By Nahirovy Figuerova
If you think you have to travel to Manhattan or Brooklyn to catch some live tunes, you’re wrong. Queens has plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants that showcase everything from jazz bands to local bluegrass music to Moldovan folk songs.
Here, we’re featuring just a couple of spots in Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside where you can listen to live music while you eat, drink and catch up with friends. Don’t be afraid to explore outside of this list, too; there are tons of places where you can find chill music to accompany your brunch or a local band to introduce you to unique songs.
The Astor Room
With an exterior resembling the Parthenon and an interior resembling an antique subway, The Astor Room (34-12 36th St.) is sure to provide the perfect ambience for a memorable night out. The musical performances add the perfect touch to the spacious place — not to mention the creative selection of cocktails served at the bar. And the party isn’t just limited to the weekends; you can enjoy from the live music every day of the week. From jazz to folk to swanky alternative rock, you’re guaranteed to feel like you’re part of the culture.
If you’re a fan of the cozy brick and wood scene, this is the place for you. The Bonnie (29-12 23rd Ave.) features music that will transport you back to the music fests you attended over the summer. There’s live music on Thursdays starting at 8 p.m. Next up is All Types of Kinds, described as “local grown infections indie rock with a hint of hip-hop,” on Oct. 12, and Ol’ Time Glory, described as “classic booze-swillin’ country and rockabilly,” on Oct. 19. Enjoy their pretty (and tasty) cocktails with food that is served until 1 a.m.
Joe’s Garage Bar
The owner of Joe’s Garage Bar (45-01 23rd Ave.) collects hot rods and owns a car shop on 23rd Avenue, so he when he opened up his bar, he gave it a car theme. There’s an open mic every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. where you can listen to local bands. Over the weekend, there’s usually some live classic rock, rock ‘n’ roll, blues rock or alternative music, according to general manager Rebecca Freehill.
The Letlove Inn
If you love a vintage feel, The Letlove Inn (27-20 23rd Ave.) is the perfect place to spend an evening. With cocktail names that transport you back to Colonial times like “The Juliette” and “Mutiny,” their musical acts only add to the royal environment, featuring engraved white polished ceilings and their Victorian-era feathered ceiling lamps. There’s the Adam Platt Trio on Monday nights at 8 p.m.; Subtonic Three on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m.; and DJs every Friday and Saturday night, according to their website.
The Strand Smokehouse
A place of pure American spirits, The Strand Smokehouse (25-27 Broadway) is known for its loud and rambunctious setting, especially on the weekends. On Sundays, there’s live bluegrass music by Astoria band The 2nd Avenue Mountain Boys from 2 to 5 p.m. But you can go down there just about any day and be served a large plate of smoked ribs and cornbread with a jar of moonshine on the side.
Dominie’s (34-07 30th Ave.) is an iconic Astoria spot, with its bright blue exterior and dark pink-peach walls. There’s live music every Sunday night from 9 p.m. to midnight, featuring Trample Man and other weekly guests, according to the bar’s website. And you won’t go hungry; there’s a fine selection of pizzas in addition to beer and cocktails.
Boon by Moldova
Boon (43-45 40th St., Sunnyside) is a classical European dream. From the delicate dishes to the culturally infused live music, you’ll begin to believe you’re in Moldova. Bite into a Romanian-style doughnut with apricot jam while being serenaded by authentic folk music. Check Boon’s website for more info on when you can find folk music, but weekend nights are a good bet.
The Shillelagh Tavern
Jam out in The Shillelagh Tavern (47-22 30th Ave.), a great spot for local bands, where everything is done to make sure the audience gets a sweet listen of the live performances. From light-hearted rock to heavy metal, the energy in the performances is always high. This tavern is for sure the spot to kick back and rock out. “Nearly every day of the week you’ll be able to hear local talented artists cranking out covers and original tunes,” according to the tavern’s website.
The Dog and Duck
Located within the heart of Sunnyside, The Dog and Duck (45-20 Skillman Ave.) is a chill bar that offers food and good music. Here, you’ll find soothing acoustic music by talented musicians with great voices. The back section is the coziest, where the walls are lined with rustic couch booths, big enough for you and a couple of pals to dine while you take in the tunes.