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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 Mundo: www.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.