Queens Bar Hits All the Right Notes, Then Misses on the Music


As I approached Locale from across the street, I patted myself on the back for finding this stylish new bar and café in Astoria, Queens, personally unfamiliar territory. Enormous picture windows reveal couples cozying up at candlelit tables, enjoying their drinks in a space painted with a sophisticated palette of neutral colors. I grabbed a table and smugly ordered a drink and some bites when it occurred to me that not all was well at Locale. It wasn’t the Espresso Martini ($10), with its dash of coffee grounds playfully floating on top, or the glass of Italian cabernet sauvignon ($6)—both of which were divine—that was amiss. And it wasn’t the grilled chicken sandwich with Asiago cheese and shoestring potatoes ($9), since that too was exceptional. The problem was the music—a compilation possibly ordered by the bartender from a late-night infomercial. Try as I might, I couldn’t get past the unfortunate KTU-meets-Jock Jams soundtrack and enjoy my discovery. The only way I can see spending another evening there, lounging on the red cushioned benches in the mezzanine level, sipping a well-mixed Mirage ($8) with Kahlúa and Amarula cream, is on the condition that I remember to bring earplugs.