Texting From Mar’s. Oh Yeah, Astoria.

“So, it’s a guy?”

She is in front of  Kaufman Studios. She points to a corner restaurant. Black mesh tables and wooden folding chairs on a raised deck outside the restaurant. The building’s walls painted battleship grey. “You’ve been to Mar’s?”

Use Outside Mars

Ready for warmer weather ? Outside tables are at Mar’s along 34th Avenue in Astoria

Light turns green. She crosses the street. Strolls into Mars.

Marble top bar in center of room. Low concrete ceiling. Wooden floor. Candles on tables. Low lighting. Four large – framed color photographs against one wall. Hostess works the room. Waiters in white shirts attend to customers at tables. Low level rhythmic music. Bearded bartender comes over with drink menu. Puts down a list of oysters. Eight choices ($2.75-$2.95) along with special of the day.

Flips to list of Mar’s Classics . Reads three of the eleven specialty cocktails out loud.

Blood Moon. ($11) “Tequila, Cassis, lemon juice, ginger beer, bitters.”

French Western. ($12) “Bourbon, Kas Krunpnikas, Salers, lemon juice, bitters.”

Mar’s Manhattan. ($15) “Knob Creek Bourbon, Cynar, Busnel Calvados, Brooklyn Hemispherocal Black Mission Fig Bitters.”

Bartender returns. She looks up and down the menu. “French Western,” she says.

“And for you?” asks the bartender.

“Glass of Joel Bonnet, Muscadet, 2013.” ($10/$39).

 

Wine at Mars

“I like on the table, when we’re speaking, the light of a bottle of intelligent wine,” wrote Pablo Neruda.

Door swings open. Eleven of thirteen seats at bar taken.  Bartender knows most customers by name. “Hey, Mike, How you doing?”

His voice is polished. He asks about the drinks. Then greets another customer.

“So, what’s the problem?”

“We work together,” she whispers. Her voice sounds sad. “And, he smokes cigarettes.”

She lifts her French Western. Her fingers tap against the marble bar top. Gets up to use the bathroom.

A couple arrive. They take the last available seats at the bar.

She returns.  Sits and lifts the French Western. “We were texting.”

She looks left. A man is with a woman. He is drinking the beer. “You know him? she whispers. She doesn’t wait for a reply. “Tim Cornish,” she says. “Plays bass and sings vocals for The Gantry.”

The Gantry?”

“Astoria band…My guy’s a big fan.”

“So, he’s still your guy?”

Bartender draws the check. She goes outside. Sticks her hands in her pocket. Pulls out her cell phone. “Guess who I saw drinking a beer at Mar’s?” she texts.

Key Information:

Mar’s

Address: 34-21 34th Avenue, Astoria, New York 11106

Phone: 718-685-2480

Kitchen: 5pm-11pm

Raw Bar: 5pm-1am

Bar: 5pm-3:30am

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 5pm-7pm

Website: http://lifeatmars.com

Bathroom: Clean and well decorated

Best Subway Line: “N”, “R”

Bus: Q 101

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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 Mundowww.mundonewyork.com

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

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

Website for The Paper Factory Hotel: www.paperfactoryhotel.com

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.

 

 

 

 

How to Properly Clink Glasses at Mosaic, a Very Proper Neighborhood Beer and Wine Bar .

Mosiac front

Mosaic in Astoria. Where the vibe is good and the selection of beers and wines even better.

She sat at a table nearest to the entrance of Mosaic She looked out the window at the Christmas lights along 24th Avenue in Astoria and tapped her manicured nails on the round table.

The bar keep carried a Belgian Ale to her table. He put the Ale in front of her. She wore a green woolen blazer, a collared shirt and a grey knit scarf. You heard the bar keep tell her about the Ale. A hundred seventy varieties of beers, porters, ale’s and stouts. You sensed she appreciated his words.

Brett, the bar keep, has a way with words, too. He recently returned from eight months in Las Vegas where he performed in the musical ‘Rock of Ages.’ He has worked at Mosaic for three and a half years, which is one year shy of how long it’s been open. You hope he cracks The Big Time, because here’s a man who will know how to spend his money on decent wine.

Don’t know what to try?

Ask Brett for a suggestion.

This time around, Brett poured a glass of a 2013 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Crest. So bold that you smelled the scent of black cherries and blackberries. A complex first sip that almost made you want to say you tasted a spice. But, that would be misleading. You tasted the flavor of vanilla, currants and a hint of cocoa.

And what an ideal spot to chill out with a glass of wine.

Mosaic in Astoria redefines the notion of what it means to feel comfortable. Two sips in and  you think you’re inside someone’s home.Bronze gilded ceiling panels. Rustic Victorian furniture. Maroon red walls.

 

But, you’re not at someone’s home. You’re at a lounge. Decorative round tables. Antique sofas. A chandelier in the center of the room. Subtle music on the sound system. Young professionals in swank garb with iphones not far from their drinks. Their voices jovial and a few octaves louder than a whisper. The vibe is good. Mosaic is an excellent choice if you need a spot to meet a friend or if you’re up to the second or third date.

Bar shot mosiac

A rustic Victorian decor that’s memorable and comfortable.

So, here’s the dipout on that table near the entrance:

Tall guy in dark collared shirt and new Levi’s 522 Slim-Fit Tapered Leg Jeans arrived. Slender with a been to the gym physique. Dark frame glasses and a nice smile.

The woman waited on her Belgian Ale. She got up from her seat and gave him one of those second date kisses and hugs. Brett, the bar keep, walked over with a bottle of the Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon. He poured the man a glass and you smelled the fragrance of the wine from your seat at the bar.

Brett returned to the bar and the couple bantered before they clinked glasses.

She looked him in the eyes. He looked around the room.

You wanted to say ‘Cut. Do a retake.’

But, you said nothing except what you told yourself: “Hey, Dude…You got to look them in their eyes when you toast.”

So it goes.

You finished your glass of wine and walked out onto 24th Avenue in Astoria. The evening sky dark. The Christmas lights blinking.

Info:

Mosiac

(718) 728-0708

25-19 24th Avenue

Astoria, N.Y.

www.mosaicastoria.com

email: info@mosaicnyc.net

Food? Yes. Interesting array of small tasting plates.

Bathroom:   Just one. Though well decorated.

Parking:  Good if you’re lucky.

Nearest Subway:  Mosaic is known as a neighborhood spot, which should answer that question.