27-24 Jackson Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101
(718) 383-2724

"Pretend," said a friend of mine one recent evening "that you could date any celebrity you wanted." Who would it be, he wanted to know. I rolled my eyes. Dating seems to be a constant source of both conversation and consternation and reducing it to this sort of juvenile preposterocity has been the story of my recent life. Still, it was an easy answer. Nellie McKay. Because, I bet, she's the type of girl who'd think it'd be fun to grab a drink at Dutch Kills (... but who knows... maybe she's a total pain in the ass). And that, dear readers, is one of the many, many preconceived prerequisites in rolling through yours truly's simple noggin. Is someone willing to get drinks at Dutch Kills? 

But what, and where, is Dutch Kills?

Dutch Kills is the latest cocktail-lounge-in-an-abandoned-building by Petraske & Co. and this time, it's in Queens. It used to be that if you wanted a speakeasy, you had the choice of Manhattan or Brooklyn (or your grandfather's Alabama bathtub). Queens, meanwhile, has always been the least cool of the three big boroughs. The most family-ish, the least artsy, the most suburban. But Long Island City is doing its damnedest to change that rep. If your success in cool-potential can be rated by quasi-hidden, quasi-underground cocktail joints, then LIC is finally in. Finally, Queenslanders can get a decent drink without having to transfer off the E train. I met Bro (clearly, not a date) down the block by a grungy Chinese restaurant that looked like it had it's fair share of armed robberies, and we headed towards the small unlit neon "BAR" sign mounted modestly on the wall of a building that also bears the yellow tin sign of an engineering company.

Walking into Dutch Kills is like walking into a wood-lined tunnel. There are only about eight tables, so get one while you can. The bar's deeper inside and while it can be fun to watch the bartender do his thing, for private conversation, a dimly lit table is the way to go. The drink menu consists of five or six specialty drinks, otherwise, you should arrive with an idea of what you want already in your head. You can always seek advice in placing your order. I didn't ask, but if Dutch Kills is anything like the other Petraske bars, there won't be any vodka options.

Round one consisted of a Rumrunner (Grand Marnier, curacao, orgeat, grenadine, and lime juice)) for Bro and a Fancy Free (rye whiskey, maraschino liqueur, orange bitters and angostura bitters) for me. The rumrunner, pictured below with the mini-parasol, was a sweet (but not too sweet) and sour (but not too sour) citrus drink. Very good. The Fancy Free sat on the other side of the spectrum. It was also citrusy, but was quite the bitter drink. I happen to like bitter drinks for some reason, and I'm willing to bet that they're gaining in popularity as NYC's cocktail culture has shifted away from syrupy store-bought mixer-style drinks.

For round two, I ordered a classic Jack Rose, applejack, lime juice and grenadine. I made one for myself at home the other day and I won't lie, this one was better. Bro's imbibement came in the form of the Stanley Cocktail, a sweet mix of rum, gin, grenadine and lemon juice. Bro felt that Dutch Kills went overboard on the ice in the Rumrunner and was pleased that this had none. I can't say I noticed either way, but the nice thing about an ice drink is that you get to nurse it for longer.

When Bro and I left Dutch Kills, we walked onto a deserted street and moseyed on over to the waterfront for dinner. LIC, and caught in its wake, the rest of Queens, seems to be moving up in the world.

Cocktails cost $10 per and there is a beer, wine and champagne selection. Dutch Kills is cash only.

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