By Clifford Hart
Illustrated by Alyssa Bilodeau, Millbrook High School graduate
The short stretch of Raymond Avenue just north of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie is a pleasant reminder of days gone by. In what has now become a rarity across this country, there is a definitive neighborhood feel to the place. Rows of small brick shops line the street, inviting passers-by to stop in and browse. Pedestrians seem to meander at a slower pace, and the hustle and bustle of Poughkeepsie’s traffic somehow seems very far away.
Perhaps that environment was part of the inspiration to locate The Crafted Kup right in the heart of that quaint streetscape. Or perhaps it was the proximity to a hard-working student body.
For beyond the busy counter up front, where its tasty concoctions are made, there are a series of rooms—each separate and distinct from one another—that offer a variety of options for passing the time over a snack, a coffee or a beer. And perhaps best of all, one of these rooms—directly opposite the coffee bar—is a place where dreams are coming true for a number of talented people in the Hudson Valley.
The Crafted Kup began its Thursday open-mic nights in August 2017, and since that time hundreds of people, young and old, have tried out their talents on the small stage at the corner of that glass-fronted room facing Raymond Avenue. The Crafted Kup’s owner, Tanner Townsend, brought on assistant manager Ryan Bosch, a man with strong audio engineering experience, to launch the open-mic nights, and over the past year the evenings have grown solidly in popularity.
“It was a really great experience,” said Hayden Kolachik, a 15-year-old who’s performed at two open-mic nights at The Crafted Kup recently. Hayden, who has been playing guitar and singing at open mics all over the Hudson Valley, found The Crafted Kup to be particularly welcoming, mostly because he felt as though people were really engaged in his performance.
Gwenn Herriman, another 15-year-old who lives in the Poughkeepsie area, has also found success at The Crafted Kup’s open mic. Gwenn is similarly glowing about her experience singing in front of the crowd. “It was a very relaxed atmosphere,” Gwenn remarked, explaining that she’d appreciated meeting a lot of fellow performers there, including Hayden. “It really has such a great feeling of community,” she added.
And that feeling of community may be part of the reason why more and more people are being drawn to The Crafted Kup for their open-mic nights, which happen every Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. For those interested in performing, sign-up begins at 6:30 p.m.
For more information, call The Crafted Kup at 845.483.7070 or go to www.thecraftedkup.com. █