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Astoria, Queens Bar Crawl

One of the cool things about doing this blog is meeting people I wouldn’t have met if I wasn’t doing this. A good example of this is my friend, Ray. Ray first appeared on this blog via a comment when he saw me walking in midtown to my parents hotel. You can read it here, it’s the 20th comment on the page. Later we all met Ray at a Happy Hour at Bar Nine. Well, today Ray has invited us all on a bar crawl where he lives in Astoria, Queens. This won’t be the first time we’ve tripped out to Queens, we’ve gone to the Bohemian Beer Gardens with Gene from the BBC and Gene did a guest post from Astoria that same week, but it is the first time that someone who lives in Queens is hosting the bar crawl. So it’s off to Queens we go!

Here's a familiar sight on TWM, the subway station at Union Square. We'll be taking the N train to Broadway in Astoria.

And through the magic of the internet, baboom, here we are on Broadway in Astoria, Queens.

Okay, we're going to meet Ray at McLoughlin's a bar that's located right around the corner from this subway stop.

"School Supplies and Cigars," who could ask for anything more?

Check out the Marty flyer!

And here we are, McLoughlin's, the first stop of our bar crawl today.

It looks nice in here and I think I see a familiar face...

It's our host, Ray, who's a little camera shy. I didn't push the issue, I didn't want our host going all Alec Baldwin on my ass.

Jimmy the bartender hoists an ice-cold Budweiser my way. Jimmy told me McLoughlin's has been a family owned bar in Astoria since 1965.

Wooden tables line the wall opposite the bar.

There's a pool table in the back room.

A long shot of the bar that's been in use since 1965.

And check out the poster on the bar, Marty G. & The "G" Men are playing here at McLoughlin's! Also note the unplanned obligatory bar mirror shot. It's Marty mania!

Okay, out the door and onto the next spot.

Astoria is a great neighborhood, I just wish it wasn't so bright outside.

Ray's next stop is a bar that Gene from the BBC likes, the Sunswick bar. Gene sent in a picture from his Astoria bar crawl and now we get to see the inside of it.

It's really crowded in here for this early in the afternoon, but I spy a couple seats at the end of the bar, so Ray and I snagged them.

Here's the view from our perch at the bar.

As you can see, it's pretty much a full house in here, this is a popular spot.

There's a comfortable couch to pass out relax on in the front of the bar.

As you can see, they have a lot of beers on tap. I had a Pilsner Urquell.

And before you know it, it's time to head out and keep this show on the road.

On the road again!

Surprise, our next stop on Ray's tour is a bar, but not just any bar...

It's Veronica's Bar, another one of Gene and the BBC's favorite Queens stops. Let's go in and check it out.

Wow, it's crowded in here too, they go out early in Queens!

There's no seats at the bar, so Ray and I grabbed a couple of chairs here, directly across from the bar.

Bartender Bridget brought our beers over to us. She's really nice and what a beautiful smile!

Shortly after Bridget delivered our beers a couple seats opened up at the bar and here's the view from where we were seated.

I'm not quite sure what this means, but it does give me an excuse to to do this: Fire!

Bridget's behind the bar, taking care of business.

And once again, we're out the door on to our final destination.

Ray told me this was going to be a hike and it sure was. Finally the sun has set on Queens as we approach our final destination of this bar crawl in Astoria.

Ray chose this place, The Sparrow for drinks and some dinner. This place has become famous in Queens since that goofy-ass Guy Fieri featured it on his show, Diners, Dives and a Dipshit on the Food Network.

Nice and dark in here and there's a couple seats at the bar.

Tommy the bartender does double duty by serving up a beer and flashing the TWM card all at the same time.

The tables are all filled in here, looks like that Food Network spot paid off!

iPhone Zombie alert, part one!

iPhone Zombie alert, parts two and three! I wish people would put those fucking things away.

When I return to the bar, dinner awaits me. I got the grilled cheese, which is made with truffle oil and has mushrooms in it and it comes with a side salad. One of the best grilled cheeses I've ever had.

I also got an order of Tater Tots.

Ray got the pork tacos and I have to say, that lone Tater Tot on his plate is making me a little sad.

After a beer for dessert, it was time to call it a night.

As you can see, it's finally nighttime in Queens.

We've come full circle, back to the subway station.

A shot of Queens from the elevated subway platform.

And here's the train that'll take me back to Manhattan.

And of course I have to take an obligatory shot of Gumby and me in the subway window. Thanks to Ray for a wonderful tour. We'll do it again soon and maybe then he'll let me take his photo!

3106 Broadway
Astoria, Queens

Sunswick 35/35
3502 35th St
Astoria, Queens

Veronica’s Bar
34-04 36th Ave
Astoria, Queens

The Sparrow Tavern
24-01 29th St
Astoria, Queens

Further Reading: Wikipedia, New York Magazine and New York Times.

Queens of noise,
Not just one of your toys.

Surprise link, click on it...I dare you!

Bonus Linkage!
My friends Karen and Jon have put out a fabulous new edition over at their online magazine, Grade “A” Fancy. The subject matter is “Zombie Restaurants” and you can check it out by clicking right here: “I Eat Your Restaurant’s Brain!” Check it out, you’ll be glad you did!


And More Bonus Linkage!

DJ Gidget, the most fabulous DJ in the world had a super-cool new photoblog and you can check it out here: Gidget Bates's Crap She Shoots. And don't forget to listen to her and "Boris's" "Secret Weapon" show exclusively on Woody Radio. Okay, as you were.

References (2)

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Reader Comments (32)

wow, four bars in one massive post! love it! the iphone zombie shots cracked me up, i take it you don't have a smart phone! lol! classic shot of you and gumby on the subway! next time ray has to show his face!

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D.

A huge Monday Post jam packed full of stuff. My demented brain fixates on wondering why you blurred out the top of the outdoor Marty flyer. It's possible I have issues.

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercsp

I've never had anything with truffles in it, not even truffle oil. Love to try it once before i die.

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaws the Cabbie

Virtual bar-hopping from the comfort of my desk -- just like the long distance phone commercial said when we were kids; "It's the next best thing to being there" ;)

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterwendyvee

@Bobby D: I have a dumb phone! And maybe next time Ray will be revealed, stay tuned!

@csp: I blurred it out because I didn't want to tip off that they were playing at McLoughlin's. I know I have issues!

@Jaws: Truffles and truffle oil are great! Truffles have tridges!

@wendyvee: I just hope you're boss doesn't smell the virtual booze! Cheers!

August 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Four great bars, but McLoughlin's looked like someplace I could really like a lot. I prefer the quieter bars anyway. Also a daytime bar crawl seems strange to me as those windows let in that sunlight and ruin the atmosphere big time. Bridget was very attractive over at Veronica's and that Guy Fieri episode about Sparrows I saw it and the place looks a lot better at night, Oh you hate the brightness too?

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAl

aaaaahhhhh.... a good night indeed ! a lot of good places to go ... so many choices ? ... what does one do ? That was a long hike from Veronica's to Sparrow ! ....

McCaffrey & Burke in Astoria is a good spot also ... along with McGuinness Pub in Sunnyside ... or Brooks 1890 and Shannon Pot in Hunters Point ... Queens - the "regular" joe's drinking town ....

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@Al: They were four great bars, but too would probably pick McLoughlin's as the best one. Lot of history in there and a great neighborhood saloon. It's an "Al" bar for sure! And yes, I'm allergic to brightness!

@GENE: As I've seen from you, there's lots of good choices in this area! Maybe the next time the BBC rolls into town, we'll do another tour with Ray!

August 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

This was a kick ass post to wake up to this morning, Marty.

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterClacky

Always fun seeing you get out & about beyond Manhattan. Astoria has really great food - if you go again check out the Venuzuelan arepas on 36th Ave. I have family there, so go quite often. That Broadway sign is very cool.

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteronemorefoldedsunset

@Clacky: Glad you enjoyed it, good to hear from you, mate!

@onemorefoldedsunset: It was a fun day/night and I thank Ray for hosting the tour and picking the spots out! I'll check out the arepas on the next trip, thanks for the tip!

August 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Once again a fun time to be had by all :)
I am so offended by phones in a restaurant i cringe when i see pics of them..
though i do admit to using the camera on my phone left and right..
i like to take pics of my food and post them on the internet... HA!
im a freak..
texting talking or playing words with friends does not happen with me there.
im been known to smack phones out of hands.
Ray seems like a friendly dude.. hope we see more of him.
awesome bars.. I love queens..
ive been wanting to go to any place guy feiro tells me too.. sorry the guys is cute with his little white parrot hair..
not as cute as anthony bourdain though.. do not get me started..
yummy hot men who can cook.. ahhhhhhh
i think i might need to try that truffle grilled cheese. that sounds yummy..
seriously though.. i am a sucker for an old school grilled cheese.
a perfect food...

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGidget

Some good trippin' in Queens, Daddio.
Thanks to the elusive Ray for setting up the crawl!

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter"Boris"

@Gidget: I'm in total agreement about the phones! I don't know why people leave their houses or apartments if they're just going to sit there and stare at their smart phones. And yes, grilled cheese rules!

@"Boris:" It was a great day out and Ray picked some wonderful spots! We'll do it again, soon!

August 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Hey, Marty, thanks for the Grade "A" plug! You the man. Super fun hanging out with you at happy hour last Sunday, too. Have to do that more often.

Astoria has some great bars. Have you been to McCaffrey & Burke? 31st St. near 30th Ave. Packed with characters, you'd love it.

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNed Sparks

Ned is 110% right about McCaffrey & Burke ... cool "dive" bar ... and the last few times I was there ... people were shooting blow darts at the regular dart board -- it was fun watching them !

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGENE

@Ned Sparks: Happy to give you a shout out, I really enjoyed your latest work! I haven't been to McCaffrey & Burke, but will try to check it out soon! Great seeing you last Sunday too, always a fun time at the Blarney Cove, thanks for stopping by!

@GENE: I will definitely be checking out McCaffrey & Burke soon, sounds like a great place and I know it's good if its got the BBC stamp of approval!

August 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Great post to get me out of a major funk.

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Hunt

@Mike Hunt: I'm glad the post snapped you out of your funk, it makes my day, actually!

August 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

I really wish I would've made it out to Astoria last time I was in town. There's just never enough time. It looks like you had fun and I'm glad you got to hang out with Ray. I do despise that Guy guy with the hair and the backwards glasses and whatnot, but I guess the national exposure is good for business...and you can't argue with anything that's good for business these days. Congratulations on a day well drunk, Marty!

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBiff

@Biff: "Congratulations on a day well drunk, Marty!" Ha ha ha! Good one, you still gots it, Bifferoonie! We'll hit Astoria on your next trip.

August 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

OK, back from the Far North. Let's see here.....

New notebook check
New pens check
New binder check
Cuban cigar check

Ok, ready to comment NOW.
EXCELLENT post, but I just can't stop LMAO about that corner store sign = CLASSIC!

Also intoduced your blog to a couple of fairly isolated native indians north of James Bay (who get a better net feed by satellite than I do back in Kingston.......sheesh!). They definitely kinda dug it, but city stuff in general just don't make NO sense to them.
But, HEY, they DEFINITELY dug Gumby.....so that's something.
Keep on chooglin'!

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrBOP

@DrBOP: I love that sign too! And nice to hear that Gumby is loved world-wide!

August 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Great 4 in 1 Post , & that Grilled Cheese Looks Super !!!
Queens has changed allot ! I Lived in Woodside & then Elmhurst .

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJHwang

@JHwang: Thanks, glad you liked it. The grilled cheese was one of the best I've ever had, I didn't know you lived in Queens. Cheers!

August 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Thanks for documenting your trip out to Flavor-town (apologies to Mr. Fieri of course). I am pretty much a Manhattan shut-in these days but your posts offer a nice peek at the city's bar culture and social scene. So thanks for going out all the time, so I don't have to.

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlegitimate beef

@legitimate beef: I'm more than happy to be your travel correspondent!

August 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

Oh man! What a GREAT time! Holler @ Ray!

August 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeleah rebeccah

@meleah: A great night and Ray's a wonderful host!

August 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

My new book " How to pick up women in the East Village " will be available early October. Look for it at your local book seller.

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterUncle Waltie

You're spending way too much time outside my zip code. Hang with me one of these mornings...drinks are on me. You forgot how nice I-Bar is at 8:01 AM.
PS: My new book "How to pick up women in the East Village" will be available early October. Look for it at your local book seller. (If you're a young and flexible woman, I might be able to secure you a reviewers copy)
PPS: They rejected my ad at New York Magazine.

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterUncle Waltie

@Uncle Waltie: Can't wait for the new book! Sadly I'm not a young and flexible woman, so i guess I have to buy a copy. Sip Ahoy!

August 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterTripping With Marty

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