of an international award-winning craft brewery, but at Hill Farmstead, many of the beers are named after the lead brewer’s relatives. Founded by Shaun Hill, who apprenticed with Nørrebro Bryghus in Denmark before returning to his native Vermont to launch his own brewing operation, the farmstead takes “family business” to a new height. The brewery sits on a hillcrest owned and farmed by the Hills for generations, the IPAs, porters, and sour farmstead ales themselves are made with the Hills’ well water, and the view from the tasting room porch is a sublime showcase of the mountains and hills of Vermont’s quieter “Northeast Kingdom.” When you step onto the grounds at Hill Farmstead, surrounded by greenery, it can feel like visiting someone’s heritage.

403 Hill Road, Greensboro Bend, VT, 802-533-7450, hillfarmstead.com.

The Hot Club

Whether you’re leaning toward a glass of chardonnay, a Rhode Island IPA, or even just an ice-cold Del’s lemonade, the outdoor waterfront bar at Providence’s Hot Club pairs invigorating libations with a killer view of the Providence River, the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier, and the towering smokestacks of the Manchester Street Generating Station. It’s a rare New England vista that captures naturalistic and infrastructural beauty simultaneously. But there’s another, sweeter dimension to the view from the Hot Club. Over the years, the Hot Club has flashed its large neon sign off-and-on at 8:30pm each night, as a way of saying “good night” to patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital across the river—who will often flick their lights off-and-on in return. It’s part of the city’s Good Night Lights tradition, and a veritable tear jerker.

25 Bridge St., Providence, 401-861-9007, hotclubprov.com.