27-24 Jackson Ave, Long Island City
The Place: A very cool speakeasy cocktail bar in LIC recommended to me by my bartending pals who always know the best places to drink (duh).
The Time: Thursday April 28, 6:30pm. I was seeing a friend in a play at the Secret Theatre in LIC that evening. I had been home alone all day waiting for the UPS delivery of my new bike. The UPS guy finally came at 5:30pm in a delivery window of 9am-7pm (thanks, United Parcel Service!) He appeared like a knight in brown uniform sent from Maspeth delivery center to rescue a damsel in distress from having to order in food a third time. Not that I need a man to rescue me from Korean food and House of Cards. But once he dropped off my package and I was a free agent, I had to get out of the apartment, so I remembered Dutch Kills as a great spot to try in a borough that I am not that familiar with.
The Vibe: Because I don’t know Queens (why is it 27-24 Jackson, why can’t they just pick one number!?) and because it’s a lil hidden, it took a hot sec for me to find it. All I had to do was look up and see the flashing BAR sign, but I’m a New Yorker, I never look up. Once in, I got the feeling of being in an old saloon, but with a cocktail bar edge. The layout of the place is inverse to most bars – you walk through tables first in order to get to the bar in the back, which I dug. After passing many couples and groups of friends, I found myself a stool at the end of the bar, next to another solo lady drinker. We didn’t acknowledge each other, like “hey you’re part of the club,” because she looked like she wouldn’t have appreciated that. I wasn’t crazy about the bar top itself; the front is slanted which made it hard to rest a book or my elbows on, and the flat part is the metal spill drain that is normally reserved for behind the bar, so the bartender in me didn’t want to put anything on it for fear of getting things wet. I eventually got over it. There was a lovely skylight over the bar, which was nice at 6:30pm in April but not sure what purpose it serves at night or in the winter. The bottles on the back bar all had numbers over them (prices) which is fucking brilliant because any time someone asks how much for a Jameson, the bartenders can just be like “look behind me, asshole.”
The Drank: Whiskey Fix, which is just a whiskey sour over crushed ice. It was part of the happy hour menu, consisting of 4 simple cocktails (margarita, daiquiri, Moscow mule and whiskey sour) all at $8, a total bargain compared to their normal $13. I was fine with my cocktail for $8, but at $13 I’d think it was a bit boring. To be fair, the rest of the cocktails looked great and a lot more complex. Maybe if I hadn’t been feeling as cheap, I would’ve splurged on the Tiger Coffee something, a concoction of rums, allspice, cinnamon syrup and cold brew coffee. Because what I actually could’ve used in that moment was a coffee, not a cocktail, but you get what you get and you don’t get upset.
The Bartender: A lady who absolutely seemed like she would’ve said “look behind me, asshole” to someone who asked how much for a Jameson. She was a bit curt and didn’t seem to like looking people in the eye, but hey, I’ve had those days too. Other people around me were asking her for things like “a stirred tequila drink with some herbs or something” and “an old man drink with rum” and she was taking it in stride so kudos.
Was I Hit On? Nah. Though the two dudes eating some jerky next to me looked over at me a few times but that was it. And when they left, a group of girls swooped into their spot and then kept fighting over who was gonna pay for this round. After my other solo lady drinker left, I seemed to be the only person hanging alone, but I didn’t feel out of place at all.
Should You Drink Here Alone? Sure, why not? No reason not to. But next time I go to Dutch Kills, I wanna snag one of those booths in the front, hunker down with some friends and drink the good shit.