GRAFT wine + cider bar in Watkins Glen

The wee town of Watkin’s Glen sits in the heart of upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region. Tourists have been trekking here for years to experience the nearby gorge which features jaw-dropping waterfalls which splash over wild nature trails.

While the town may be petite it has a palate on par with that of a sophisticated city. One can easily spend an entire weekend sipping through the craft breweries, wineries and cider houses which sit nestled along its postcard-perfect rural roads.

If you’re looking to enjoy a fine feast after a day spent road tripping through the Finger Lakes head to Watkins Glen’s local fave, GRAFT wine + cider bar.

Opened in September 2015, the interior at GRAFT utilizes both local natural elements and artisans to create a comfortable atmosphere that blends traditional Main Street architecture with contemporary style and whimsy. A blend of concrete, black walnut and pine artfully frame the interior of this late 1800’s two-story storefront (whose original tin ceiling is still intact). The space is tastefully loaded with functional pieces by local artisans and blended with warm walls, quirky antiques, clever artwork and lots and lots of rocks. The main bar is loaded with a channel of pebbles from nearby Seneca and Cayuga lakes which are fun to fondle.

GRAFT exclusively serves and sells a variety of New York State hand-crafted wines and hard ciders. In the spirit of embracing all-things-local, premium Finger Lakes producers are highlighted on a rotating, seasonally focused bar and kitchen menu.

Creative, simple, seasonal small-bites, snacks, salads, sandwiches and desserts are thoughtfully prepared in-house and designed to share and to pair, by celebrated chef, Christina McKeough. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Chef McKeough is dedicated to sourcing local products whenever possible.

The menu at the bar and from the kitchen ebb and flow with the seasons so it’s best to order everything. Start with a glass or two of sparkling cider which pair perfectly with Chef McKeough’s signature Chicken Liver Pate. Enjoy a splash of local dry Riesling while devouring plump Ricotta Gnocchi slathered in sweet cream before switching to a light Cabernet Franc best enjoyed with a duo of juicy sausages and earthy Sumac Braised Rabbit.

Chicken Liver Pate | house-made sourdough toasts, dijon mustard, caperberries, wild carrot leaf

Roasted Sicilian Pork Sausage | mustardy slaw with poppy seeds

Ricotta Gnocchi | asparagus, roasted oyster mushrooms, basil, cream

Beer and Sumac Braised Rabbit | green lentils, roasted carrots, shallot jam, frisee

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