Whatever your poison, Astoria offers several worthwhile drinking options. Among the best bars in the neighborhood are kitschy-chic Rapture Lounge, gastropub Sweet Afton and 1910 survivor Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. For more ideas, consult our selection of restaurants and cheap eats.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Astoria, Queens
Fairly new in the neighborhood, the BrewHouse offers a clean bar with room to spread out on the patio or in a smaller, more intimate lounge upstairs. The beer menu is straightforward, but it's large and not too pricy—which always bodes well for the lively stand-up shows they host at least once a week.
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.
Take care not to miss this sleek Astoria bar, marked only by a discreet red light. Once inside, you’ll find creative drinks, such as the Chocolate Egg Cream (vanilla-infused Jim Beam, chocolate syrup, cream and club soda), and the rosemary-infused blueberry-vodka martini, priced to move at just $6. A spacious backyard packed with benches is the place to be on Sunday nights, when B movies and indie flicks are projected on a ten-foot hanging screen.
Modern kitsch meets old-world chic in a funky fusion of couches and candlelight at this boudoir-themed bar. Potent cocktails sport red-light monikers—Tie Me to the Bedpost (amaretto, coconut rum, peach schnapps with Sprite, orange and pineapple juices), 1-900-F*CK-MEUP (raspberry vodka, triple sec, amaretto and coconut rum with fresh lemon and raspberries) and Sex on the Sofa (raspberry vodka and peach schnapps with orange and cranberry juices). The young and flirtatious crowd gathers for regular theme nights, like $5 martini Mondays.
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.
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.
Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar
There’s not much better than sipping wine while nibbling on a quality bar of chocolate, and Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar has based their business off this perfect pairing. Try something off the restaurant’s extensive wine list, or choose from its wide selection of chocolate martinis, ranging from raspberry with chambord and kahlua, to almond with frangelico and a hazelnut truffle, to peppermint with creme de menthe (each $15). For dessert, Ayza not only offers cacao-themed desserts like chocolate pizza ($9) and fondue ($11), but also gourmet chocolate bars from the likes of Jacques Torres ($2.50) and Cioccolada($3). It’s not all sweets, either—diners can also choose from assorted cheese plates, charcuterie boards and tapas, or order off the full dinner menu. If you want it all—wine, cheese plates, tapas and chocolates—check out the group dining option, where $60 gives you access to a two-hour open bar and plenty of small plates.