Sunday, February 13, 2011
Astor Room Delivers on Intrigue and Great Drinks
This week, all the buzz was about the new Astor Room, the 1920's inspired supper club/bar located on the ground floor of Kaufman Astoria studios. The hype was so alluring that I decided to check it out this weekend with our usual group of friends, Moses, Sonya, Paul, Jess and Adrian and of course Dan! Overall, I was impressed by the historic space and the homage this place paid to classic cocktails.
Although The Astor Room also serves food, we took advantage of just their drinks and therefore I'll solely concentrate on The Beaver Bar (Astor Room's dedicated bar) in this review.
Reminding me of other trendy speakeasies popping up in the tri-state area, including Queens' very own, Dutch Kills, Astor Room's Beaver Bar had a similar vibe. Dark wood paneling, vintage leather stools, dim lighting, nostalgic music (preceding Gen Y and Gen Xers alike) and the signature stuffed beaver are just some of the elements that make this place special.
I liked the clientele that hangs out here - trendy, sophisticated but not pretentious. A benefit of this is that it makes The Astor Room a more mature hangout, excluding the raucous early 20's crowd that usually hangs out at the nearby beer garden.
We were pleasantly surprised by the innovative drinks menu, which honored many often-forgotten classic American cocktails. Each drink was expertly prepared by Astor's on-site mixologists who clearly had a good handle on the art of drink preparation. They made it look easy.
Mary Pickford - Named after a famous 1920's actress and co-founder of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts, this cocktail spoke to me. Sweet and fruity, containing silver rum, pineapple juice, grenadine and maraschino liquor, this drink was a step-up from your simple rum/pineapple. An added special touch was the marinated maraschino cherry, which almost tasted like a preserved sour cherry from a compote.
Queen's Road - My second drink was a lot stronger and more pungent but like the Mary Pickford, it was also rum based. It had floral hints of sweetness from honey syrup, nice acid from the lime and orange juice and a strong aftertaste from the ginger. I liked it when this drink dulled out a bit with the help of large ice cubes floating on top.
Manhattan - Dan got a classic Manhattan but asked to have it with Bulleit bourbon, which is his favorite. I didn't taste it since I can't handle the strong punch of this drink, but Dan said that it was very delicious and one of the best of its kind.
Service and Cost:
We loved the staff here - they were friendly yet low-key and for a new establishment, didn't try too hard. Our bartender in particular was a really cool guy, and by the end of the night, the guys had been exchanging stories and jokes with him.
It was refreshing (pun intended) to see how reasonably the cocktails, wine and beer were priced.
Cocktails - $9 - $10
Wine - $6 - $10
Beer - $5 - $8
3 Classic Mmmms
The Astor Room - 34-12 36th Street, Astoria NY 11106
N/Q Train to Broadway or M/F Train to Steinway Street