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Sek'end Sun
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

The best bars in Queens

From best beer halls to cocktail bars Queens has a lot fun drink spots to check out this weekend

By Emma Orlow and Time Out contributors

Checking out the many delights of rising-star borough Queens is thirsty work, you know. Whether you've been soaking up the delights of the Museum of the Moving Image, working on your suntan at Rockaway beach, or working up an appetite at one of the best Queens restaurants, you'd be well advised to order a tall glass of your favorite cocktail at one of these choice spots. Choose from tried 'n' trusted neighborhood faves like Donovan's and hip new spots like Sundown Bar. We'll take ours with a maraschino cherry, please.

RECOMMENDED: best bars in NYC

Photograph: Courtesy Natalie Keyssar

1. Nowadays

Bars Beer bars Ridgewood

With its top-flight sound system, sophisticated menu and deeply chill vibes, Nowadays is a slice of Neverland for club kids. Opened by Mister Saturday Night cofounders Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter, Nowadays’ ample outdoor space is the home of its day-party incarnation Mister Sunday and the Ridgewood Market as well as a regular slate of readings and discussions. More recently, a 5,000-square-foot indoor venue was unveiled, so now DJs can spin harder stuff into the wee hours for those who still haven’t adopted grown-up schedules.  

Rockaway Beach Surf Club Tacoway Beach
Photograph: Beth Perkins

2. Tacoway Beach

Attractions Rockaways

Despite the kitschy delight of eating takeaway tacos off a knee-balanced plate at Rockaway Taco, the sit-down setup at this offshoot housed inside the Rockaway Beach Surf Club is a much-welcome upgrade. Like at that OG taco shack, chef Andrew Field is fueling off-duty surfers and beach-bound locals with exemplary beer-battered fish tacos ($3.50) and watermelon juices ($4), but Tacoway boasts one major feature its forebear was missing: alcohol.

Evil Twin Brewing
Photograph: Courtesy Evil Twin Brewing/Caroline Lethbridge

3. Evil Twin Brewing

Bars Breweries Ridgewood

Evil Twin commands a following for its innovative suds amongst craft beer lovers. Now, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø and his wife have opened a permanent brewery and taproom with cans like Cherry Cola Sour and Spicy Avocado Margarita you can enjoy in the greenhouse space and beer garden.

Sundown Bar
Photograph: Courtesy of Sundown Bar

4. Sundown Bar

Bars Cocktail bars Ridgewood

Located in between one of our new favorite wine shops Forêt  (from the team behind Ops Pizza) and a beloved churro spot, Sundown Bar is a tiny Ridgewood gem. At Sundown, you'll find curvy, oval tables, negronis on tap and a neighborhood crowd you'll want to meet. Despite it being so tiny, the bar is pretty close to perfect. 

Sek'end Sun
Photograph: Time Out/Ali Garber

5. Sek'end Sun

Bars Cocktail bars Astoria

One of Queens' best neighborhood bar is this spot serving up drinks with ingredients like pineapple and spirits like absinthe and rum. It's also where you'll find one of Astoria's best outdoor spots for drinks.

Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

6. Dutch Kills

Bars Cocktail bars Long Island City

By now, bar pioneer Sasha Petraske’s formula is pretty familiar: natty bartenders, precise drinks and little (if any) signage. What separates Long Island City's Dutch Kills from the rest is space.

Baker's Dozen at The Bonnie
Photograph: Courtesy The Bonnie

7. The Bonnie

Bars Gastropubs Astoria

Searching for the perfect date-night spot? This magical, brick-and-wood gastropub is a great choice. Whether you’re interested in plowing through the joint’s artisan cocktail list including fruity sips like the Bonnie Punch or its dinner menu comprising hearty, laid-back fare (try the dry-aged burger topped with with crispy pork belly), you’re guaranteed a good time. Make sure to check out the spot on Thursday evening to check out some live music from local talents.

Sweet Afton
Photograph: Noah Fecks

8. Sweet Afton

Bars Beer bars Astoria

Kris Moran, the set decorator most known for her work on Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdomredesigned Sweet Afton—a bar that's a part of the hospitality group running The Wren, The Bonnie, The Spaniard, Bua and Wilfie & Nell—in honor of the spot's 10-year anniversary in Astoria. 


9. The Deep End

Bars Ridgewood

This Ridgewood bar serves homestyle favorites for brunch and dinner, and hosts queer-skewing parties and performances later into the night. Bear parties, otter throwdowns and queer womens' bashes go down just about every week, so get ready to sweat on that dancefloor. 

Photograph: Emma Orlow

10. Mikkeller Brewing NYC

Bars Beer bars Queens

Copenhagen favorite brings their brews to Citi Field in this sprawling brewery. Mikkeller doesn't just offer the perfect thirst-quenching beers but likewise has some of our favorite beer can graphic design around town. 

Queen's Room
Photograph: Courtesy Queen's Room

11. Queen's Room

Restaurants American Astoria

At this regal eatery and bar, you’ll be treated like royalty—especially on Tuesday nights, when beer, wine and well drinks are two for one. (Trivia goes down at 7pm, too.) As for the bites, you can’t go wrong with the mussels provençal or the signature bourbon BBQ burger with a side of thick—and addictive—hand-cut fries.

El Coqui
Photograph: Instagram @t_gonzalez9

12. El Coqui Billiards Lounge

Bars Ridgewood

A billiards lounge and beer hall combo is our go-to when we're looking to Go Out but don't have any plans materializing. Respect the crowds that have been coming to bar way before its trendy, they were onto it first. 

Photograph: Gabriela Herman

13. Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

Bars Beer bars Astoria

New York’s oldest beer garden still has it, serving a variety of brews on tap and Czech and Slovak cuisine  that’s worth licking your plate. Order a massive stein and a grilled bratwurst in honor of Oktoberfest or swing by for events like the Vinyl Revolution Record Show on September 30, when a $5 cover fee grants you access to some great, rare LPs.

Photograph: Filip Wolak

14. Sayra's Wine Bar

Bars Wine bars Rockaways

Joining cool-kid spots like Rockaway Taco and Rippers, the Rockaway's first wine bar brings a bougie element to the 'hood's food scene. The brainchild of local surfer Rashida Jackson and artist Patrick Flibotte, the 28-seat shoreside drinkery showcases seasonal vino from hang-ten regions around the world: chardonnay from Cali's Sonoma Coast, sauvignon blanc from New Zealand's Sandy Cove and cava from Catalonia, Spain.


15. The Windjammer

Bars Ridgewood

It's comical how many friend-of-a-friend's shows we get invited to at this bar. But it always ends up being worthing. This is what we call a no-frills bar, and its preciously why it always feels conducive to having a fun night out. 

The Highwater
Photograph: Courtesy The Highwater

16. The Highwater

Bars Cocktail bars Astoria

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. At the Highwater you feel like you’re exhaling the whole time. It’s liquid yoga.

Photograph: Alex Strada

17. Hombres Lounge

Bars Lounges Jackson Heights

A long and narrow dance hall dressed resembling Babylon from Queer as Folk, Hombres has a more Manhattan vibe than the other gay bars on the Jackson Heights strip. Nightly $3 tequila/vodka shots and $4 frozen margaritas (and near-nude Latino go-go boys atop the bar) keep the young and beautiful coming back, with the crowd overflowing the sweaty dance floor and spilling out into the street. A downstairs lounge is only open for private events, so if you’re not lucky enough to snag one of the few barstools, you may as well dance all night. Hombres is something of a destination for Long Islanders and Connecticut gays, perhaps thanks to the ample on-street parking just outside.

Donovan's Pub
Photograph: Courtesy Donovan's Pub

18. Donovan’s Pub

Restaurants Hamburgers Woodside

Woodside, Queens, bustles on, but this worn Irish pub stays the same. Old-timers line the front bar, while the wood-paneled dining room—made all the more classic with stained-glass adornment—recalls an honest age of prechain family dining.

Gottscheer Hall
Photograph: Gottscheer Hall

19. Gottscheer Hall

Shopping Markets and fairs Ridgewood

This old-school German venue space offers great German food offerings like soft pretzels with mustard, served best alongside cold brews.  

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

20. Alewife Queens

Bars Beer bars Long Island City

For Long Island City, the transformation from underserved 'hood to serious food-and-drink destination has been percolating for the past several years. Dutch Kills led the charge, coaxing booze aficionados to a barren stretch of Jackson Avenue for sultry jazz and impeccable classic cocktails.


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