By Sarina Trangle
College Point is getting a Latin Quarter of its own — albeit with a Queens flavor.
After working at the midtown nightclub for nearly 20 years, David M. Gonzalez, 44, teamed up with a colleague from the Latin Quarter, John Torres, and a neighborhood friend, Elvin Peña, to open Cask 15 in College Point.
The trio has tapped Aldo Marachlian, a Flushing-College Point resident featured on Walter Latham’s “Comedy After Dark,” to provide entertainment at the tapas bar and lounge.
Cask 15, at 15-11 College Point Blvd., does not have a cabaret license, but Gonzalez says a few patrons have been unable to resist songs spun by DJs on weekend nights.
“I’m supposed to tell them, ‘Don’t do that.’ But it’s College Point,” Gonzalez said. “You call 911 and it’ll take 10 minutes.”
Cask 15 opened its doors in late September, debuting a drink menu heavy on wines, entrées that pull from several Latin American cuisines and hours that skew toward the early morning. The name nods to the establishment’s location just off 15th Avenue and beckons wine drinkers — at least that is what Gonzalez hopes.
Gonzalez said his desire to open a wine bar grew during his years tending bar. Gonzalez’s sommelier classes were not too useful at the Latin Quarter, a ritzy Manhattan establishment opened by Barbara Walters’ dad in the 1940s that has evolved into a venue known for its hip-hop, salsa and reggaeton shows.
But he did not think a wine bar would catch on in College Point, so he included several wines in Cask 15’s menu and planned to infuse a little vivacity into a neighborhood he said boasts several Latin restaurants and traditional bars, but few venues geared toward socializing.
“Before, you could stand out in the middle of the street with a $100 bill and beg for a mojito and not be able to get one,” Gonzalez said. “We wanted you to come in here and forget you’re in College Point. We want to make you feel like you’re in the city.”
The tapas menu caps off at $10, offering an array of appetizers, from Caribbean-style chimi hamburger sliders to almond-stuffed dates wrapped in ham and drizzled with a cheese sauce.
Entrées include a seared sea bass in white wine sauce for $24 and chicken breast stuffed with Manchego cheese and plantain for $18.
The bar splashes tequila in its sangria and serves wines from across the world.
Cask 15 sports wood floors, cream couches, a lengthy bar and exposed brick covered with wine-themed decorations. Gauzy curtains surround more private dining areas in the restaurant’s rear.
After a trial of hosting karaoke went well, Gonzalez said he plans to regularly invite patrons up to sing, but is working out the details of acquiring related equipment. Marachlian is organizing a weekly comedy event at Cask 15.
But DJs have been a mainstay since the lounge’s inception. Gonzalez said rotating jockeys cater to the crowd and take requests while working weekend shifts.
Cask 15 is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to midnight, Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Brunch is served between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 718-661-2275.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at [email protected].