Long Island City will at last get its own atavistic cocktail lounge when Dutch Kills opens sometime in the next few weeks. Proprietors Richard Boccato and Sasha Petraske (both of Milk & Honey fame) promise an 1890's style saloon serving classic cocktails ($8-$10) using hand-cut ice, along with a selection of spirits, liqueurs, cordials, wine, and beer on tap (as well as by the bottle). There will also be live jazz and ragtime on select nights, and a small pub menu provided by Sage General Store, a local organic kitchen. Boccato's description of the place also comes with a little history refresher:
The name of the bar is the same as the ancestral name of the neighborhood where it is located (Dutch Kills), which was one of several small enclaves that unified in 1870 to become Long Island City. The word "kills" means "creek" in Dutch, whose settlers arrived in the area in 1643. Originally named "Canapaukah" (loosely translated as "bear's watering hole") by the Canarsee indians who were the first occupants of the land in and around what is now Long Island City, the "creek" in question is the Newtown Creek, which runs behind the bar dividing Long Island City from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Dutch Kills was an important road hub during the Revolutionary War, and the site of a British Army garrison from 1776 to 1783.
Boccato assures us he has all the permits in place (including the crucial Certificate of Occupancy) and anticipates a late February grand opening; though considering the bumpy road he's traveled, let's not set that in stone. But when it does open, he promises "there will be no reservation policy nor will our patrons be required to adhere to a formal dress code, and an overall atmosphere of civil and convivial conduct will prevail at all times." Because late 19th century New York saloons were renowned for their civilized ambiance!
Dutch Kills // 27-24 Jackson Avenue (at the corner of Dutch Kills Street), Long Island City, Queens // (718) 383-2724