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Austin’s Ale House moves the party outside

By Kelsey Durham

After several years of planning and renovations, Austin’s Ale House in Kew Gardens officially unveiled its new outdoor patio area last week for the first time since the lengthy redesign was completely finished.

Though the patio at the local hangout, at 82-70 Austin St., has been open for use since August 2013, the area was still under construction as owners Mark Boccia, John Ryan and Tony Truzzalino oversaw the remainder of the work needed to bring the space to what they had envisioned.

On May 29, the 23-year-old bar hosted a grand opening to celebrate the completion of the outdoor project that took nearly eight years to complete, according to Boccia.

“Everyone loves to sit outside,” he said. “There’s nowhere in Kew Gardens where you can sit outside and dine and have a cocktail. It’s a good thing for the neighborhood.”

Boccia said the planning began around seven or eight years ago when he and his business partners decided to expand the smaller outdoor space the ale house originally had. He said the bar had lines of people waiting to sit outside, and the three owners decided to come up with a plan to expand the patio to accommodate the growing customer base.

The trio began by drawing up ideas for what they wanted the patio to look like, and Boccia said some features came to him immediately and he knew they would need to be included no matter what. Two of those, he said, were the large amount of stone work included in the walls and floor and the waterfall at one end of the lounge area.

The newly designed space also involved a deal with the Long Island Rail Road, which has a station right next to the bar. It allowed Austin’s Ale House to take over the landscaping of the green area that separates the two properties, which Boccia and his partners beautified with several plants to add a more natural feel to the outdoor patio.

Boccia said the updated patio reflects the change he has seen Kew Gardens go through in the 23 years he has owned the bar.

“After all these years, you want to change and keep up with the neighborhood,” he said. “When we opened back in 1991, Kew Gardens wasn’t as nice as it is now. The neighborhood is becoming fresher and younger and it’s becoming a hot spot for central Queens.”

Boccia said the vamped patio adds about 75 seats to the crowded bar and also added several jobs in the form of servers to maintain those seats while the patio is open.

The outdoor space also features a lounge area with couches and chairs as well as a peninsula bar that seats about 15 people, and Boccia said the reception since the space has finally been completed has been outstanding.

“Everyone who sits out here says they love it and the neighborhood needed this,” he said. “It’s a chance to get away without having to get out of Kew Gardens.”

Boccia said his favorite part about the redesigned space is simply being able to offer the neighborhood an outdoor dining and bar area in a neighborhood where high-rise buildings are common and backyard greenspaces are rare.

Now that the space has been completed, he said he and his business partners are looking forward to starting a remodeling project for the front of the bar on the inside.

“I’m happy, but I need a new project,” he said.

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at kdurham@cnglocal.com.

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