If you’ve known the magic of a Brokelyn Beer Book, you know the joy of having a beer on the house waiting for you at a great bar no matter where you are in Brooklyn. What’s better than 30 beers at 30 bars for 30 bucks?
But while we’ve been Beer Booking all over Brooklyn for five years and counting, our comrades in Queens have been quietly building a Brewtropolis of craft bars and suds-centric eateries with world-class beer menus, many sourced from local breweries like SingleCut, Rockaway and Finback.
Today, Queens’ beer badassedness is impossible to ignore. In honor of that achievement, Brokelyn introduces the first-ever Queens Beer Book, featuring the best bars and beer-centric eateries in Astoria and Long Island City, along with Forest Hills, Ridgewood, Glendale, Kew Gardens and Bayside. (See NY1’s story on the Queens Beer Book.)
As ever, the Beer Book offers more than 30 beers at more than 30 bars for just 30 bucks, designed with a long shelf life (they’re good through 12/15/15) so you have plenty of time to take it all in. It’s on sale online and at the Lockwood Shop in Astoria, at 32-15 33rd Street.
Whether you live in these parts or you’re just down to explore, the Queens Beer Book is your discovery roadmap — Cat Wolinski, Brokelyn’s beer expert in residence, put these killer bars together and there’s not a dud in the bunch.
In Astoria there’s Sunswick 35/35, the first craft bar in Astoria, Queens Kickshaw, a coffee shop/ bar specializing in unusual beers and ciders from around the world, Fatty’s Café, a beachy bistro with a Caribbean cabana-style back area — and a whole bunch more. Our impressive Long Island City lineup includes the brand new brewery LIC Beer Project, along with Alobar, an understated award-winning restaurant with local rotating taps and RaR Bar, an artistic and lively space that’s part gallery, part eatery, and has a beer list every bit as artful as what’s on the walls. On to Ridgewood and Bierleichen, a heavy metal bar whose name is German for “beer corpse.” Non-headbangers might prefer Julia’s Beer & Wine Bar, a gem in the neighborhood’s up-and-coming bar scene.
If you’re looking for a bar crawl, this isn’t the promo for that. But keep it in your pocket all year, and you never know when you’ll find a new favorite among our incredible bunch of participating venues:
Alewife • Alobar • Astoria Beer & Brew • Austin Public • Austin’s Ale House • Bierleichen • Blackbird’s • Bourbon Street • Bowery Bay • Cobblestones Pub • Crescent & Vine • Fatty’s Cafe • Finback Brewery • Forest Hills Station House• Front Toward Enemy • Judy & Punch • Julia’s Beer & Wine Bar • Katch Astoria • LIC Beer Project • Max Bratwurst Und Bier • Mosaic Craft Beer & Wine Bar • Ovelia • Postscriptum Pizza Shop • Queens Kickshaw • Rèst-âü-Ránt • Rockaway Brewing Company • The Sandwich Bar • SingleCut Beersmiths• Snowdonia • The Sparrow Tavern • Sunswick 35/35 • William Hallet
Cheers, beer drinkers of Queens — we salute you! Get your Beer Book while they last, and learn more about our participating venues after this intriguing photo from Sunswick 35/35.
Queens Beer Book 2015: The Bars
Accepted as the most important element of Long Island City’s beer scene pre-brewery reemergence, this New York beer hall and event space serves up 28 swiftly rotating craft beers on draft, more than 100 more in bottles, and has nightly food and beer specials to help guide your palate to perfection. Grilled cheese with taleggio, fontina and a fig and onion jam create a sweet and savory burst of flavor that pairs swimmingly with the latest Barrier IPA.
For those who prefer a stiffer drink or are looking to mix it up, a seasonal cocktail menu is available, along with four local wines on tap.
Ideal for group drinking, Alewife features both high tables and communal style seating, as well as a space upstairs for birthdays, tastings, showers and holiday festivities. For entertainment, you may find yourself at trivia night, paint night, or in front of a local band.
Alobar is Long Island City’s answer to the farm-to-table movement, added together with rustic charm and a whole lot of whisk(e)y. (Yes, even Pappy’s, though it’ll cost you). With hyper-local beers (Transmitter, Rockaway) to taste and house specialty sides like maple bacon popcorn and spring vegetable ragout, this three-time winner of the Michelin Bib Gourmand will not disappoint.
If you’re staying for dinner (highly recommended), peruse plates large and small to satisfy an appetite of any size (Berkshire Pork Belly, Half Roasted Chicken). Charcuterie and cheese are also available with five options each, and a playful pickled section (carrots, curried apple) is inventive and tasty.
Astoria Beer & Brew, 21-76 21st St. (Ditmars & 21st Dr.), Astoria, (718) 606-0779
Facebook || Instagram: @astoriabeerandbrew || Twitter: @astoriabeerbrew
The only thing more satisfying than drinking good beer is making and drinking good beer, and Astoria Beer & Brew can help you with both. Introduced to Astoria in 2014 by Bowery Bay owner and chef, Gary Anza, the boutique bar and homebrew shop invites locals to try beers made nearby and teach customers about making their own, adding a distinct local flavor to the emerging craft culinary scene in Queens.
Take your time enjoying a few pints and ponder over one of the tastiest science experiments known to humankind: fresh, microbrewed beer.
This gastropub is a meeting place for locals and visitors alike, boasting beers almost as varied as the daily and nightly specials: burger and beer or salad and wine on Monday ($10); happy hour all day on Tuesday; trivia on Wednesday (8pm); ladies night on Thursday (half off all drinks); brunch (11am to 3pm) and live music (10pm) on Saturday and brunch and karaoke (9pm) on Sunday. Pick your poison, and don’t forget to pick from the 10 beers in white lettering on the beer screens if you’re a Queens Beer Book holder
A bar, lounge and restaurant featuring 20 beers on draft and more than 40 in bottles to be among the ample seating indoors or beneath a covered pergola on the patio outside. The umbrella-filled location sits at the foot of the Long Island Railroad Kew Gardens station, allowing for plentiful people watching or meeting with friends on their commute. Local beers and international favorites cater to Queens’ diverse crowd.
Bierleichen, 582 Seneca Ave. (Menahan & Grove), Ridgewood, (718) 366-5381
Facebook || Instagram: @bierleichennyc || Twitter: @bierleichennyc
German for “beer corpses,” this heavy metal bar serves up German and Austrian beers, bratwurst, knackwurst and Bavarian pretzels, all while rocking harder than Rammstein.
The 10 draft beers and broad selection of imported bottles are almost exclusively German and Austrian, melding appropriately with the mostly-German festival food and, oddly (and awesomely) enough, two foosball tables.
If that’s not enough, some more reasons to stick around are the beer and bratwurst lunch special from noon to 4pm ($10 and two-for-one happy hour on beers from 4pm to 7pm.
According to owner Bobby Clifford, this laid-back local favorite started as a bar/restaurant but can now be more accurately described as a restaurant/bar, its beer and bourbon accompanied by burgers, sandwiches and “the best wings in town,” all made and served with love.
Specials every night of the week include fiesta night on Monday, featuring homemade, bacon-wrapped poppers alongside Coronas and margs; wing night Wednesday, when wings are half priced and drafts are $4 and served in mason jars; chicken and waffles and $3 shots on Thursdays; and cajun night on Friday.
From the folks over at Austin’s Ale House in Forest Hills is this taste of New Orleans in Queens. The lively bar invites patrons to jazz up their night with authentic Creole food and cocktails, 20 beers on tap, and as of summer 2015, another eight to ten beers on the brand new rooftop bar–Bayside’s first, according to the bar’s marketing director.
At Bowery Bay, everything has a story. The all-recycled decor, copious liquor options, local and unique beers on draft and original farm-to-table food options are the brainchild of chef and owner, Gary Anza, who has created an advanced yet welcoming atmosphere that brings the class without the sass.
Located one block from the beautiful Astoria Park and waterfront, the boutique bar, named for a small body of water a bit further north off the Astoria coast, is a perfect escape for dreamy day-drinking or relaxed and refined dining. Choose your own adventure.
Those who know Cobblestones know the pub is Queens history. In business under the same ownership in the same location on Queens Blvd. for 30 years and counting, the sports bar redefined the genre for Forest Hills by transforming its backyard space not into a beer garden or patio, but into a basketball court, where bar-going B-ball fans can combine passions with three-on-three tournaments all summer (no drinking on the court). Inside, players’ girlfriends and pals can watch the game on any of the flatscreen TVs, or belly up to the bar with a beer and bar food.
As for the brews, 18 drafts include local favorites like Finback and Singlecut, joined by 12 beers by the bottle.
In the words of owner Pete Massaro, “if you’re in Forest Hills, you must come to Cobblestones.” We tend to agree.
Crescent & Vine, 2503 Ditmars Blvd., (At Crescent), Astoria, (718) 204-4774
Facebook || Instagram: @CrescentAndVine || Twitter: @CrescentAndVine
Tin ceilings, brick walls, soft candle light…this cozy space with a finely curated craft beer selection proves that a beer lover’s paradise can exist in a small, dimly lit package. Hard to find brews expertly selected by Dan Bronson, bar manager and creator of Queens Beer Week, http://www.queensbeerweek.com/ will surprise and delight even the most seasoned connoisseur’s palate, and the colorful craft beer options are giddily presented in one of the best chalkboard lists in town, or anywhere.
Our senses were ablaze with the beer options, but the “fine wine, good music and decent service” (the rest of the bar’s tagline after “unusual craft beer”) ain’t so bad, either.
A few words from the owner, Fernano Pena: “you deserve to stop in here.”
If life’s a beach, then Fatty’s owner Fernando Pena has it all figured out.
At first glance, the bar/cafe is simply eye-catching; upon closer inspection, an ocean-invoking, music-centric decor with incredible attention to detail is revealed: behind the bar, a draft beer system retrofitted with an amplifier base and microphone tap handles; to your left, a wall built out of boomboxes; within it, fish swim around in a tank wedged in amongst subwoofers.
Splashes of color transform the space into a local art gallery, with art on the turquoise walls hugging the room, and small tables painted with maps of tropical islands that have been visited by Pena and his wife. Eclectic and original food options like Contraband Chicken and Jerk-Rubbed Island Pork Tenderloin hint at the Caribbean cabana-style outdoor area that awaits out back.
Fatty’s feels like a vacation, and local beers on tap (Finback, Singlecut, Rockaway), joined by a few brews from our friends out west and a beachy cocktail lineup, enhance the occasion.
The brewery that went from Kickstarter to kicking butt in one year, Finback has produced a variety of beers on tap across the city, but like any sweet (or sour, or bitter) nectar, it’s best to get it from its source. Take a trip to the taproom (on Thursday, Saturday or Sunday for Queens Beer Book holders) to see where the magic happens. A rotating selection of beers brewed on premises include IPAs, sour ales, imperial stouts and barrel aged beers.
Station House is not a stop, it’s a destination. Located directly next to the Long Island Railroad station in Forest Hills, the state-of-the-art gastropub has been seducing thirsty travelers through its French-style doors to showcase, among other attractive qualities, a thoughtful selection of craft beer and cider from across the country and around the world.
Comprehensive knowledge of craft beer and cider is central here, but the beverage train chugs even further with more than 100 small batch whiskeys, and classic and bespoke cocktails mixed and shaken by friendly and knowledgeable bartenders.
For growling stomachs, a wide-ranging menu with mouth-watering options for a range of tastes includes one of the best burgers in the city, featured on Eyewitness News’ “Neighborhood Eats.”
This industrial space with style specializes in craft beers and handcrafted cocktails to “wet” the palate while bar eats whet the gut. Saturday Punch Brunch and jazz nights with live local bands keep locals coming back for more.
The Irish-owned home base has unexpectedly Mexican appetizer specials like Fiesta Nachos, Grilled Mexi Burger, Quesadillas, while heartier daytime eats span cuisines from Irish Potato Cakes and Eggs to Gangsta Chicken ‘Rap to Pulled Pork Tortilla. For dinner, ocean lovers and fresh-water fiends find sauvignon blanc steamed mussels, oysters, and fettuccine smoked salmon, while salads and sides please the veg-friendly.
Judy & Punch, 34-08 30th Ave. (34th & 35th Sts.) Astoria, (718) 626-3101
Facebook || Instagram: @judyandpunchnyc || Twitter: @JudyandPunchNYC
Bustling 30th Ave. has a new a prime stop for beer experts and beginners alike. At Judy and Punch, entertainment spans the usual suspects like Tuesday night trivia and live music on Sundays (Without George, every Sunday at 8pm), but 15 rotating drafts, unique cocktails and–wait for it–free popcorn make any day a good one to go here. For a reliable, anytime treat, ask a friendly bartender to fix you up with a New York draft and sip it on a stool whilst window-watching passersby.
Julia’s Beer & Wine Bar, 818 Woodward Ave. (Putnam and Cornelia), Ridgewood, (917) 909-1314
Of the many gems unearthing in the Queens beer scene, Julia’s brings a unique sparkle to Ridgewood. Started by the owners of cozy neighborhood coffee shop, Norma’s, this checkered-floor, board game-stacked Alice in Wonderland of a bar meets the need for hyper-local beer, New York State wines, New York cheese plates, and snacks made in-house, like crackers and turnovers.
Managing partner William Reter is an avid homebrewer, and features a rotating NYC beer on draft that at times can be a collaboration between himself and a nearby brewer. The at-present singular tap selection is supplemented with regional bottles, best enjoyed during drink and draws, local art shows, Sunday brunch or a midday sit solo.
If you live in Astoria, you’ve probably caught wind of Katch, a boisterous sports bar and entertainment lounge with an impressive tap selection. Fifty craft beers on tap and 10 in cans meet the needs of any level of beer drinker, with Kurrent Attractions (special beers) rotating among 18 designated taps each week.
Sixty-three TVs and Pay Per View fights may seem to make the venue ideal for watching matches inside, but the Katch Kourtyard out back is where it’s at: 5,000 square feet of outdoor seating feature regular beer specials (and there’s a TV out there, too).
Trivia on Tuesdays, outdoor movie nights on Wednesdays and live music on Fridays make Katch a kool place to try any night of the week.
The latest beermakers to emerge in Long Island City boast a brand spankin’ new boutique brewery and taphouse built on a multi-partied effort to put a unique spin and experience on Queens beer.
According to its managers, the Beer Project encompasses a “collaborative journey of insight, experience, travel, education, and the goal to achieve a beer we have yet to discover,” a recipe not unlikely to yield success for beer lovers.
Drink your bier from a .3 liter stein or 2 liter boot at this simple yet inviting eatery spotlighting German style comfort food, cold beer and sports. Mug holding contests are a possible route to prizes like $25 and $50 gift cards and definite route to drunken fun, and a party room downstairs is available for private occasions.
It’s all in the name at this Victorian living room-style drinking den offering up a colorful assemblage of craft beers and fine wines from around the world. No liquor to speak of, but take a careful look through the thorough book of beers, which includes more than 180 craft brewed selections from New York to Belgium to Germany, all complementing the decent lineup of local and regional drafts.
Combine with paninis, crepes or meat and cheese platters and you’ll see why this easy-to-get-to, yet easy-to-miss corner spot recently celebrated its fourth year anniversary in Astoria.
An award-winning Greek restaurant that will surprise you with its hidden tap selection featuring domestic drafts from Ommegang to Stone, great modern Hellenic food and an outdoor bar in the form of a sidewalk patio. Try the proprietary “Frap-Beer,” a Founders Porter mixed with Nescafe and vanilla syrup, for an eccentric and enjoyable pick-me-up al fresco.
Postscriptum Pizza Shop, 32-02 Broadway (At 32nd St.) Astoria, (718) 685-2764
No ordinary pizza shop or afterthought, this casual corner spot with class has it all: 12″ brick oven pizzas, eight craft beers on draft and 10 in bottles, an extensive wine selection and an urban rustic atmosphere with full front windows looking out onto Broadway.
Other food options range from oysters to pork belly to salads, along with a coffee and dessert menu for the sweet toothed or those looking for a multi-course experience on a date or with friends.
It’s hard to pin down the best part of the Queens Kickshaw: there’s the ever-rotating lineup of hard-to-find and esoteric beers, four on draft, two by-the-glass and more than 30 in bottles; a selection of ciders representing the world’s cider-growing regions is the largest in NYC, aside from the hubby-and-wife owners’ just-opened cider bar in the Lower East Side, Wassail; cold brewed coffee flows from a tap; adn there’s an acclaimed grilled cheese menu.
In addition, the gastropub-meets-coffee shop has live music every Friday night from 9 to 11:30pm; musical acts are announced on the events page.
RaR Bar spells Queens versatility, attracting locals and newcomers alike with an always-rotating selection of craft beers, a vast selection of wine, and curated cocktails for an extra kick.
The repertoire and following here has continuously grown over the years, thanks to quirky characteristics like a lack of televisions to help people connect and converse, weekly events including music, comedy and art shows that reflect the culturally diverse neighborhood, and shareable plates created with care from locally sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible.
Rockaway Brewing Company, 46-01 5th St. (At 46th Ave.), Long Island City, (718) 482-6528
Representing their Rockaway roots in Long Island City digs, this brewhouse and taproom makes easy drinking beers and loves having company. Make your way through their malty lineup while ogling the wall of vintage beer cans.
Family-owned, foodie-approved and perfect for a panini lover’s lunch break, the Sandwich Bar lives up to its name with a daily special that’s hard not to savor—from 11am to 4pm, any half sandwich with a side is $7.50 ($9.50 for two sides) and the package tastes even better with a brew or two.
The menu, music, clientele and location steps from the N/Q train (around the corner from the Astoria-Ditmars Blvd. stop) all contribute to making this Greek-influenced shop great, but the beer selection, featuring local Queens brews and U.S. and European favorites, and the frozen cocktails for summer slurping, make it even better.
The people behind the original Queens micro-brewery (the first to operate in the borough since Prohibition) are good at what they do and take their craft seriously—sort of. A selection of 30 board games, music-themed beers and guitar fret-shaped tap handles make SingleCut more of a seriously fun place to sip local beer, whether in the well-decorated taproom under sky-high ceilings, or on the shady sidewalk outside.
If you’re here on the weekend, take a brewery tour, where you’ll learn about how the beer is made and have a chance to taste it all on tap. While you’re at it, ask about their mascot, Rulpsen, who is essentially a robot fermentation tank with a crass attitude and sense of humor.
A Welsh-inspired gastropub with gumption dishing out distinctive dinner options like “Stuffies” (clamshells stuffed with clams, chorizo, breadcrumbs, onions and peppers), “Gaggers” (half weiners on potato rolls with mustard, onions, and secret recipe chili) and the “Mac & Cheese Byrgyr” (a quarter pound burger with a bun made out of mac and cheese–yeah), deliciously joined by all the necessary craft beers and ciders for summer–Ithaca Flower Power IPA, Rockaway Extra Special/Strong Bitter, Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen (a 50/50 mix of Schofferhofer wheat beer and grapefruit juice) on draft; Founders All Day IPA and Butternuts Heinieweisse and Pork Slap in cans; Angry Orchard, Crispin and Smith and Forge ciders.
On top of the bevy of beverages and unique eats, Snowdonia also offers much appreciated attributes like New York Times recommended trivia, Monday Brunch that lasts all day, and obscure movies playing almost every night.
This dimly-lit, tin-walled, classy-cocktailed neighborhood bar and restaurant a solid selection of yearly beers (SingleCut, Ommegang, Lagunitas) and rotationals that change weekly, bottles and cans (Breckenridge, Founders, Narragansett), and grass-fed, organic and gluten-free foods.
According to staff, the tavern is a quintessential stop for the neighborhood, with frequent networking opportunities for media, entertainment and and hospitality types.
Astoria’s original craft beer bar planted its flag in this somewhat hidden area by providing 25 craft beers on draft, homemade sandwiches, burgers, and wings that surpass typical bar fare.
According to the owner, “Sunswick” derives from the Native American word “Sunskisq,” meaning “place of the chief’s wife,” a name also given to the Sunswick Creek which ran from the East River to Astoria. Since the surrounding area has always been known as a place where community thrives, our modern-day beer source attempts to recreate that feeling of fellowship and commonality, and succeeds. See for yourself during trivia on Wednesdays, bingo on Thursdays or a laid-back vibe any day of the week.
All-American beers with local emphasis complement an eclectic food menu at this timeless tavern and restaurant that somehow feels concealed away from Astoria’s 30th Avenue rush.
Sophistication doesn’t mean stuffy here—you’ll find yourself listening to funk and punk rock while dining, drinking, and admiring the quiet simplicity of this elegant pub.
Sample the spring menu, plan a weekend brunch with friends or stop in for a late night snack that far surpasses the usual pm-to-am fare.
— Bar guide by Cat Wolinski