How a Wrong Turn Lead to a Good Ale at the LIC Beer Project

Sometimes a wrong turn leads to a good ale.

Wasn’t paying attention, Kiddo. Right turn off Queens Plaza North. A block screaming Quentin Tarantino. A bevvy of auto body shops. Cars jacked on sidewalks. ‘Flat Fix Here’ signs everywhere. Roar of cordless drills tightening wheel nuts.

And then? Quick glance to the left.

Garage door half opened. People sitting at wooden tables on steel stools.

Brewey outside

“Hey, Kiddo. You feel like hanging and downing a few?”

So, as the Ramones used to shout, “Hey, ho! Let’s go.”

Sheet metal ducts run the high ceiling. Wooden casks along the brick walls. Silver silos at far end of room. An immaculate stainless steel basin in a room behind a glass window. Exotic bottles of beer on the window ledge. Not far away people, toss bean bags at wooden boards.

Brewery Bean toss 1

“Don’t know about you, but tossing Bean Bags sure beats crunching numbers…You agree, Kiddo?”

Welcome to the LIC Beer Project, Kiddo.

Brewery Sunday crowd

“Talk about finds…It’s like somehow the Seattle craft brewery scene has come to Queens.”

Open six months. A former tobacco holding factory.

Ten taps. All Belgian style ales. Maybe a poet gave each ale its name and wrote the descriptions.

Ardent Core. ($6) “…The final result is softly contoured pale golden ale…The finish is super crisp and dry.”

Wonderlic. ($6) “…generously hopped with Amarillo and Saaz brewed with Abbey yeast….bitterness as well as a soft maltiness.”

Modern Aberration. ($7) “This beautiful, golden ale with a billowing white head, explosive hop, and yeast profile…Tropical pineapple, orange rind and mango dominates…”

You like poetry Kiddo, right? So, linger, ok? There’s space.

Seven seat sleek bar. Pandora selections loud and clear through hidden speakers. List of ale’s on a vintage mirror above the taps. Customers stare at the mirror with the focus you give a menu at a four-star restaurant.

“What are you going to have?” the bartender asks. Major league tattoos, red hair, and knows her stuff.

“Your best.”

You tell her your likes. She looks at the taps. Bites her top lip. “Got just the one for you,” she says.

Draws you a taste. “Ardent Core. Our flagship beer,” she says. “Lemon. Earthy and a blend of secret spices.”

Brewery beer 1

“Who names an ale Ardent Core? Whatever, Kiddo.  One sip and you’ll be talking about the LIC Beer Project for a long, long time.”

You sip the ale slow. Kiddo, if you were here, you would raise your glass and shout, “Here’s to urban renewal.”

The ale is finished. You put money on the bar top. The bartender thanks you and says to come around again.

Outside on 23rd Street, a cordless drill goes back to work. A red sky appears above the Queensboro Bridge and a woman leans against the brick wall near the entrance to the LIC Beer Project.

She bends one knee and presses the sole of her shoe against the wall. A goblet filled with an ale in one hand. Cell phone and cigarette in the other.

“You okay?”

She shrugs.

“A guy?”

The electric drill goes silent. Wheel nuts hit the sidewalk.

Tears well in the woman’s eyes. Her lip quivers. She sips the ale and looks away.

Yeah, pure Tarantino, Kiddo.


Key Information:

LIC Beer Project

Address: 39-28 23rd Street, Long Island City, NY 11101

Phone: (917) 832-6840

Taproom Hours: Thursday:      4 pm-11 pm

Friday:           4 pm – 11 pm

Saturday:      1 pm – 11 pm

Sunday:        1 pm – 9 pm



Bathrooms: Spacious and Clean

Nearest Subway Station: Queensboro Plaza

Parking: Easy after 6 PM and on weekends




Why You Should Waze Up Zip Code 11101 and Discover Mundo Inside The Paper Factory Hotel

Punch Zip Code 11101 into Waze. Get yourself to The Paper Factory Hotel  in Long Island City. Enter the hotel’s lobby. Up the stairs and a quick right into Mundo. A restaurant/bar like nothing you’ve see in Queens.

Wow meets Swank. Blocks from the Queens Plaza subway and just off Northern Boulevard.

Arriving at Mundo for the first time is like channeling Giovanni da Verrazano upon his discovery of New York Harbor.

Both the hotel’s lobby and Mundo are like a wonderland. Oversized multicolored fire hydrant. Multicolored mailbox. Thirty-foot high column encased with books. Instagram ready. All that’s missing is a spot on the floor that says, “Place 2 Kiss.”

And exactly how did we get from “How do you get to Long Island City?” to Long Island City as a “Go-To destination?”

Ninety-four years ago, the building at 37-06 36th Street housed a couple of companies. One manufactured radio parts. The other functioned as a paper mill.

Now, flip forward.

Today, the site is home to a 122 room hotel and a restaurant/bar that serves cocktails with names like L’al, Mateina, and Zen.

But, the real Zen lies with the site’s real estate developer.

Kudos to Gal Sela. He brought the property in 2012. Put $27 million behind the renovation and hit the bullseye. Achieving goals? Don’t put down Sela if he shouts B-I-N-G-O.

As for Mundo? It’s like something you’d expect to see inside The Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres, Spain.

Multicolored Turkish gourds wired with electricity provide light above Mundo’s twelve seat bar. A thirty foot column swathed with books. Candles on tables. An industrial ceiling and leanforwardbabyIwanttotellyousomething friendly acoustics.

Mundo gords 1

Got a light? Turkish gords wired like never seen before above Mundo’s bar.

Seven specialty cocktails. Five white and red wines by the glass and maybe more on some nights.

This visit it’s a Portillo 2014 Malbec from Argentina. Deep red color. Scent of plums and blackberries. Starts smooth and finishes like a John Coltrane solo, which is to say memorable. ($11/glass).

Mundo gords and wine.JPG

Friday glass of wine? How about a Portillo 2014 Malbec from Argentina?

Two sips into the Portillo and your eyes wander.

Round high top tables with leather stools in middle of room. Brown rectangular tables along the side of the room, in front of a vast window. The window’s covered with something like lattice. You feel like you are in a foreign country. White and red lights of cars driving Northern Boulevard cut through the lattice and give the room a distinct look.

Mundo windows

Sit inside Mundo. Look beyond the room’s windows and you’ll never think of Northern Boulevard the same again.

In time, the customers fill the bar. Collars up. Cellphones in hand.

One asks if the bartender knows how to make a cocktail called Penicillin. The bartender snaps out the drink’s ingredients as though he were taking a test. Not bad. Then one customer asks another, “Where did you first drink Penicillin?”

SoHo,” he replies.

And that’s when the thought hit: “So long Zip Code 10012.”


Info: Mundo is located on lobby floor inside The Paper Factory Hotel.

Address: 37-06 38th Street. Long Island City, N.Y.,N.Y. 11101

Phone for Mundo: 718-706-8636

Website for

Restrooms: Clean.Compartmentalized.Multi-faucet shared sink.

Phone for The Paper Factory Hotel: 718-392-7200

Website for The Paper Factory Hotel:

Nearest Subway Stations:

M at 36th Street Station on Northern Blvd.

E-M-R at Queens Plaza (Short walk)

Parking: Metered parking near hotel. Free parking along surrounding blocks.