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929
929

A secret cocktail bar celebrating the Chinese diaspora opens in Queens

929 is a nostalgic ode to the first-gen owner’s roots.

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Written by
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
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A new cocktail and vinyl bar just opened in Long Island City, and the vibes are on point, particularly for nostalgic Millennials.

929, a cocktail bar channeling Chinese diasporic nostalgia aims to evoke childhood memories from first-generation guests, as well as introduce all imbibers to the flavors, sights and sounds of growing up Chinese American. The bar focuses on creative cocktails, plus a playlist of rare vinyl records spinning Canto- and Mando-pop tunes.  

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The project is founder Haoran Chen’s homage to the music scene of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and his upbringing as a first-gen Chinese American. The cocktails are inspired by treats and flavors often found in the Chinese diaspora. Menu highlights include Love is Like a Bad Cold, named after a hit song by Taiwanese artist Yuki Hsu, a cocktail with a whiskey base incorporating Nin Jiom Herbal Syrup, a traditional herbal syrup commonly used as a cough remedy

Leslie’s Sleepless Night is a tribute to the Asian pop icon Leslie Cheung, and mixes ceylon-infused scotch, sweet vermouth flavored with coffee and condensed milk foam to reimagine the Manhattan with the flavor profiles of yinyeung, a classic Hong Kong beverage combining coffee and tea. The Most Familiar Stranger, inspired by the 1999 ballad by pop diva Elva Hsiao, evokes the essence of three-cup chicken, a popular Taiwanese dish, through basil-infused gin and maple foam made with soy sauce and soy milk.

Inside 929, a new cocktail bar in Long Island City
929Inside 929, a new cocktail bar in Long Island City

Other odes to Chinese pop culture in the ’80s and ’90s include movie posters and Chen’s personal vinyl collection. A professional artist and graphic designer, he conceptualized the 1,100-square-foot space from the ground up, aiming to create a love letter to his lifelong passions. 

“929 celebrates everything close to my heart, the flavors and the pop culture that defined my youth and made me who I am today," said Chen. "Growing up, I didn’t know anyone who shared my interests and struggled to find a sense of belonging. I started 929 not just to celebrate the things I love, but also to create a space for anyone who, like me, struggled to find a community. It doesn’t matter if you’re familiar with the music or the flavors here. This is a place where anyone can have a drink, listen to records, and feel comfortable to be their most authentic selves.”

To find the speakeasy-style cocktail bar, you'll have to walk through a discreet door within Gulp, a casual Taiwanese restaurant at 42-45 27th Street in Long Island City. 929 offers a menu of shareable bites from Gulp, including braised meat platters, spicy peanuts, and Taiwanese popcorn chicken. In addition to cocktails, 929 will also feature a curated selection of low-intervention wines, beers and spirits, with a focus on East Asian and Asian American producers.

929 is currently open Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm - 1am and Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5pm to 12am.  

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