Flushing’s first beer hall, Hoi Polloi, opened on Thursday, Dec. 1, and is welcoming guests to taste and celebrate the flourishing craft beer scene in New York City and the Empire State.
Taking the ancient Greek term for “the common people” as its moniker, Hoi Polloi is designed to be a gathering place for local residents and visitors alike. Located on the second floor of Tangram, Hoi Polloi features beer from some not-so-common sources as well as bites and signature cocktails with international influences.
Todd Leong, owner of Hoi Polloi, opened the first American-style cocktail bar in Flushing, Leaf Bar and Lounge, on the rooftop of the Hyatt Place Hotel seven years ago. At the time, Flushing only had an old dive bar and a bunch of KTVs, Leong said.
“It was a struggle at first, but we’ve been fortunate to have been embraced by the community,” Leong said. “I am especially proud that we now have what I think is the most ethnically diverse bar in New York City. I’ve never seen such a mixed crowd all together in one place except perhaps on the subway.”
Nineteen of the 24-tap bars will be devoted to beer. Fourteen of the taps will feature New York State beers from breweries large and small. Brews from well-established breweries such as Ommegang’s Hennepin Farmhouse Saison, Brooklyn Brewery’s Bel Air Sour and Southern Tier’s 2XMas will be poured alongside specialty beers such as Wavetable from award-winning Grimm Artisanal Ales, MC2 from Equilibrium Brewery, Ball Lightning Pilsner from Catskill Brewery and the Kölsch No.2 from hoi polloi’s neighbor, EBBS Brewing Co.
International beers such as German brewer Ayinger’s Celebrator Doppelbock and Delirium Tremens Belgian Ale will also be in the mix for a trip around the world without leaving the barstool. Guests can keep track of the rotating social beer menu on the Untappd app.
House mixologist, Tong Chen, will serve a signature michelada called the Polloi Chelada, mixing Chinese chili garlic sauce and Maggi with The Crisp pilsner from Sixpoint Brewery. Taking full advantage of the tap system, Chen will also be serving sparkling cocktails on tap using ingredients like yuzu, Sichuan peppercorn oil and Midori.
The food menu was inspired by grilled meats you might find on the streets of Queens. Chef Doron Wong and his team have utilized the robata grill to craft a collection of skewers with flavors from Korea, Jamaica, Germany, Japan and Mexico to contrast with the Chinese and broadly Asian flavors visitors will find in other parts of Tangram.
While trying the wide variety of beers, guests will be able to nibble on bratwurst and kasekrainer from Schaller & Weber as well as Korean-style marinated skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, a jerk chicken skewer with dragon sauce, and a pork al pastor wrapped in a tortilla. Small plates range from $8 – $21 and a pint pour starts at $8.
During the day, sunlight will stream through the color-shifting dichroic film installation on the double-height windows. At night, Hoi Polloi comes alive as a vibrant color-changing lightscape complete with curated music from DJ Samu and his collective.
Like the food, the sounds will reflect the musical tastes of the people of Queens: Hip-Hop, Latin, Afro, House, Dance, Pop and RnB. Friday and Saturday nights will feature DJ’s spinning from a second-floor booth overlooking a dance floor decorated with a hundred balls of light.
Leong said that over time he saw the need for a place like Hoi Polloi where a diverse crowd of people can come together to mix and mingle on the weekends and to celebrate life’s achievements.
“Our partners are all American-born Chinese, but we built this place for the hoi polloi of Queens. We will have Asian kids – 21 and over only please – grooving to Bad Bunny songs they don’t understand next to LatinX kids moving their hips to the sounds of BLKPNK next to African American and white kids engaged in debate about which New York craft beer is the best,” Leong said.
There are three private spaces, a 16-foot-wide LED video wall, a foosball table, a robust sound system and a terrace overlooking one of Flushing’s main thoroughfares, College Point Boulevard, where guests can enjoy sunsets over the distant Manhattan skyline. All this activity will be taking place against the backdrop of the sleekly designed split-level space with private party spaces on the second-floor mezzanine overlooking the main floor.
Throughout the week, Hoi Polloi will also offer a space and a big screen for guests to enjoy their favorite sports teams. During the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament, Hoi Polloi will open early for guests to watch the 2 p.m. games being broadcast from Qatar. Check the website, www.hoipolloinyc.com, for the schedule.
Hoi Polloi at Tangram uses an array of networked LED lights to transform the high-contrast black and white surfaces with colored light. Project designer Karen Lim and graphic designer Camille Lee of 10 Square Miles used a vibrant mix of colors to represent the diversity of Queens combined with a circular motif inspired by the three O’s in hoi polloi to symbolize unity.
“Like so many Asian kids, I grew up visiting Flushing on weekends with my family in the 80s. When I returned two years ago to work on this project, I was impressed by how dynamic this town has become,” Lim said. “Camille and I wanted to create a modern space that would capture that dynamism and challenge people’s preconceptions of what a beer hall should look like.”
Hoi Polloi is the newest culinary addition to Tangram’s robust cultural and culinary experiences, which include international eateries such as, Beijing-based Peking duck restaurant Ju Qi, Xi’an Famous Foods, Xiao Long Kan Hot Pot, beverages from Cuppa Tea, machi machi and many more delicious dining options. In addition to the outstanding food and drinks, Tangram is designed as a premier Queens destination for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy a day or a weekend of entertainment at its four-star, 208-key Marriott Renaissance hotel, a state-of-the-art 4DX movie theater from Regal Cinemas, an Orangetheory Fitness, Miniso, a premier learn-to-swim facility Goldfish Swim School, Funzy Play and much more.
“Tangram has become an all-encompassing destination for Flushing, with something for all age ranges,” said Helen Lee, executive vice president of F&T Group. “Reminiscent of Asia’s dynamic night markets but with a futuristic interpretation, the introduction of hoi polloi will add a nightlife component to Tangram that will continue to transform Flushing into a must-experience destination.”
To learn more about what’s in store at Tangram and Hoi Polloi, visit www.tangramnyc.com.