Last week we were on holiday in New York, leading to a variety of cocktail adventures as you can imagine! Today thought I would like to tell you about one adventure, when we went on the M train from Manhattan over to Long Island City.
I had read about a chilled-out speakeasy called Dutch Kills, promising a ‘There Will Be Blood’ atmosphere and a great range of traditional cocktails. Intrigued, we jumped off the train at Queens Plaza on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. This was our first trip into Queens, and we didn’t really know what to expect. We walked along Jackson Avenue from the station, our initial excitement dimming as once the station activity dwindled we seemed to find ourselves completely alone on what looked like an abandoned stretch of road. Undeterred we strolled through the city heat until we reached the corner of Jackson Avenue and Dutch Kills Street, where we had been told we would find the bar.
However, when we saw the corner from across the street there was no evidence of any bar, or anything at all. Dutch Kills Street seemed to be a construction site, and along Jackson, aside from some old neons, there was no sign of an activity as all. Somewhat disheartened, and feeling a bit guilty that my poor research had resulted in a wasted trip, we discussed heading back. Reluctant to give up we thought we would walk back on the other side of the street, perhaps to at least find the address and assure ourselves of where this elusive bar may once have been. So, we explored back from the corner, looking for 27-24 Jackson Avenue. We counted along from 27-20, reached the building with a disappointed “well, it should be here”, in front of an industrial looking building front, but as we stepped closer, we saw a glowing metal plate of salvation:
At this point we realised that the heavy looking security doors were actually fractionally ajar. Well, we had come this far, and weren’t giving up now! We cautiously pulled the door and it opened. After the brightness of outside, the entryway was pitch back, but still we stepped into the gloom. As our eyes adjusted we found ourselves in an unmarked corridor. We walked along and the corridor turned to a room full of wooden booths. Past this, the light increased, and finally we stepped into the bar – Dutch Kills, we had arrived!
We took a seat, and much like every first time visitor I imagine, greeted the bartender with “we nearly didn’t find you!”, they were unmoved, but friendly.
Just as promised, the bar was a fantastic find. There was a great range of unusual spirits, beautiful glassware and accessories, an antique cash register, as well as well dressed staff who knew their stuff. We had made it in time for Happy Hour, so tried a couple of rum classics (Daiquiri No. 1 and Rum Fix) – they were perfect, strong, well-balanced, well presented, and the metal straw in mine was a fun touch.
The menu gave great explanations of the different drinks and some of the background, and post Happy Hour I was tempted to try the Fog Cutter, my choice made, in part, by the promise of their house-made Orgeat (an almond syrup found in many rum based cocktails).
- Puerto Rican Rum
- Pedro Ximenez Sherry
- House-made Orgeat
- Lemon and Orange Juice
Looking back, we should have stayed longer, tried some food and made a run at their whole cocktail menu, but we made our discovery at the end of the holiday and we had places to be. If you’re in the area, I would very much recommend a visit – and now you know where it is you can stroll right up to the door like a regular and impress your friends!
As always, enjoy (responsibly)