Talking About an Ex at the Gantry Bar & Kitchen

“How about a corner bar?”

She calls from  Uber. “We’re on the Grand Central Parkway. What do you suggest?”

The Gantry.”

She gives directions to the driver. “47-02 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City,” she says.

Twenty minutes later enters the Gantry Bar & Kitchen. Puts her travel bag in the corner and sits on the banquette.

“So how’s things?”

“He has a malignant tumor,” she says.

“Who?”

The waitress comes over; puts down menus. “Can I get you a drink?”

“And how,” she says and orders a Brooklyn Lager.

“A Brooklyn in Queens?”

“Think it matters?” she asks.

The waitress turns her head. “And for you?”

Eighteen draft beers. More varieties in bottles. Small varied menu. Modern day gastropub fare. She senses the waitress is antsy and pushes the menu across the table. She turns her head and looks around the bar. Red brick wall. Old-Fashioned tiled floor. Fifteen seat bar. High-def televisions over the bar. Wooden tables. High ceiling. Vintage wallpaper in the back near one of the three bathrooms. All the bar’s wide windows are open. The Citibank Building is seen through one of the windows. Its blue and red colors standout in the evening sky.

Inside gantry bar

Everything in place at The Gantry Bar & Kitchen. Beers on tap. High-definition televisions. Corner location.

“A Red Steel Ale, please.”

Red Steel Ale

Red Steel Ale served at The Gantry. Smooth distinctive taste. Sip slow and prolong the conversation.

The waitress smiles and greets a couple standing in the doorway.

She pats the banquette and places her hand on a cushion. “Nice here.”

“The tumor?”

“George,”  she whispers.

“How long has it been?”

She looks out The Gantry’s front window, which faces Vernon Boulevard. “We finalized seven years ago.”

“Any contact?”

The waitress brings over the beers. She lifts her Brooklyn Lager. “His mother calls me once a month,” she says.

“For seven years?”

She sips, puts down the stein and says something about George’s mother being a saint. She leans forward.

“You have a beer mustache.”

She wipes her lips with the back of her hand. “It’s nice to touch glasses with you,” she says.

After another round, she wants fresh air. “Can we walk to the water?” she asks. “I want to put the Pepsi Sign on Instagram.”

Later, she stood in front of a construction site for the future  Hunters Point Community Library designed by Steven Holl Architects.  “What a wonderful spot for a library,” she says, while playing with the handle of her travel bag.

Library LIC

To the right of the Pepsi Cola sign is a rendering of the Hunters Point Library on the water in Long Island City.

“What about George?”

“That was a very long time ago,” she says.

Her Uber arrives.  She opens the sedan’s door. Puts her piece of luggage on the floor of the car. “It’s difficult,” she says. “But, this has been a joy.”

 

Key Information:

The Gantry Bar & Kitchen

47-02 Vernon Blvd.

Hunters Point, Long Island City 11101

Telephone: 718-737-6309

Hours:

Monday: 11:00 am-1:00 am

Tuesday: 11:00 am-2:00 am

Wednesday: 11:00 am-2:00 am

Thursday: 11:00 am-4:00 am

Friday:      11:00 am-4:00 am

Saturday:  11:00 am-4:00 am

Sunday:     11:00 am-1:00 am

Bathrooms:  Total of three. One upstairs. Two downstairs. Spacious.

Nearest Subway: 7 Line/Vernon Blvd./Jackson Avenue

Parking: Somewhat challenging

Website: http://gantrybar.com (coming soon with link to their menu).

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gantrybarlic/

Happy Hour: M-F from 11am to 7pm

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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 

Whoomp! There it is…How to slow down in Long Island City

Whoomp! There it is.

You rush up the subway stairs. You’ve been running all day. Now it’s time to wonder why.

So, a blackboard stand waits for you atop the Vernon-Jackson Avenue subway station. It’s as though someone placed the board near the corner just to tell you it’s time to slow.

“Happy Hour. 6-7 p.m. Station LIC  The Kitchen is Open!”

Station LIC Subway.jpg

Pays to advertise. Blackboard directs subway riders at Vernon-Jackson Avenue to Station LIC, an eatery and bar.

You walk left. You open a tall thick wooden door.

Whoomp! There it is.

A twelve seat bar with room for 55 seated diners. A train station motif. High ceilings. Exposed wood beams. Brick wall behind the bar.

The barkeep floats over. She asks if you’re eating or just drinking. You’re not listening. Dylan whispers in your ear: “Something’s happening here and you don’t know what it is.”

The joint is more than wine, beer, top shelf hard liquor and ten house specialty cocktails ($12). It’s even more than a menu with selections ranging from the crudo Tuna-Hamachi ($14) to the Charred Octopus with Jalapeno Pesto ($18) to the Pork Duo with Parsnip and Bacon ($15).

Station LIC is brain food if you dig  design and decor. It’s what Steve Jobs meant when he said: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

And the one who made Station LIC work?

How about a Ukrainian with a Bachelors of Architecture Degree from Pratt Institute, and a Master of Science Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. He’s Gregory Okshteyn with a talktomebaby resume.  But, nobody gets this good alone. Station LIC ‘s operation runs under the command of an operating partner named Michael. He resembles the young Sidney Pointier and dresses like a man who knows Madison Avenue.

But, that’s neither here nor there.

Here’s your reason to punch Station LIC into your Waze app:

A floor to ceiling window looks out onto Jackson Avenue. The window is from another era. Your eyes go to the window. A movie unfolds for you. A couple kisses on the street corner. Green taxis, yellow taxis and a bicyclist whiz along the avenue. You wonder if the ghost of Fellini stands near.

Station LIC Window Photo 1.jpg

Maybe the most notable floor to ceiling window along Jackson Avenue in Long Island City.

But, there’s more, kiddo.

James Moody and Hank Jones play on the bar’s sound system. The sound of classic jazz slows everything for you before your first sip. James Moody’s saxophone gives you your moment to reflect and that’s when you notice a hazed 100 year old glass window in the corner of the 2400 square foot room.

The window’s glare goes red when the street light goes red. Then green when the light goes green. But, the most memorable moment is when a silhouette climbs the stairs. You watch the silhouette ascend the stairs and you wonder if you just saw the ghost of Charlie Chaplain  in Long Island City.

And just when you think you’ve seen enough for one night, there is something more to see at Station LIC.

A large black and white painting hangs against the wall near the hazed corner window. It’s a painting of an antique fan so realistic you mistakenly labeled it a photograph.

Station LIC Fan photo.jpg

‘The Fan,’ an original artwork by Shimon Okshyetyn displayed at Station LIC.

And then you hear the story behind the painting.

The painting is Gregory’s wedding gift from his father Shimon Okshyetyn , a Ukrainian artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. His works graced museums in Prague, St. Petersburg, Russia, Rochester, N.Y. and the Whitney Museum’s permanent collection in Manhattan.

Yet, there is one final fact to share about Station LIC:

On December 17, Station LIC will celebrate its one year anniversary.

Whoomp! There it is.

 

Information:

Station LIC

10-37 Jackson Avenue

Long Island City, N.Y. 11101

Telephone: (347) 832-0056

Restaurant Hours:

Monday thru Sunday: 5 p.m.-2 a.m.

website: www.stationlic.com

email: stationlicny@gmail.com

Bathrooms: Absolutely must see to believe. (Just that amazing).

Subway:

Vernon/Jackson Avenue 7 Line

Parking: Depends on day and hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need a First Date Spot? Arriba Arriba in Sunnyside Works.

Daytime Front arriba

You’re Johnny on the Spot. You texted your flirtationship all week and now you’re Under Pressure for a first date suggestion.

Here’s the move if you’re near Sunnyside. Do Happy Hour at Arriba Arriba. Middle of 40th Street on Queens Boulevard. You got parking. You got a bus stop. You got the 7 Line station at 40th Street. Honestly, you’ve got no excuses.

Mexican cuisine goes with a first date like Romeo and Juliet. Crazy? Don’t think so. Ever notice how scent of fresh corn tortilla chips puts a smile on your face? If that doesn’t do it, take a look at the Frozen Margarita machine at the end of their bar. Arriba Arriba’s got a shout out from Gothamist in 2014 as one of the ten best Margaritas in NYC.   Find a Facebook fanatic not laughing after a few sips into a Frozen Margarita and you’ve found someone in need of serious meds.

So, what do you say? It’s a Happy Hour mingle. Spend the chedda and tell yourself  ‘you got to be in it to win it.’  You work. You’ve got a paycheck, so spring for a Frozen Margarita at $6 a pop. Or do domestic beers or Sangria at the same price.

And how to dress you might ask:

Go for a business provocative look if it’s Happy Hour at Arriba Arriba or somewhere else. 

And if nobody says it: You can read it here: “You look marvelous,baby.”

Even the bartender thinks so,too.

He pins balloons in the middle and at both ends of the bar.

Ballons Arriba

Five high-def TVs on the walls. An array of imported and domestic beers on tap. A choice of Los Coladas ($10.00) and  Arriba Mojitos at the yougottabekiddingjack price of $11.

So, do the Mr. Big thing. Take a seat on the banquet. Let your friendgirl look at the mural that runs length of the wall. Drop the macho dude bit and go artsy. Start the conversation with that mural. You like it? What do you think it is? Who is the artist? You even like art?

My arriba mural

Latin music thumps at a decimal level that’s agreeable enough for conversation at Arriba Arriba. The lighting is low. Busboys run up the stairs carrying plates of food. Every dish is perfect for sharing. Not bad for bonding, huh?

Happy Hour runs 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., so the clock is ticking on your rap and If you can’t get it going or don’t feel Lucky Lust hovering you’ve got two plays. You can step outside and hop on the bus, Gus. Or, turn left and watch the Stephanie Sigman wannabe hostess greet customers into Arriba Arriba as they step off The Boulevard of Dreams.

But, let’s think positive, okay?

You’ve made a splash. There’s hope for a second date.

Directions:

40-15 Queens Boulevard

Sunnyside, N.Y.

(718) 349-5999

http://www.arribarriba.com/arribasunnyside/

E-mail: arribany@gmail.com   

Happy Hour: 4 p.m.-7 p.m.

Bathroom Quality: Serviceable

Closest Train Station:

7 Line / 40th Street

Convenient Parking

Happy Hour at The Claret Wine Bar, Sunnyside. It’s Like You Hit The Pick Three Lottery.

Claret Dining Room

Don’t they seem happy? Friday night Happy Hour at The Claret Wine Bar, Skillman Avenue, Sunnyside.

Whoa. 

If you discover Happy Hour at The Claret Wine Bar  in Sunnyside you might feel as though you just hit The Pick Three lottery.

And if you don’t know that happiness,#kidfromqueens is about to drop a dime:

Server walks over and greets you with a smile. “You know about our Happy Hour specials, don’t you?”

Don’t say a word and just listen, Buckaroos. Choice of three bottles of wine and plain ten inch cheese pizza for $25.00.

Whoa, Baby.

Selected a Sauvigon Blanc Argentinian wine. Astica, 2014. From Mendoza, Argentina to Skillman Avenue. Isn’t life amazing?

Wine arrives in somebody’s Big Idea. A sturdy plastic Ice Bag. Filled with water and crushed ice.

Ice bag

Who needs a better mouse trap? Here’s a better way to chill wine.

First taste in and you realize it really is Happy Hour. Hint of grapefruit,fresh and tangy, if you believe that stuff. But, this much is a fact: Light and perfect for a Friday following a day of  Excel spreadsheets.

Felt so good, upgraded the plain cheese pizza to include prosciutto, arugula and shaved Parmesan Cheese.

photo (2) (2)

Halfway into the bottle of Astica the work week went the way of our beloved Mets. Focused instead on the Claret’s eleven seat bar. Everyseat taken. Sam the Scroller searching his Iphone for messages. Harry the Hipster speaking to Cinderella. And, Paula the Poet channeling the vibe of that late Sunnyside Muse, Suze Rotolo.

Everybody’s content and why not?

Six beers on tab. A chalk board off to the side of the bar lists three varieties of whiskey. American, scotch and Irish.And if that’s not your preference you’ve got a list of more than 100 bottles of wine to find your happiness. Buy the bottle or buy the glass.

Happy Hour, of course, doesn’t stand still.

Darkness falls. You notice a candle on each table. You turn to the large window that looks out on Skillman Avenue. The leaves are changing. You’re across the street from the Sunnyside Gardens Market. That awning is long and oh so green, dude. Who cares? The room fills. Ceiling fans go in slow motion overhead. You hear laughter. You see the smiles. The music plays. It’s J.J. Cale. You are happy.

Yet, there is more to feel good about at The Claret Wine Bar.

painting Claret

One of numerous photographs by Leslie K. Henderson exhibited at The Claret Wine Bar. Photos to be auctioned for fundraiser on November 10, 2015

Black and white large format photographs hang on the bar’s exposed brick walls.

The photos are going to be auctioned off at The Claret Wine Bar on Tuesday, November 10th. A collection of Parisian scenes shoot by Leslie K. Henderson. Talk about unique: Leslie is a humanitarian photographer. “Worked with numerous NGOs in Malwawi & Tanzania.”

Purpose of the November 10th auction? To raise funds and create awareness for ‘the only Children’s Cancer Unit in Tanzania.’

“Go girl. Go”

Meanwhile, You see the food come out of the kitchen. A Beet Salad on a rectangular plate. Red and golden beets border Frisee lettuce topped with Goat Cheese and roasted Pine Nuts.  You send yourself a text. “Come back again and give the salad a try.”  You’ll have time to come back, too.The Claret Wine Bar has been around since 2008.

So, here’s the outtro from #kidfromqueens on this sojourn:

Like Whoa, baby.

.

Claret Wine Bar

46-02 Skillman Avenue

Sunnyside, NY

718-937-7411

 www.Claretwinebar.com

Affordability: Can’t complain

 Bathroom Quality: Clean and Acceptable

Nearest Subway:

7 Line: 46th Street/ Bliss Street

 Parking: Not as difficult as Manhattan.

Want A Winning Happy Hour? Saddle Up at Venturo in Sunnyside

venturo-vino-18

Saddle up to the bar, folks. It’s Happy Hour at Venturo Osteria and Wine Bar in Sunnyside.

Benghazi, Hilliary and Donald are not in our thoughts. We’re here to get happy and that’s our story.

Everyone knows it,too. The bartender does his part. He passes over Venturo’s Happy Hour menu. House Cocktails for $7 between 4pm to 7pm. Selected vino for $5 and selected beer for $4. A cocktail called East of Sunnyside which contained Mayfair gin, gran classic, lime, mint and cucumber sounded great, but our day called for something stronger. If you wish there is a small selection of appetizers to go with your drinks, but this time around we’re here for something more than food.

Vodka on the rocks with lemon, please.

Two sips into the vodka and the décor at Venturo reset our mood. Dark stained wooden plank floors. Beige painted brick walls. A built-in-book case with a mirrored backdrop for bottles of Italian red wine. Framed silhouettes along the wall. A sound system that was neither too loud nor too soft. A small outside eating area and two clean bathrooms.

After our second vodka the small bar filled. Three well dressed women talking about the Picasso exhibit at The  Museum of Modern Art. Two fashionable men talking about ‘ a big birthday.’ His thirtieth.

And what about the service ?

The bartender and woman working the floor could not have been more pleasant.

Saddled? Ready?

If you must know, we’re already planning a return trip to Venturo. Good place to saddle up and get happy.

Directions:  

44-07 Queens Boulevard

Sunnyside, N.Y.

(718) 406-9363

http://www.venturovino.com

venturovino@gmail.com

Hours:

Happy Hour Mon-Fri: 4pm-7pm

Dinner:

Sun-Thur: 5pm-10pm

Fri-Sat: 5pm-11pm

Brunch Sat. & Sun.: 11am-3:30pm