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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

Emma Orlow
Written by
Emma Orlow
&
Time Out contributors
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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

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Ridgewood
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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.  

  • Attractions
  • Rockaways
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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.

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  • 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. 

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  • 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.

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  • Bars
  • Gastropubs
  • Astoria
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Astoria
  • price 2 of 4

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. 

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  • 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. 

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Queens
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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. 

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  • 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.

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Astoria
  • price 1 of 4

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.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Rockaways
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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.

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  • 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. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Astoria
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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  • 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.

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Long Island City
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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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