Brooklyn bars steal all the attention when it comes to the outer borough drinking experience, but as Queens neighborhoods attract a younger crowd, the cocktail scene there is coming into its own. Known for authentic restaurants and a familial vibe, Astoria is now the home to many career focused twenty-somethings, as well. With trendy eateries popping up on what seems like every block, we picked out these bars and restaurants for the best happy hour deals. By Sarah Shaker.
Happy Hour specials ($4 beers, $5 mixed drinks, $6 wines and select specialty cocktails) run every weekday from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. and until 4:30 p.m. when stopping by for a weekend brunch. (Try the Breakfast Burger – LaFrieda beef served on country white bun with fried egg, lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles). Don’t miss out on their beer battered and fried McClure’s Brooklyn Pickles.
The Astor Room
34-12 36th St.
Formerly a private club at the historic Kaufman Astoria Studios, this restaurant’s mahogany “Beaver Bar” features a drink menu designed by Lynnette Marrero and Jim Kearns. Cocktails such as The Fairbanks (London dry gin, dry vermouth, apricot brandy liqueur, grenadine and lemon juice) harken back to Astoria’s heyday as a hub of Old Hollywood glamour. Look for a regular rotation of silent movies and live music to keep things interesting.
Studio Square’s sister restaurant next door offers $1 oysters, Long Island Blue Points, and half-priced beer, wine and cocktails every Tuesday through Saturday from 4 pm to 9 pm.
Beer aficionados will fall for MexiBBQ’s Craft Beer Happy Hour every weekday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring half-priced pints of every single beer on their menu. In addition to major labels, enjoy about two dozen artisan suds for around $4 a glass. MexiBBQ’s craft beer options include New York-produced beers from breweries such as Greenpoint Harbor, Coney Island, Brooklyn and Fire Island. Their happy hour also features $5 classic margaritas, $7 flavored margaritas and $5 and under Mexican-meets-Southern barbecue bar bites by Executive Chef Jonathan VanSleet.
Sunswick 35-35 is another craft beer favorite in Astoria with a rotating selection of beers from top domestic and international breweries (from $5–$9) pouring out of 25 taps. A weekday happy hour runs from 3–7pm, giving thirsty neighbors an opportunity to try awesome beers at varying discounts. Also, check out their monthly events featuring a range of American brews.
Since their opening in 1996, Cafe Bar has been a neighborhood standard. In addition to a regular Happy Hour from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., the bar boasts a Late Night Happy Hour from 11 p.m.- 1 a.m. There are $4 well drinks, $4 house wine, $1 off bottled beers and beer pitchers for $16 and $20. Brunch is offered daily from 10-5 p.m. for those who love a leisurely meal any day of the week.
Mad Donkey Beer Bar & Grill
Relive your college nights with giant pink Fish Bowls made with three different types of rum, pineapple, cranberry, orange juice, a splash of 7up at Mad Donkey for $25. Daily deals include Monday $1 tacos, Tuesday $2 Miller Lites and 30cent wings with $9 to $12 34oz beers. Thursday is Ladies’ Night, where gals pay $10 to drink beer and well liquor free from 8pm-12am. Friday happy hour starts early at 11am until 7pm. And check out the long list of bar food to choose from to soak up all of the boozy sins.
Hell Gate Social
Marked only by red lights, you may miss this bar if you’re just wandering along. Be on the look out to stop in for happy hour 2-for-1 drinks on weekdays from 7-9 p.m. Try one of their creative cocktails, like a rosemary-infused blueberry-vodka martini. During the warmer months, take advantage of their spacious backyard lined with benches. On Sunday nights they’re known to play indie flicks on a hanging screen for fun for your whole crew.
Sarah Shaker is the founder of the blog Bright Lights, My City.