Once you go to the other side with finely crafted cocktails, it will be difficult to go back to the mundane mixtures and usual suspects at the corner bar. While some of these selections are part of a summer cocktail menu, they reflect the top list-worthiness of each spot non the less.
Here are the Best Cocktail Bars in Queens NY.
1. Dutch Kills: Long Island City
This legendary spot is one of the best in New York. A true speakeasy with a heart for the classic era and an open ended philosophy on creating new spins on the classics. They cut their ice directly from slabs daily giving the drinks an authentic feel. Bartender Chris McLeod kicks things off with the "Don Lockwood". A smokey "Old Fashioned", designed by native bartender, Abraham Hawkins. His addition of maple syrup and chocolate bitters warms the soul. The "Queens Park Swizzle" had a sweetness and complexity with it's tropical look. The mixture of dark rum, lime, mint, Demerara sugar and Angostura bitters was out of this world good. The "Marie Antoinette" looked fruity but tasted much darker and bold. Their pineapple daiquiri is the mascot drink of the Dutch Kills crew. The "Right Now", one of Bartender Lauren McLaughlin's, is a rip on a cocktail called the, "Too Soon". Gin, Cynar, cucumbers and salt makes this a super tasty, citrusy drink with a bitter back end. Tell them what kind of drink you like and they'll pour you something excellent to your taste.
2. Station House: Forest Hills
This prime Gastro Pub with excellent care for the experience and superb cocktail program rocks. Bobby Burns, General Manager and Head "Booze Nerd", serves up a true, "Old Fashioned" with Michter's Rye. Legend has it that this rye was used by George Washington and his troops to stay warm as they went through the winter at Valley Forge. Every bartender or, "Booze Nerd" at Station House, make their own inspired drinks. On Thursday nights a cocktail challenge with a particular ingredient is used to conjure up new drinks. Tell them the type of spirit and flavors you like and they'll whip up something amazing on the spot. The "Richard Simmons", is a unique blend of carrot juice, muddled cilantro, bell pepper infused gin and lime. I really appreciated the "Basil Instinct", made by Kristine Serrano. It had a refreshing afterglow and the basil flavor really shined through. Combined with some of the best food, craft beer and staff in the area. Station House is an absolute treasure.
3. Mar's: Astoria
This corner spot in the heart of beloved Astoria, is making its impression by serving unique blends by head bartender Dan Zakarija. Favorites like the, "Tupelo Honey" are wonderful, with KAS Krupnikas, lemon juice, topped with a chamomile foam for texture and impressive phases of flavor. The, "Hazy Buzz" with Bruxo Mezcal, Salers and lemon juice also offers complexity and simplicity in some very blissful sips. The "Charred Oak" sung to the velvety feels of Pig's Nose scotch, bitters and a Laphroig rinse, encapsulating the theme of much of the smokey flavors of this best cocktails list. Pair these drinks with some of the freshest oysters and ahi tuna, served with other menu delectables and what a tremendous time you are going to have.
4. Sweet Afton: Astoria
Here's a killer spot that is not to be missed. General Managers, Mike Di Tota, and Rob Mohally have come up with a diverse list of cocktails that are sure to please. I loved the "Saints of Liberties". The cardamom syrup with Boker's Bitters, Irish whiskey and lime juice makes for a step away from the usual while staying very refreshing. The "Needle and Thread" is a stirred cocktail, which is a play on the white negroni, for those who like a hint of bitter flavor and sweetness. The "Ginger Baker" tastes like a refined "Moscow Mule". They use local makers, Haber's Tonic Syrup from Astoria, a mix of homemade ginger syrup, orange liqueur, bourbon, lemon and fortified white whine. The "Sweet Afton Punch" uses a 17th century spirit, three types of rum, brandy, fresh fruit and spices.This drink tastes like summer in a glass. Rocking an insane brunch cocktail menu as well, I'll need to go back a couple times a month to start getting my fill.
5. The Bonnie: Astoria
A botanical garden on the rooftop can be seen from the dining area outside in the back, where cocktail designer, Mike Di Tota, takes an approach to devising drinks that stem from the herbs themselves. The, "Late Bloomer" is a curiously refreshing gin cocktail with strawberry, lemon, house-made citrus bitters and lovingly rimmed with hibiscus salt. It has a smokey edge complimenting the sweetness of the drink. "The Wayside" brings in the flare of tequila, mescal, agua fresca and chili lime salt, throwing off it's fruit punch look, the taste is only lightly sweet. The "45 Sound" is probably the strongest drink on the menu. Boasting gracious amounts of aged Jamaican rum, Cocchi Rosa and orange bitters. The Pina Colada, has house made coconut milk, lime and pineapple - infused light rum. This has a beautiful flavor. The Bonnie is another stout place for great eats and drinks to make your life blissfuly better.
6. The Sparrow Tavern: Astoria
The triple threat of the most awesome ladies in the cocktail game are shaking and stirring things up! I kicked things off with the, "Stoned Fruit". A mixture of apricot infused illegal mezcal, chili honey touched with smoked sea salt. It had the perceivable flavor of a nice tequila drink with a forward smokiness from the salted rim. The, "Pretty in Pink", is a tart and refreshing drink, that seems like a spiked pink lemonade with strawberry, rhubarb shrub and Tito's Vodka. My favorite of the bunch was the, "Queens Garden". A gin drink shaken with fresh mint, lime, lavender syrup and blueberry juice. It has the richness in flavor, a bold look and a handsome mint garnish. On Thursdays they make frozen drinks with fresh local ice cream! I will be coming back to sample their great food menu. Cheers to the Sparrow!
7. Aperitif Bistro: Bayside
The French Bistro is the best addition to the notorious Bell Blvd. Not only serving cheese and meat plates, crepes and artisanal flatbread pizza but just updated their cocktail program to compete with the best. The new libations have been designed by head bartender Don Cozette and are truly a great addition. I had a taste of their, "Cherry Gotham" which is a post modern version of the classic Manhattan, built with splendid cherry flavor. The "Celsius 39" is a new favorite, that mixes spicy tequila and raspberry puree for a very flavorful quality. It has a curious kick that you will anticipate with every sip. Here we see, General Manager, Alex Huve, concocting these splendid libations.
8.*Insider's Tip* End of the Century Bar: Forest Hills
Word has it, the cocktail wizards that brought you Dutch Kills, have brought their supremely inspired drink specialities to Forest Hills. This means an amazing cocktail experience is yours for the drinking. While I did not get to venture out to this location myself, just looking at the impressive menu and photos have got me excited. Besides, a cocktail adventure should never actually end.