The Bee Tavern

Middletown

Featured In

New York
Feb 12

7 Black-Owned Culinary Destinations in Upstate New York

Shana Bee reopened her two-year-old bar last month for the first time since the pandemic started. With stringent safety measures in place, The Bee Tavern is offering curbside pick-up and delivery only, which is sweet news for the locals, whose long-suppressed cravings for honey-infused dishes can now be met. Orders have been pouring in for the 8oz Bumble Bee Cheeseburger with honey-glazed onions and a side of honey sriracha fries, as well as wings like the Hennessy jerk wing and honey wasabi. In a small town hit hard by Covid (Bee’s family included), the return of a favorite haunt is a compelling sign for the community—even without the usual live music, comedy shows, and open mic nights. As for having the only Black-owned bar in town, not to mention being one of a few Black-owned hospitality businesses in the entire Catskills, the mixologist-entrepreneur says things are changing. “As a Black businesswoman, I personally receive a lot of support, now more than ever, but we haven’t been recognized and encouraged as other people have—especially in a predominantly white area. But I think the whole Black Lives Matter movement has made a difference. I feel hopeful.” After hiking the waterfall-laden Blue Trail at Neversink Recreation Area, refuel with lunch from The Bee Tavern, where the honeyed cocktails are as inventive as the food; try the whiskey-based Queen Bee Tea dusted with bee pollen or The Royal Honey made with Empress Gin 1908, butterfly pea blossom and, you guessed it, honey.
How to get there: 1 hour, 20 min by car

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