From luxury hotels and craft spirits to indie concert venues, Rochester is the perfect place to mix business with pleasure. With the rapid transformation of the “˜Neighborhood of the Arts’ district (NOTA), Rochester is enjoying a creative revival in its art, food and drinks scene, meaning there’s plenty to enjoy here when the working day is done. Take a look at our guide to the best places to visit on business in Rochester NY.
Where to stay:
For those who know that a little bit of charm goes a long way in business, check in at The Strathallan for luxury, efficiency and a boutique twist. Located amid the buzz of East Avenue, guests are as near to the action as they are to the hotel’s personal training and massage therapy facilities. The Hyatt Regency and the Hilton Garden Inn both have 24-hour gyms and indoor pools, perfect bases to gear up for the day ahead. Convenience is a priority in Rochester and with its connections to the pedestrian skyway system, Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside combines easy access to the business district with modern comfort. All these hotels are ideally situated a short drive from the airport in Downtown Rochester. However, if you’re looking to unwind after a tough day, the Woodcliff Hotel & Spa boasts a 9-hole golf course, spa facilities and suites so plush you’ll think you’re on vacation. Twenty minutes from Downtown, Woodcliff is slightly further out, but at the highest point in Monroe County, the views of the city’s skyline and the Finger Lakes region make it worth the trip.
Where to eat:
Rochester’s neighbour, Buffalo, might be the birthplace of the famous chicken wing but Rochester is developing its own varied, culinary scene and takes sourcing its ingredients seriously indeed. You won’t have to head far for great steak however, with fillet mignon, Delmonico rib eye and porterhouse served at Char Steak & Lounge, the restaurant at The Strathallan. Just off East Avenue, Tournedos Steakhouse dry ages its beef in-house, flies its seafood in from Hawaii daily and has a 550-strong wine list for patrons to wash it all down. The Revelry, on University Avenue, prides itself on a sophisticated, imaginative menu influenced by the south. With its tantalising brunch, which includes Banh Mi and shrimp and grits, you might be tempted to reschedule that morning meeting, or move it into the dining room. Max of Eastman Place on Gibbs Street is epicurean and elegant, using seasonal ingredients from local farms and dairies to create vibrant and complex dishes.
Where to go for evening drinks:
If it’s hops that make you happy, head over to the bar at Genesee Brew House – one of the largest and oldest breweries in the US – which pumps local beers from its sixteen taps. If you’re looking for something a little more “micro”, Rohrbach Brewing Company is Rochester’s oldest micro-brewer and prides itself on its craft beers, which include a blueberry ale, an imperial stout and a vanilla porter. Cocktail fans are also spoilt for choice in Rochester. Tapas 177 makes a mean Mojito and you’ll understand where Good Luck got its name when you see its surprising cocktail menu. With Ransom Old Tom gin, Chartreuse, honey and cardamom, we’d recommend “Electric Relaxation” – sure to calm any anxiety ahead of tomorrow’s presentation.
Set in the heart of NOTA (Rochester’s artistic district), The Memorial Art Gallery exhibits a large collection of American works, with pieces by Thomas Cole and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as European works by Degas and Willem de Pannemaker. Get a flavour for the city’s artistic history when on business in Rochester NY by discovering its prolific father of photography, George Eastman – founder of the Eastman Kodak Company. His estate, on NOTA’s East Avenue now houses the world’s oldest photography museum, a cinema and an archive. Exhibitions at Eastman House chart the history of celluloid, the equipment behind it and its immense cultural impact. A keen patron of the arts, Eastman also commissioned the Eastman Theater downtown, a splendid concert hall and principal seat of two talented ensembles – the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Eastman Opera Theater.
Take back a piece of Rochester’s artisanal spirit with some gourmet goods from family-run Rosario Pino’s Artisan Foods. Part cookery school, part high-end food purveyor, this place knows its way around an almond-cranberry biscotti and prides itself on its finishing oils. A dynamic independent roasting scene is brewing in Rochester and Joe Bean on University Avenue, has some great gift ideas. Snap up a set of blends from El Salvador and Uganda or a burlap sleeve to nurse that steamy morning cup. Any sweet tooth is sure to be satisfied with your visit to Hedonist Artisan Chocolates on South Avenue. Pick them up a scrumptious slab of pistachio-pebbled “bark”, so long as you manage to resist temptation on the flight back, that is.
Rochester residents keep their fingers on the pulse, so head to the East End or Monroe Avenue, where you’ll find an eclectic range of boutiques, bars and restaurants. Peruse Park Avenue be sure to stop in at Stever’s, which has been satisfying Rochester’s sweet tooth with its handmade chocolates and candies since the end of World War Two. If you’ve got the time, the award-winning Rochester Public Market is certainly worth a browse. Supplying Rochester for more than a century, the market is a haven for Rochester’s top chefs on the look out for inspiration. Once the vendors pack up, head to Cure, a great eatery inside the market which mixes cocktails every bit as original as its dishes.
Where to break curfew:
NYC might be known as the city that never sleeps but with Rochester nearby, the Big Apple is no noisy neighbour. The Water Street Music Hall is Rochester’s destination rock and alternative concert venue. Its two rooms have a capacity for 1,400, which has helped it earn St. Paul Quarter its title as Rochester’s leading entertainment hub. Monroe Avenue also comes alive after dark, with indie music and art destination Bug Jar keeping fans on their feet until 2am. Open seven days a week, Bug Jar has hosted bands like Arcade Fire, Mogwai and The White Stripes and does a great deal on local draft beers on Wednesdays. On Alexander Street, The Daily Refresher serves up classic cocktails in keeping with its steampunk décor, as well as absinthe, mezcal, pisco and an extensive list of tequilas and rums. Open till 2am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, be warned – that eye-opener might well turn into a sore head.
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Have you been on business in Rochester NY? Where were your favourite places to visit between meetings? Let us know in the comments section below.