The cocktail scene in Astoria and Long Island City has expanded. There are many places serving really interesting mixed drinks. Here are some places in Astoria where you can get a great cocktail, not just a mixed drink.
1. Dutch Kills
Dutch Kills focuses on high-quality cocktails, using top-notch liquor and chipping their own custom ice cubes. They'll make you a classic cocktail like a daquiri, a scotch on the rocks, or a martini, or something special from their Queens-themed drink selection, like the Astoria Cocktail (gin, dry vermouth, orange bitters) or the Steinway Punch (rye whiskey, lemon, curaçao, soda).
The Dutch Kills space itself is very subdued - lots of dark brown wood and no windows, but it's very romantic just the same. It lends itself to canoodling. Dutch Kills is the place to be if you want to step into another era of cocktail cool.
Dutch Kills Bar, 27-24 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY, 718-383-2724
Opened by the people behind the much beloved Astoria restaurant Vesta, Pachanga Patterson offers up a small selection of Latin cocktails in its digs on 31st Ave. Though the selection may be small, these drinks are really special, and even the classic margarita is made with a twist - hibiscus tequila and hibiscus syrup.
The "Death in the Gulfstream" is also excellent (and strong), made with gin, lime, simple syrup, and bitters. Pachanga Patterson also serves a nice selection of tequila and mezcals, and sangria is available.
Pachanga Patterson, 33-17 31st Ave, Astoria, NY, 718-554-0525
The Astor Room is determined to bring posh to Astoria, and its cocktails match this vision. This contemporary supper club, located in the old Kaufman Astoria Studios commissary, serves a number of solid, delicious cocktails, including the New Yorker (lemon juice, simple syrup, claret, bourbon), the Mary Pickford (silver rum, pineapple juice, grenadine, maraschino liqueur), and the Astor Martini (vodka, gin, or tequila, Campari, grapefruit juice). Drinks are served by the Astor Room's skilled bartenders from the Beaver Bar, and you can enjoy your drink there at the bar or with a meal in its dining room.
The Astor Room, 34-12 36th St, Astoria, NY, 718-255-1947
4. Sweet Afton
Nicknamed "The Astoria Local," Sweet Afton is located south of 30th Ave in the heart of Astoria's Greek cafe world. This gastropub's strength lies in its small, focused, and delightful menu, and of course with its drinks. They serve both classic cocktails and very creative drinks. The classics include the margarita, rye old fashioned, and the dark and stormy.
Their House Variations range from the spicy cherry margarita (made with homemade habanero-infused tequila, cherry preserve, simple syrup, and lime), to red lemonade (citrus vodka, simple syrup, lemon, cranberry), and the Miller's martini (Miller's gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon, strawberry, and cucumber). Delicious!
Sweet Afton, 30-09 34th St, Astoria, NY, 718-777-2570
5. M Wells
This understated diner in Long Island City has made a splash on the scene with its Quebecois-inspired food, but its cocktails are also excellent and thoughtful, which makes sense since they are getting some help from the Dutch Kills cocktail bar. Most likely, you'll smile when you read what's in some of the cocktails.
Take the Red Rooster -- it's made with tequila blanco, lime juice, raspberry syrup... and sriracha hot sauce! Then there's the Slapshot (named by M Wells' hockey-fan chef) made with Canadian Club, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, Angostura bitters, and soda, with a cherry on top. Their other cocktails are equally as interesting.
M Wells, 21-17 49th Ave, Long Island City, NY, 718-425-6917