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.

 

 

 

 

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How to Find a State of Mind at Domaine Bar A Vins

Subway

Vernon Jackson Avenue Subway. One stop from Grand Central, yet a different state of mind.

It’s the Saturday after Christmas. You get off the subway at Vernon Jackson Avenue. The streets are empty. Everyone you know is away. 

You want a glass of wine before going home.

You see a neon sign. ‘Wine Bar’ above a black awning. You open the door. Ain’t no simple wine bar, babe. It’s Domaine Bar A Vins, but you won’t know that until you step inside.

wine bar front .jpg

Wine Bar to some. Domaine Bar A Vins to others. Steps from Vernon Jackson Subway Station.

Bordello like lighting with white Christmas lights running length of bar. Red lights above piano in back corner. Something like a strobe light twirls near a ceiling fan. Red, white and green light flashes bounce off the walls. Ten seats at a zinc bar. Seven tables along the walls. Wooden blinds on the front windows. 

Wine bar 4

 The music is crisp and loud. You ask whose playing. “Isaac Hayes,” replies the barkeep. French accent. Brown PorkPie Hat. Muscular arms. He brings over the wine menu and a candle. Bevy of topflight red wines. Excellent selection of white wines. Sparkling wines and Champagnes. Port and Sweet Wines. Imported beers and one beer on tap. A small menu that includes cheese, oysters, sliced meats and Pate de Campagna. 

But, you’re not in the mood for food.

Isaac Hayes gives way to young Stevie Wonder.

 Three people sit to your left. A guy with a woman on both sides of him. Stevie starts singing and everyone’s happy

You order a glass of Malbec. Domaine Basquet, 2015. ($11.00) Deep red color. First sip is lush. Sends you right to Stevie’s voice. You break down the wine. You think berries. It’s got a richness and a scent that’s almost like lavender, but some might argue otherwise.

Who cares?

Half way into the Malbec one of the women gets up to use the bathroom. The other woman doesn’t waste a moment. She puts her arms around the guy and pulls him close. Gold medal PDA. It grinds to a halt when the women comes out of the bathroom.

But here’s the funny thing:

The woman with her hands on the man’s shoulders turns to her friend and says: “I want to be able to send out a group text…We’re getting married in an hour. Anyone that wants to come can come.”

Nobody says a word.

Gilberto Gil takes over for Stevie Wonder. The barkeep pours a second glass of Malbec. 

It’s a farewell party, of sorts.

One of the women is splitting for St. Louis. The other is making wedding plans. The guy lifts his glass of Prosecco. He stares at the piano and that’s when the glass of Malbec at Domaine Bar A Vins becomes a memory burn.

You watch him walk over to the piano bench. He rolls up his sleeves and flexes his fingers. Just before his fingers hit the ivory his fiance shouts: “Please no Billy Joel. Please no Billy Joel.”

First note in you realize the guy’s got talent and shouldn’t have passed up Julliard to crunch numbers. By the time he hits his first chord you know exactly what’s on his mind.

And yes, you’re of the same state of mind.

 

Info:

Domaine Bar A Vins

50-04 Vernon Blvd.

Long Island City, NY 11101

Phone: 718-784-2350

Subway:    7 Train to Vernon Jackson

(One stop from Grand Central Station)

Website:  http://www.domainewinebar.com/

Email: info@domainewinebar.com