by Cat Wolinski
The second annual Queens Bar Guide, accompanying the second annual Queens Beer Book (AKA Queens Beer Book 2), brings you the best way to discover the exploding craft beer scene in Queens. Consider this is your explorer’s guide to great food and drink spots you haven’t been to yet, as well as an incentive to revisit neighborhood favorites in:
Astoria • Bayside • Forest Hills • Jackson Heights • Long Island City • Ridgewood • Sunnyside • Whitestone
First Glance: Craft beer and coffee live in harmony at this independent coffee house owned by local residents in Astoria’s Ditmars section. The coffeehouse-turned-New American restaurant (thanks to partnership with Chef Domenick Gianfrancesco, formerly of Craft, Craftbar NYC and Krupa Grocery) now prides itself on fresh, responsibly sourced ingredients, housemade pastas and charcuterie and a rotating selection of mostly New York drafts and bottles.
Pro Tip: If you’re starting with coffee, follow with a beer that can stand up to that roast flavor; stouts, porters and black IPAs are best. Skipping the coffee? Take a few session ales to the tables and chairs along 36th Street.
Fun Fact: “60 beans” refers to Ludwig Van Beethoven’s preferred breakfast: coffee, which he prepared himself, counting 60 beans per cup.
First Glance: Rustic restobar boasting three Michelin Bib Gourmand Awards, 100 craft whiskeys and seasonal brews made in Long Island City. Fancy fare can be enjoyed in the spacious dining area, without pretension.
Pro Tip: Choose tapas-style snacks to complement your beers—the maple bacon popcorn and pickled vegetables are especially tasty and fun to eat. The whiskey list is also something to behold—wait—was that Pappy Van Winkle?
Fun Fact: Jimmy Fallon ate here.
First Glance: 350 varieties of bottles and cans, 150+ cheeses, 40+ charcuteries and specialty groceries complement a small selection of drafts. Stay for a beer and cheese pairing, drink and draw night, or to kick back in the relaxing backyard.
Pro Tip: Please your palate by pairing a cheese and charcuterie plate (salty, fatty) with a crisp, tart farmhouse ale or gose. And don’t be intimidated by the bottle and can selection — give yourself ample time to peruse and pick up beers to go.
Fun Fact: Astoria Bier & Cheese has a another location on Broadway in Astoria, as well as another sibling biz, Milk & Hops, on Broadway in Manhattan (East Village).
First Glance: Relaxed sports bar with all of your sports needs covered: high-definition flatscreen TVs air MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL and NCAA sports packages, as well as UFC fight coverage. Catch the action with casual dining options (wings, burgers, nachos, specialty sandwiches, salads) upstairs, or kick back down below with 50 taps, plus more than 70 bourbons/whiskies.
Pro Tip: First, order a beer flight ($10) for the opportunity to try four different beers. Then, pick your favorite for a pint.
Fun Fact: Self-serve tap beer tables accompany casual dining upstairs. Try it once to pick up some bartending skills!
First Glance: Beer shop and bar hosting anywhere from 150 to 365 bottles any day of the year. Try something new and pair it with a selection of sandwiches, meats, cheeses, chocolates and other quick-to-grab snacks.
Pro Tip: Beer Closet hosts lots of low-key, non-esoteric events like Geeks Who Drink, Beer and Books, and ’80s/’90s-themed music nights. Check out their Facebook page to see what’s up.
Fun Fact: Go “We have created an atmosphere that welcomes you and feels like your living room—comfortable and at home, just surrounded by lots and lots of beer.” —Angel Flores, “logistics” manager
First Glance: A metalhead’s beer hall hoisting gigantic German lagers (and craft ales, half liters also available), German fest food and foosball.
Pro Tip: Pair a schnitzel or big, salty pretzel with a chilled lager in the spacious backyard.
Fun Fact: Bierleichen is German for “beer corpses,” a reference to the drunken Oktoberfest attendees who, throughout the festival, herd to a designated field to pass out.
“You rock! We rock!” —Jake Martin, owner
First Glance: Attractive beer hall bringing old world communal imbibing to a modern setting. Thirteen drafts and 40 bottled beers span traditional European styles and craft brews from the States, with trivia on Mondays, game night on Wednesdays, live jazz on Thursdays and a DJ spinning vinyls on Fridays and Saturdays.
Pro Tip: Go for the house beer to keep things affordable, or try to make it out for “Tapped Tuesdays,” when bartenders introduce the craft beer-curious to more intriguing microbrews on the market today. The full schedule can be found here.
Fun Fact: This branded beer hall was created with the intention of expanding into a worldwide chain. Visit and see for yourself if it’s worth the global procreation.
First Glance: This no-frills beer bar stays true to its Czech and Slovak roots, offering a casual setting that borders on dive bar; traditional Eastern European fare; as well as American favorites. Festive events are common and the outdoor garden, seating 1,000, makes any day feel like a special occasion.
Pro Tip: The tree-lined outdoor garden seats 1,000, so you won’t have to worry about finding a seat. Bypass the bar and plant yourself at a picnic table outside in the shade.
Fun Fact: Bohemian Hall hosts a few festivals each year, as well as private events.
First Glance: Soak in some class sans sass in this sophisticated but friendly bar and kitchen one block from the Astoria Park waterfront. The repurposed design envelopes an extensive whiskey selection (100 bottles or more); rotating local and international beers; and farm-to-table fare on a seasonally changing menu that celebrates local ingredients.
Pro Tip: The (small) location and vibe make Bowery Bay a perfect escape for dreamy day-drinking or relaxed, refined dining. Choose your adventure.
Fun Fact: At Bowery Bay, everything has a story, from the recycled decor to the name of the bar: Bowery Bay is also a small body of water off the north end of Astoria’s coast.
First Glance: Bringing the tradition of brewing back to Ridgewood, Queens, this mom-and-pop, DIY brewery boasts a comfortable bar, farmhouse style tables and 12 to 16 beers on tap, brewed on premises. From floor to ceiling, everything you see in the bar and tap room was built by hand using repurposed materials by the brewer/founder himself, over the course of a year long build-out. The brewery is family-owned by Queens natives and welcomes patrons of all backgrounds with beer flights, pints, growler fills and good conversation.
Pro Tip: Order in and settle in–Bridge & Tunnel Brewery is BYOF (bring your own food), along with being kid-friendly and dog-friendly.
Fun Fact: Bridge & Tunnel Brewery is located on the former site of the pre-Prohibition Diogenes Brewing Company.
“We are forging a relaxed, yet socially engaging tap room and maintaining very reasonable prices with the goal of introducing as many newcomers to the craft beer scene with an affordable opportunity to explore a range of beer styles and flavor profiles.” —Rich Castagna, owner/brewer
First Glance: Premier sports bar and ale house with rotating draft beers highlighting local breweries, craft favorites from around the States and hard-to-find imports.
Pro Tip: Try a flight first to find your favorite beer on tap. Like it? Use your Queens Beer Book ticket to get a pint for free. Love it? Bring it home in a growler for $25 ($20 if you bring your own jug).
Fun Fact: Courtyard Ale House is BYO BBQ—you supply the meat, they’ll provide the grill, tables, chairs, darts, set-up and clean-up.
First Glance: When it comes to the beer selection, less is more at this carefully curated bar with eight main drafts rotating monthly and two specialty brews switching up every week.
Pro Tip: There’s no food here, but the bar encourages that patrons bring their own bites to the backyard. Order some beers and have yourself a picnic.
Fun Fact: Diamond Dogs is a 1974 album from David Bowie that sought to conceptually combine George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984 and Bowie’s own post-apocalyptic, glittery world.
First Glance: Classic German beer hall gone slightly upscale. This family-friendly gastropub and beer garden is ripe for a fancy feast equipped with tablecloths and table service, or a casual afternoon of day drinking outside.
Pro Tip: Head outside for the best of both worlds—the vibe of a traditional German biergarten (tables and benches from Germany, shady umbrellas, pergola), along with two big screen TVs for those looking to catch the action.
Fun Fact: The giant pretzels are imported from Bavaria.
First Glance: Eight drafts and 30+ bottles and cans accompany award-winning Kansas City-style BBQ served on lunch trays, plus live music Mondays through Thursdays, with a returning blues series the last Saturday of every month.
Pro Tip: Prepare for a generous platter that features the burnt ends; they’re meat candy.
Fun Fact: John Brown Smokehouse was a 2014 recipient of the Michelin Bib Gourmand, an award signifying culinary excellence on a budget. (Alobar, another LIC Queens Beer Book restobar, received this award that year, too.)
First Glance: A quintessential urban brewery boasting Belgian-inspired, farmhouse-style and American wild ales. Outdoor seating is set to add breezy enjoyment to the sleek, spacious interior in summer 2016.
Pro Tip: Order an Ardent Core Saison, one of LIC Beer Project’s flagship ales, or look for the Trigger Rye, which won the Peoples’ Choice for best Belgian-style ale by an American brewer at Jimmy’s No. 43‘s 2015 Battle of the Belgians.
Fun Fact: Brewery partner, Daniel Acosta, planned and built the LIC Beer Project brewery and taproom after backpacking through Europe, where he was inspired by Belgian beers. He was formerly a construction consultant.
First Glance: From lip-smacking stouts to aggressively hopped ales, a range of craft beers abound at this regular neighborhood bar with 20 taps, an intimate back patio area and karaoke on Fridays.
Pro Tip: Spend some time at the bar to earn the free popcorn; for the most bang for your buck, do this Mondays through Wednesdays, when all craft drafts are $5 all day.
Fun Fact: Monday night is popcorn and a movie night on the back patio and it’s free.
First Glance: Chill out in this warm and inviting, decades-old pub that pledges to keep regulars and newcomers comfortable. Sip on seasonal craft beers or venture into inventive craft cocktails during a recurring DJ showcase or stand up comedy night.
Pro Tip: Strike up a conversation! Maggie Mae’s is known for its friendly staff and patrons.
Fun Fact: The bar was recently renovated by its owners, receiving a full facelift from dive to rustic/industrial decor.
“Come hang out with us!” —Leanne Moore, co-owner
First Glance: Drink your “bier” from a stein at this casual eatery spotlighting German comfort food, beer and mug-holding contests.
Pro Tip: Try the homemade kaesepatzle for a taste of German-style mac and cheese.
Fun Fact: Max Bratwurst also specializes in exotic meats—ask about the rattlesnake and alligator bratwursts.
First Glance: Belgian beer fans’ jaws will drop at this Belgian beer cafe reminiscent of the land of the frites, where Dubbels, Tripels and Flemish Reds are abundant. In addition to a warm and inviting interior, weather permitting, the cafe also offers table seating in an attractive outdoor setting.
Pro Tip: Be your best Belgian and sample small plates while enjoying your beers. The (not necessarily Belgian) meat and cheese plates, olives with parmigiano reggiano and hot pepper strips and hummus and tzatziki with pita are all good plates to start with.
Fun Fact: The Monk has a “strict” no-TV policy, encouraging friendly conversation. Take advantage of it!
First Glance: A locals vibe, wide selection of world and local brews and bar bites including burgers, mussels and wings. The Other Place a good place to start—or end—your night.
Pro Tip: Take a world tour of beer! The Other Place offers an eclectic mix of 40 bottled beers from the U.S., Europe, Thailand and Mexico, along with eight tap beers incorporating local favorites from Queens.
Fun Fact: Music events here range from alternative rock to jazz and solo artists.
First Glance: Create your own masterpiece or pick from the extensive menu at this sandwich and beer bar specializing in hot pressed paninis, juicy burgers, cold subs, salads and craft beers.
Pro Tip: Belgian frites serving two are best shared in the backyard garden.
Fun Fact: The Travel Channel’s Man V. Food host Adam Richman coined Press 195 “a phenomenal sandwich place.”
First Glance: Astoria Distilling Co.’s tasting room and bar, with New York-sourced spirits, wine and yes, beer. Seasonal cocktails are made with in-house gin along with other
Pro Tip: Start with Astoria Distilling Co.’s flagship spirit, Queens Courage Gin, a modern take on Old Tom gin, which was a style of gin very popular in the 1800’s and pre-Prohibition era.
Fun Fact: Astoria Distilling Co., the distillery that provides Proof and Gauge with its local gin and other spirits, is the first craft distillery to open in Queens.
First Glance: A must-go for Astorians and those who love coffee, beer, cider and scratch cooking. Stop in for cold-brewed joe, a few ever-rotating, esoteric craft beers and refined ciders from around the world. Live music has a sense of humor: on a Friday night, catch Could Be Worse (CBW), an Astoria-based, blues-inspired classic rock cover band of theatre geeks “playing all of your dad’s favorite songs.”
Pro Tip: Don’t miss the abridged and acclaimed grilled cheese menu, featuring five delectable options. Each features upscale/unique ingredients like cornichons (fancy pickles, with the Gruyere); guava jam (on the Gouda); and sherry vinaigrette (on the Gruyere and Great Hill Blue).
Fun Fact: Cold-brewed coffee. Growlers. ‘Nuff said.
First Glance: Rèst-âü-Ránt, AKA “R’a’R Bar,” spells Queens versatility. The friendly and lively locale features art, music and comedy that reflects the culturally diverse neighborhood and the shareable plates and selections of craft beers and wines do the same.
Pro Tip: The fun and affordable brunch menu has something for everyone, including vegetarian eggs benedict, Chicken and Waffles and the R’a’R Bar Burger.
Fun Fact: The horseshoe-shaped bar, along with much of the decor, was built by owner, Tina Stipanovic by hand.
First Glance: Booths, brews and food without the bros, feted for its 17 TVs, 12 beers on tap (served in frosted mugs) and 34 beers served in bottles. Come for sports, karaoke on Tuesdays, or trivia on Thursdays.
Pro Tip: The wood-fired pizzas are popular among a wide range of food—make it a Meat Lovers, veg out with Veggie, spice it up with Buffalo, or combine meals with the Chicken Cesar.
Fun Fact: Ridgewood Ale House offers second floor diners and imbibers a view of downtown Manhattan.
First Glance: Fun, friendly taproom offering flagship ales reminiscent of the Brits (ESB, Black Gold Nitro Stout, 1875 Pale Ale), more recently incorporating some American flare. Pop up food vendors feed you on weekends and in summer, the LIC Flea is across the street.
Pro Tip: Look for specialty brews that aren’t always available, like the Hawaiian Pizza (a tropical-leaning IPA), DaBEACH (a hopped up, sessionable wheat ale) or the crisp, light Kölsch Classic.
Fun Fact: Come on over, CAMRA fans: Rockaway always has a rotating cask ale on tap.
First Glance: A bit off the beaten path, but worth the trek once you’re inside (or outside, if you have a hankering for the street and a beautiful view of the Best Market), SingleCut BeerSmiths was the first brewery to open its doors in Queens this century. Since 2010, the forgers of beer have continually churned out a solid portfolio of everyman and esoteric brews. Start with the 19-33 Pilsner, named for the brewery address (which will come in handy when you’re ordering that Uber later), and capable of changing the way you feel about lagers. By the way, pilsners are a type of lager. Tell your friends.
Pro Tip: Don’t come hungry. But if you do, head to Astoria Pizza Factory, located in the parking lot across the street.
Fun Fact: SingleCut employs many music-themed beer names, which can be obscure—bonus points if you know which John Michael they’re referring to in the rotating John Michael Dark Lyric Lagrrr. (Spoiler alert: it’s this one.)
First Glance: A Welsh-inspired gastropub dishing out distinctive dinner options and snacks, along with a comprehensive list of craft beers and ciders. Try the Welsh Rarebit appetizer or pick from the list of hand-crafted burgers.
Pro Tip: Head there early, or late: happy hour runs every day from 4-7pm and 12-1am. Pints are $4, shots of tequila and bourbon are $6 and wine bottles are half priced.
Fun Fact: The recently-instated Astoria Mondays feature Industry Brunch at 12pm (bottomless mimosas for $9); happy hour at 4pm; trivia with Trivia NYC at 7pm; and comedy night at 10pm on the first Monday of the month.
First Glance: Go-to bar for a few laughs, a few drafts and cocktails crafted by award-winning mixologists. This comedy club and bar prides itself on providing “libations, comedy and music in the heart of LIC.” Check out the schedule of live events here.
Pro Tip: New York satire is best washed down with beer from New York State: look out for New York beers on draft from breweries such as Empire (Syracuse), Southern Tier (Lakewood) or Captain Lawrence (Elmsford).
Fun Fact: Craft cocktails compete for the stage here, and they’re as inventive (and naturally flavored) as their names let on—”Tomato” for Japanese barley vodka, tomato water and lemon; “Flower” for dry gin, lavender, elderflower and cranberry; and “Cucumber” for spicy tequila, cucumber, lime and bell pepper.
First Glance: Come in peace! Enjoy Korean-style fried chicken and burgers with local and international rotating beers on draft, along with 100+ in bottles and cans. A dedicated beer bar in the basement is open every evening.
Pro Tip: Go for lunch—the generous lunch special (Mondays through Fridays, 11:30am-3:30pm) features five pieces of chicken with fries or rice for $10, plus half-priced drinks.
Fun Fact: Korean fried chicken wings are radically different from the typical American bar wings. At UFC, this includes preparation with fresh (not frozen) chicken; no trans fats; no heat lamps; and a thin, crackly, paper-like crust.
First Glance: Take your pick of 12 craft beers on tap, then try a whiskey flight, if you’re feeling adventurous. Soak up the booze with daily lunch and dinner specials, ranging from traditional Irish dishes to gluten-free options.
Pro Tip: Stay for lunch! The $10 lunch special Monday through Friday offers a choice of bacon cheeseburger, Caesar salad or crispy chicken sandwich, with $2 10 oz drafts available. Prefer evening eats? Beat the mid-week slump with Wine Not Wednesdays, when wine bottles are half-priced from 6-11pm (with purchase of an entree).
Fun Fact: You won’t have to fear the dead phone here—outlets are pretty much everywhere, so feel free to tweet, Insta and selfie away. (Just remember to mention us!)
-by Cat Wolinski. Follow Cat on Twitter: @BeerAffair.
Drink at all these spots for practically free with the Queens Beer Book, available here while supplies last!