Whatever your poison, Long Island City offers several worthwhile drinking options. Among the best bars in the neighborhood are a couple of excellent craft-beer bars. If cocktails are more your thing, bar wizard Sasha Petraske, of Milk and Honey fame, has extended his reach to Queens with vintage-style saloon Dutch Kills.
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Twenty-eight tap lines dispense craft suds at this bi-level beer hall, an outpost of Alewife Baltimore. Take a seat at the zinc-topped bar and choose from Belgian (De Ranke XX Bitter), German (Schlenkerla Helles) and American (High & Mighty Beer of the Gods) drafts. On the second level, you can lounge by the fireplace on tufted gray leather couches or sit at a table and order gastropub bites. The menu includes dishes like pork-belly meatballs with tomato compote and a Parmesan crisp; jalapeño mac and cheese made with smoked cheddar; and a short-rib-and-brisket burger on a brioche bun, served with truffle-salt fries.
The West Village institution, open since 1961, debuts its first spin-off. Long Island City locals will find an identical menu, including, of course, the beloved Bistro Burger (broiled beef, cheese and bacon on a sesame-seed bun), along with 12 draft beers (Guinness, McSorley's Ale and Dark Lager). The decor also takes its cues from the flagship location: The laid-back 75-seat tavern features a mahogany wood bar and booths, antique brass chandeliers and a pressed-tin ceiling.
Weary commuters need only stumble off the 7-train platform to find this restorative vino refuge. The intimate room, with its vintage lights and leather-topped stools, is an ideal setting for sipping from a selection of more than 40 wines by the glass (stored in antique wooden cabinets). In addition to nibbling from free plates of olives and splurging on iced oysters, customers can take in live jazz twice a week.
By now, bar pioneer Sasha Petraske’s formula is pretty familiar: natty bartenders, precise drinks and little (if any) signage. What separates Dutch Kills from the rest is space. The plentiful elbow room makes it a comfortable place to enjoy cocktails like the rye-based Garibaldi, made with lime juice, Campari and mellow white grapes. The Infante takes the familiar pairing of tequila and lime, and lightens it up with homemade orgeat (rosewater and almond syrup) and nutmeg. The cocktail price tag of $9 is a welcome break from the $13-a-drink norm. And if you go on a weekday, you can escape the city crowds as well.
We’re used to battling for seats at Astoria’s Bohemian Hall. But nearby Studio Square—a sleek outdoor biergarten—is just as majestic, with plentiful perches. Studio’s party-hearty ambience is fueled by DJs, live bands and one of the city’s best tap selections. Eighteen drafts include American microbrews like Bear Republic’s piney Racer Five. Bohemian Hall may have gotten all the details right (Studio’s grub was seriously lacking), but it’s had 100 years to perfect the formula. Eventually, this welcome newcomer might be a cherished institution too.
LIC’s owners inherited the previous bar’s brick, wood and tin-ceiling fixtures, then brought in a laid-back attitude all their own—and a much more extensive drink selection. They also added an outdoor patio where you can smoke, tie up the dog and even order delivery from nearby restaurants. LIC is a convenient keep-the-party-going pit stop for music fans who migrate down the block after P.S. 1’s Warm Up evenings.
Just one subway stop into Queens is a bar decked out with ’60s and ’70s furniture and vintage wallpaper from Holland. Reasonably priced cocktails include the LIC Long Island iced tea, spruced up with a hit of peach nectar, and a full bar menu (with tasty panini) pulls in folks from the neighborhood’s Silvercup Studios and P.S.1.
Despite it’s proximity to P.S.1, this modest Irish pub decorated with gnomes, sports-favoring TVs and abundant neon is an unaffected hangout. Museumgoers rub elbows with graffiti artists (the legal taggers’ haven 5 Pointz is next door), workaday joes and suits, who order properly poured Guinness pints and sweet Shannon Pot Shamrock Ales. Teetotalers sit at paper-covered tables and munch burgers and fish-and-chips to the sounds of rock and roll and the rattling 7 train.