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Time Out Love New York Awards 2014: Queens

A local’s guide to Queens. Here are the area’s top local stores, bars, coffee shops, music venues and restaurants.

Time Out readers have spoken, and below are the venues they named their absolute favorite in Queens. So the next time you’re in the area and in need of food, drink or retail therapy, make a beeline for these places and you won’t go far wrong.

For more great things to do in Queens check out our full Queens guide.

The winners

RESTAURANT: The Sparrow Tavern

Young professionals join artsy crowds at this neighborhood cocktail bar. Quaffs feature twists on classics: Whiskey sours are made with saffron simple syrup, while organic blueberry juice and lavender go into the mojito. Behind the 12-seat bar, there are ten draft suds—including Astoria's Singlecut 19-33—as well as 15 by the bottle (Angry Orchard, Breckenridge IPA). You'll find pork tacos and herbed lamb ribs on the menu, along with a veggie burger that earned a nod on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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COFFEE SHOP: Sweetleaf

Long Island City’s first specialty coffee shop serves direct-trade coffee, homemade pastries and artisan espresso (complete with latte art) in a cubbyhole-sized space.

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Long Island City

STORE: Brass Owl

Astoria isn’t exactly known for its selection of clothing boutiques, but Nicole Panettieri is hoping to change that with her new shop, Brass Owl. This Ditmars boutique has a vintage vibe (thanks to its owlcentric decor), but the merch—primarily shoes and accessories—is all new. In addition to boots and shoes from Steve Madden, Dolce Vita and Chinese Laundry ($40–$250), you can shop jewelry from local designers ($10–$150), as well as candles and body-care items. Bonus for locals: Panettieri plans to host monthly events (like a ladies’ night and trunk shows).

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BAR: Sweet Afton

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.

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While they haven’t been as successful as their Bronx rivals in recent years, the Mets can certainly be happy about their newish stadium, which opened in 2009. With great sight lines, fun activities for kids and a prodigious selection of food and booze (including Shake Shack and Blue Smoke outposts), even those with the barest interest in the game will enjoy themselves here. During the 2012 season, the Amazin’s brought in the outfield walls by a few feet to eke a few more long balls out of the notoriously pitcher-friendly park. The result? An additional 45 dingers sent to souvenir city.

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