Though Queens and Brooklyn carry their own unique identities, Jay Zimmerman and Derrek Vernon both noticed a few similarities as they worked on opening their second cocktail endeavor, Sekend Sun (32-11 Broadway, Queens; 917-832-6414), on a busy but underserved stretch of concrete. Both veterans of the NYC cocktail scene, their first haunt, Basik, brought attention to the local nightlife scene on Williamsburg’s Graham Avenue. Now their mix of well-executed cocktails, progressive cuisine, and neighborly ambiance has made its way to Broadway in Queens.
The name is a metaphor: Both owners are second sons, with the opportunity to set out and create a unique experience in whatever location they choose.
Zimmerman created the drink menu for their Queens debut; his list offers a mix of crafted concoctions including the “Me and Her,” a drink that encompasses the nearby New York Distilling Company’s New Rock and Rye. There’s also a drink that features cachaca, a nod to the tastes of Astoria’s diverse population.
“When I moved out to Brooklyn 10 years ago, it would bug me to have to travel so far to get something like this,” Zimmerman says. “We try to be all things to all people.”
The food menu is a collection of refined and eclectic bar bites from executive chef Gary Tackett, an alum of Locanda Verde. Starters include house-made warm pretzels made with a homemade beer cheese sauce and mustard, tater tots, and buffalo fried oysters with corn pudding. Shrimp and grits, a burger, steak frites, and pumpkin gnocchi represent some of the heartier fare. The restaurant also plans to debut a weekend brunch by the end of the year.
“We definitely try to push the sharing concept,” says Tackett. “You can have a couple of courses and still feel good.”
The space plays into that convivial mentality, with communal tables and booths filling up a majority of the seating arrangements so people feel comfortable whether they’re ordering a cocktail or creating their own four-course tasting menu. There’s even an outdoor patio with the word “Queens” emblazoned in bright neon lights.
Click on the next page for additional photos of Astoria’s newest bar.