Thursday, June 02, 2005

Sunswick: Best Kept Secret in Astoria

Originally uploaded by jggrossm.
Broadway Station wishes it was Sunswick.

Sunswick is located on out-of-the-way, 35th Avenue & 35th Street. Conveniently for me, right around the corner from ARROW's community garden. It has a pretty cherry veneer with lots of windows that open out. The reason Sunswick remains such a well kept secret however, probably lies in the unfortunate beer ad banners and year-round Christmas lights outside.

Inside, 24 glistening taps, a light-up Guinness sign, and some video games make the place inviting. But the cheesy pizza-place red tile is kind of a let down. The place is never crowded. There are nice tall tables by the windows and 8 TVs with sports that no one watches. *Everybody* sits at the bar. If you don’t, you’ll feel out of the loop. If people at the bar don’t all know each other already, they will. This is the only bar I’ve ever been to where you can really talk with strangers very comfortably. Everybody knows that bartenders by name, and if you go, you will too. One of them (who’s favorite beer is also Blue Point Oatmeal Stout) told me she thinks the bar is like Cheers – and it really kind of is if you add about 15 years to the clientele’s mean age. Everyone there has scuttlebutt on the neighborhood, and its fun to swap rumors about the old Tupelo space and the new Starbucks.

Once when we were there, they hired a new bartender. Apparently he's a Marine. The staff literally shrieked with joy. It was pretty cute.

On Wednesdays from 9pm there is an excellent DJ and $2 drafts. Did I mention there are 24 taps?

They have an excellent selection of beer including three Blue Points and Smithwick’s. The food is cheap, tasty pub fare. They make their own corn chips, salsa and guacamole which are the best I've had in the neighborhood. The bean burrito and the tuna melt go well with a ball game and the portobello burger was perfect.

Sunswick is truly the best kept secret in the neighborhood. It has 24 taps. Hello.