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Best bars in Astoria: The essential drinking spots

The best bars in Astoria range from amazing cocktail dens to an early-20th-century beer garden and craft-beer havens

Bohemian Hall
Photograph: Gabriela Herman Bohemian Hall
By Time Out contributors |
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Whatever your poison, Astoria offers several worthwhile drinking options. Want a stiff drink in classy cocktail den? A few cold ones at one of the city's live music venues? A stein in a 100-plus-year old beer garden? Or how about some suds at one of the best New York breweries? Astoria has you covered. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Astoria, Queens

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716.ft.x491.bohemian.jpg
Bars, Beer bars

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

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Prost! This authentic Czech beer garden features plenty of mingle-friendly picnic tables, where you can sample cheap, robust platters of sausage, $5 Stolis and $4 Spaten Oktoberfests. Though the huge, tree-canopiedgarden is open year-round (in winter, the area is tented and heated), summer is prime time to soak up some rays over a pint.

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Bars, Beer bars

Sunswick 35/35

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Outsiders think of Queens as the beer-garden borough, but locals know that they’ve got a craft-beer bar to rival Manhattan’s best. The name refers to a creek that used to run from the East River to the area that is now Astoria; today, a rotating selection of beers from top domestic and international breweries ($5–$9) rush through 25 taps. Snag shot-size samples from bartenders before committing, then settle in at a high-top table. The weekday happy hour (3–7pm) is a chance to try great beers at varying discounts, while monthly events showcase serious American hops.

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Sweet Afton
Photograph: Dan Hallman
Bars, Beer bars

Sweet Afton

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This homey Queens gastropub combines an industrial feel—lots of concrete and massive beams—with the dim, dark-wood coziness of an Irish pub. The bar’s smartly curated array of reasonably priced suds includes strong selections from craft breweries like Kelso, Fire Island and Captain Lawrence, but the unpretentious bartender will just as happily crack open a cheap bottle or can of everyman ale like Amstel or Miller. Cocktails are ambitious, but many of them fall flat. Stick to a brew and a bite from the satisfying food menu: Beer-battered McClure’s pickles are an epic bar snack.

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Bars

The Let Love Inn

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Perhaps Astoria’s best kept secret, this old-fashioned jazz bar checks off all the boxes. It boasts a great cocktail, beer and wine list, has a warm and cozy atmosphere, plus incredible live music (with no cover!). On Monday nights, jam out to tunes provided by Adam Platt Trio, get funky with the Subtonic Three on Tuesday at 9pm and get into the groove with guest DJs on Friday and Saturday evenings. In case you were wondering, the haunt gets its name from Nick Cave’s heartbreaking hit “I Let Love In,” which is one of the owner’s (Evan Rumeliotis) favorites. 

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Double Umlaut Lagrrr! at SingleCut Beersmiths
Bars, Breweries

SingleCut Beersmiths

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Queens—a brewery hotbed for German immigrants before Prohibition—rejuvenates its sudsy past with this 5,000-square-foot microbrewery and tasting room. Owner Rich Buceta, who cut his teeth at Greenpoint Beer Works, produces souped-up versions of classic styles, such as a Double Umlaut Lagrrr!, a German bock aged in old Jamaican rum barrels. Other offerings include a boozy Imperial Full Stack IPA and 19-33 Lagrrr!, an aggressively hopped pilsner. Sip a stein in the 25-seat tasting room, handsomely appointed with mahogany walls, red oak communal tables and hanging metallic lamps. Once you've had your fill, take your favorite brew to go in a growler. A stage for live performances adjoining the tasting room will feature live acts soon, reflecting Buceta's passion for music (the brewery's name references a part of a guitar's neck).

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Bars, Cocktail bars

The Highwater

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Astoria was created to lure Manhattanites; it was named after John Jacob Astor in the hope that he would invest in it. Of course, it has always featured great spots, but only recently has its appeal caught up with its ambition. Now the hippest neighborhood in Queens has a literal Highwater mark. Bright and breezy, the Highwater is a tropical oasis for both the down-to-earth and the down-to-fuck. The 50-seater is lit up by the sunny disposition of its 6’7” Majorcan bartender, Gabriel Colom-Rocha (an easy double for Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa). His contagious playfulness can run as subtle as a can of pineapple cider or as boisterous as the Rick y Morty cocktail, a gummi-infused vodka drink (with gummi garnish) that transforms Midori and triple sec into a grown-up version of the vintage radioactive-green Hi-C Ecto Cooler. “This is great,” said our drinking companion, a recent California transplant. “It’s like Santa Monica.” At the Highwater you feel like you’re exhaling the whole time. It’s liquid yoga. And yet just when you think it’s all silly, surfy froth, the bartender serves the tobacco-smoked Clint Eastwood—brawny and aromatic enough to wash over your tongue as it wafts, puffing its chest, through your nose—or the potent Darkest Hour, a barrel-aged mix of cacao-infused Scotch, fernet and vermouth. With a kiss of kitsch, the flashy, turquoise $28 Blue Macaw, served for two in a copper pineapple, tastes like cotton candy–flavored bubble gum in the best, cutest way, an ev

Venue says Tropical Vibes + New Menu = A Good Time at The Highwater Astoria! Come brunch with us weekends, 11am-4pm! Happy Hour M-F 4-7pm.

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Bars, Cocktail bars

The Ditty

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This Astoria haunt is self-described as “your friendly neighborhood cocktail bar,” but it’s actually more than that. It doubles as a rustic and relaxed dinner and brunch spot, and moonlights as a lively bar where game-playing fiends congregate to play classics from your childhood like Guess Who?, Uno and Scrabble. The spot is also known to host the occasional free, throwback movie night (recent flicks include The Breakfast Club and The Mask) in its backyard.

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Mar's
Photograph: Courtesy Mar's/Evangelos Roumeliotis
Restaurants, Mediterranean

Mar's

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This warm, moodily lit bar-restaurant is a popular local hangout and a great date spot, featuring a seafood-centric menu that melds Mediterranean influences with New England traditions. There’s also adventurous cocktails, which highlight exotic ingredients like applejack-soaked Mission figs.

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