Dutch Kills

Sasha Petraske's LIC cocktail lounge kills.

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<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

By now, bar entrepreneur Sasha Petraske's formula is pretty familiar. Like his other cocktail temples—Milk & Honey, Little Branch—Long Island City's Dutch Kills has natty bartenders, drinks executed with gemlike precision and little (if any) signage. But these days when you can't open an unmarked door without uncovering a new speakeasy, even a pioneer like Petraske needs an edge: At Dutch Kills, it's space. There's an abundance of elbow room—from the deep, dark-wood booths up front to the sawdust-strewn piano room in back—making it feel much closer to the 19th-century saloon ideal that it apes. Co-owners Richard Boccato and Petraske give a nod to their new home borough by filling the concise five-cocktail debut menu with tipples like the Astoria and the Steinway Punch. Petraske staples, such as the Queens Park Swizzle, also make appearances. The layered drink is a tricolor monument of mint (green), rum (white), Angostura (red) and lime juice that refreshes like a mojito's classier cousin. Though the Swizzle is currently off the menu—the drink list changes monthly—June's offerings are even better. The rye-based Garibaldi creates pleasant friction between sugar, lime juice, Campari and mellow white grapes. The airy Infante takes the familiar pairing of tequila and lime juice, and lightens it up with creamy homemade orgeat (rosewater and almond syrup) and a dusting of nutmeg. The cocktail price tag of $9 is a welcome break from Petraske's $13-a-drink norm. And if you go on a weekday, you can escape the city crowds as well. Sure, these types of drinks are in plentiful supply in Manhattan, but Dutch Kills is a far more comfortable place to enjoy them.—TONY

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27-24 Jackson Ave at Dutch Kills St, Long Island City, Queens (718-383-2724). Subway: E, R, V to Queens Plaza. Daily 5pm--2am. Average drink: $9. Cash only.

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