END OF THE CENTURY BAR
104-08 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
Anyone who knows me even slightly knows that I love cocktails. I like making them and drinking them and finding good places to get them. For years now, the only place to go for decent cocktails has been Manhattan, the trendier parts of Brooklyn, and recently, Long Island City. But, as New York City with a Capital C is expanding, so expands the market for those willing to drop $14 on a well made negroni. Out into the previously uncool parts they go. And like it or not (since I live here, I'm in the "not" camp), Forest Hills has not been the coolest place to live in New York. Sad but true. When I moved here ten years ago, unless frum women were your kink and lousy diner food was your manna, then you'd spend a lot of your weekend elsewhere. Lately though, the place seems to have taken off with new wine bars and gastropubs and organic coffee.
Once upon a time, I emailed Sasha Petrasky, of Milk and Honey fame, suggesting he venture beyond his deepest outpost, the Long Island city bar Dutch Kills. You can imagine how overjoyed I was when I learned that his friends and cohorts, the talent from Pegu Club, Maison Premiere, and Painkiller decided to open a cocktail/tiki bar down the block from Danny Brown, Queens' first Michelin star, on Metropolitan Avenue.
Sitting down at the long, glossy, wooden bar, the first thing you'll notice is that this is not a Milk & Honey clone. Compared to the other cocktail joints I've been to, it's rather large and it's fairly bright inside. I'm dismayed that there are TVs on the wall. Thankfully, none were on. Even the bartender, one of the pros from Dutch Kills and Painkiller, told me that he wishes that they weren't there. So maybe they'll never be turned on. Here's to hoping. There are plenty of tables, lots of bar seats, and a big heavy pool table in the back. End of the Century Bar is designing itself as a place to go and hang out with friends where you can get a luxo-cocktail instead of a Bud Light. In fact, the bartender was telling me that while they will eventually have a beer menu, once they get it, "none of that crap".
Eventually, food will arrive, maybe even brunch. But that will be in the spring at the earliest. Spring brunch would be good, as there's a huge patio in the rear that, once renovated, will be awesome. When the food does come, "no cheapo bar food", I was told. They want small plates that will complement the drink menu. Speaking of drinks, here's what I ordered. Naturally, you need to try a classic because, if they don't do that well, then you just know that the original drinks are destined to taste like they came from a Skinnygirl bottle. An Old Fashioned. I wasn't disappointed. Dr. Funk, made with dark rum, absinthe, and house made grenadine. Sweet and tart and you could barely taste the absinthe but as an afterthought to add complexity. Lastly, I wanted one bartender's choice before heading to dinner. "Sweet, sour, or refreshing?" I was asked. I chose refreshing and was given a Queens Swizzle. I forgot what was in it, but it was like a tangy, rather than sour, mojito, with a few dashes of bitters too round it out.
In the meantime, I can't tell you how ecstatic I am to be able to walk (a long walk, I admit) to a real cocktail bar. Okay, elephant in the room. Yes, it's on Metropolitan Avenue, which is a bit of a schlep from the subway on Queens Boulevard. But you're a New Yorker, right? You're not some worthless tourist who God gave legs to, but all you use them for is getting from your house door to your car door, right? No? You are? Well there are a hundred green cabs right at the subway entrance, so you'll be back to sitting before you know it.
Cocktails (from the menu) are currently available for the exceedingly reasonable price of $10. Cash only.