Dutch Kills Bar-Find it. See it. Hear it.

Bitch of a wind blows on Jackson Avenue. Desolate sidewalk. Metal gates pulled over most store fronts except one. That store? Vacant stationary store. Dusty windows. Sign above entrance. “Jules. Serving You Since 1933.”

Can’t do this one straight, so follow:

Zoom in on a white neon sign flashing above a black Triumph motorcycle parked on sidewalk. Single word on neon sign blinks: “Bar.”  Now zoom in on a red brick building. Plywood covers a window. You’re not sure if you’ve got the address right. Your heart pumps.

Dutch Kills Front

You got it right. Dutch Kills Bar entrance along Jackson Avenue in Long Island City.

Suddenly, a cop car spins out from a dead end street. You’re so freaked you pull the bar’s door open and hope you’re somewhere good.

You are.

Dutch Kills Bar.

Railroad flat shaped room. Dark wooden walls. Dim lighting. Booths with red curtains. Couples chat. They look at you. You look at them. Everyone looks away on cue. Notable sound system. Music’s got a good beat. You walk in a straight line because that’s all you’ve got.

Bar area at far end of the room.

Dutch Kills Inside 1

View from inside of Dutch Kills Bar. Long and narrow and  like something from a Martin Scorsese movie set.

 

Think secret hideaway. Mismatched chandeliers hang above varnished bar counter top. Bartenders in long sleeve striped shirts and vests. When customers leave money a bartender rings a copper bell. Against bar above a juke box an antique American Flag.

The atmosphere is something you’d expect from a Martin Scorsese movie, but it’s real.

Very real, too.

All seats filled except one. You navigate length of bar. Tight squeeze. Maybe eighteen inches between bar seats and wall. You pass Friday nighters.

“Hey, how you doing?”

She ain’t talking and who really cares anyway.

So, you look at the photographs on the wall until the bartender notices you. Photos showing refrigeration and blocks of ice. You don’t get it, but know there’s a reason for it.

Bartender’s got you in his scope. Tall thin with a deep voice He pours you a glass of water with cucumber in a pewter shot glass. His voice is drop dead duplicate for Bela Lugosi. Absolute baritone like nothing you’ve ever heard. You compliment him on his voice. “I got born lucky,” he replies. Call the man with the magical voice Jamie. He dreams about being a baseball announcer. Meanwhile, everyone knows him as Jamie and he dreams about sitting in the radio’s announcer’s booth at Citifield. “I want to be the next Howie Rose,” says Jamie.

He presents the Dutch Kills Bar menu. Heavy plastic with a blue border. Greek diner motif for those who care.

Eight house cocktails ($13) with names that make you smile.

Bleecker Street Tonic. Cavendish Kiss. Cock N’ Bull Special. Diamondback. Manzana Malvada. Old Vermont. St. Charles Swizzle. The Voorhees.

You pick Old Vermont. Maple syrup on ‘roids. A mixture of gin, maple syrup, fresh juices of lemon and orange. Shaken and served straight up.

Dutch Kills drink

Old Vermont Cocktail served at Dutch Kills Bar. Think Maple Syrup on ‘roids. Goes well after a work week.

 

Your drinks finished. Edge comes off work week. You drop money on the bar. The bell rings. You push the drink menu forward and that’s when you see it:

Bottom of last page of drink menu:

“*Bela Lugosi’s Dead.”

Can’t make this stuff up. Pure Scorsese.

Info: Dutch Kills Bar

Address: 27-24 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City

Phone:718-383-2724

Website: www.dutchkillsbar.com

Email: dutchkillsbar@gmail.com

Hours: 5 pm ‘ till 2 am (or later)

Bathrooms: Spacious.

Nearest Subway Stations:

E-M-R at Queens Plaza

E-M-G at Court Square

N-Q-& at Queensboro Plaza

Parking: After 7 p.m. it’s all yours along Jackson Avenue 

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How to Find M.Wells Steakhouse While Forgetting Much and Enjoying a Glass of Wine.

Left the taxi at the intersection of Northern Blvd and Jackson Avenue.

“Seven dollars,” said the driver.

Passed the driver ten dollars and said keep the change.

Pockets of snow remained on Jackson Avenue. Lights illuminated a construction sight along Jackson Avenue. Workers dragged a hose through mud and you felt sorry for the men because they worked with their boots in the mud. But, you knew they were happy for the overtime and didn’t feel sorry for long.

Not many people walked Jackson Avenue.

You noticed the Manhattan skyline. Mid-town building lights looked pretty against the night sky. You walked Jackson Avenue until you reached forty-third street. There you turned right and continued straight in the direction of M.Wells Steakhouse.

All for your Friday glass of wine.

You walked in the street because the sidewalks remained impassable. On both sides of forty-third street you saw construction sites. One site bigger than the other. You turned left on Crescent Street. Another two construction sites. Across the street from one site stood a converted loft building. You saw an advertisement for apartment rentals but knew the price was beyond your means. Now, however, the wind blew off the East River and you were happy to afford any glass of wine that you wanted.

The wind was perfumed with the scent of BBQ smoke and the scent became stronger the closer you came to M. Wells. The air smelled sweet and that made you smile while you walked.

It’s easy to miss M. Wells Steakhouse. No shingle. No welcoming sign. A silver metallic garage door pulled down in front of the restaurant. To the right of the silver door is a red brick wall. White graffiti on the top half of the brick wall. To the right of the bricks is a six-foot-high wooden fence. A string of white lights run the parameter of the fence. In the background lights from apartment buildings in Long Island City. For a moment, you couldn’t find the entrance to the restaurant, but then you found the opening. You walked a few feet inside a mini-courtyard until you found the restaurant’s door.

M.Wells Outside 2

Entrance for M.Wells Steakhouse, Long Island City. To enter: Push the near left wooden fence section. It’s that easy.

 

A hostess stood behind a velvet curtain.

“Do you have a reservation?” she asked.

“A drink at the bar.”

The hostess smiled and pointed you to the bar.

A thick dark colored stone served as the bar’s top. The bartender brought over a cocktail menu. He wore a long sleeve black shirt and black pants. A cook stood behind a raw bar. A black and white silent film played on a small screen on the far left of the bar. Otis Redding sang ‘Sitting By the Dock of the Bay’ over the sound system. The sound level loud enough to put a smile on your face, but not so loud that you couldn’t converse.

“What would you like?”

Ten specialty house cocktails. ($13). Seven beer and ciders ranging from $6 to $16. Assorted whiskey, rye, scotch, vodka and gins. Two Sparkling Wines by the glass. ($13-$18). Five white/Rose selections by the glass. ($ 11-$15). Five reds  by the glass. ($12-$21).

You choose a Sonoma Valley Cabernet. 2012 Bucklin “Old Hill Ranch,” ($21) because you wanted to feel better than the words printed out off an e-mail that you carried in your back pocket.

The bar tender poured you a taste.

Bartender Steve

Steven, the bar tender at M. Wells Steakhouse, pours a glass of the 2012 Bucklin “Old Hill Ranch” Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Cabernet’s color so dark the wine looked more blue than red. You swirled the glass and smelled Oak wood and a scent that made you think of fruit, but you weren’t sure which fruit.

“It’s starting to open, isn’t it?” asked the bar tender.

He poured the wine into your glass.

The room filled. The crowd ? Call them Hipsters Plus. Black turtle necks, Woolen sweaters. Petti bone glasses. You watched the head waiter work the room. Smooth. Enthused. Passionate. He made everyone forget they dined inside a former garage. You looked at the restaurant’s maroon brick walls, the low antique chandeliers and how the light bounced off the metallic gate. So cool, you thought.

Inside Metal Gate 1

Here’s how it’s done. The headwaiter at M. Well’s greets diners.

 

An open kitchen on the right side of the room. Cooks with tilted baseball caps and focused gazes worked. You lifted your ‘Old Hill Ranch’ Cabernet Sauvignon and sipped the wine. You remembered what it was like to work in a kitchen and wondered if you could ever again have the same focused gaze as the cooks at M. Wells.

Open Kitchen 1

Under the watchful gaze of others…Cooks at work in the open kitchen at M. Wells Steakhouse.

When you finished the wine you asked for the check. Steven, the bar tender, asked what you thought of the Cabernet. Wonderful, you replied and promised to return soon.

You stood on Crescent Street. The wind calmed. The Mid-Town lights looked brighter than when you arrived. Cars still waited to get on the Queensboro Bridge. You watched four people struggled to find the restaurant’s door. You showed them where to push the wooden fence and all of you laughed.

You didn’t wait long for a taxi. Just before the taxi arrived you read the print out of the e-mail one last time. The taxi pulled to the curb. You tore the paper in half and tossed it in the trash.

Dear Robert,

We regret that we are unable to use the enclosed material. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider it.

Sincerely,

The Editors

Info:

M. Wells Steakhouse

(718) 786-9060
Open 5:30 PM – 11:00 PM
Trains: Short walk from Queens Plaza.
Parking: Very,very easy.
Bathrooms: Large and clean.