The Strand, a colossal beer, bourbon and barbecue hall, opened on Broadway in the old Blockbuster video space in mid-November with little in the way of fanfare or self promotion. That is somehow fitting for this massive establishment which, at least while it’s still new and not packed to the rafters with people, exudes a quiet beauty that is highly appealing. A front outdoor seating area and floor to ceiling windows connect The Strand with its human artery, the diverse, bustling block of Broadway which I both live near and love. Large dark wood tables and a high wood ceiling invite communal eating and drinking, evoking a sort of indoor beer garden or egalitarian lodge.
There is barbecue, yes, but on this first week where winter’s chill seemed completely unavoidable in New York City, I went to to The Strand to warm up with some drinks. The Strand’s beer menu is composed by Astoria beer genius Dan Bronson (@danbronsonnyc) who is also behind the phenomenal beer list at Crescent & Vine up on Ditmars Boulevard. They plan to carry a rotating list of about 15 beers made within a 200 mile radius of the restaurant. Draft beers are $6 and served in mason jars, but the real deal is the $18 pitchers that suit The Strand’s communal vibe.
While the beer list will change frequently, and my suggestions here will soon go out of date, as of last night I would suggest not missing the Ramstein Double Platinum Blonde, an outstanding Imperial Hefeweizen made in Butler, New Jersey, Long Island’s own Barrier Brewing Company’s Barrier Mare Undarum Belgian IPA and the Weyerbacher Brewing Company’s Double Simcoe, an Imperial IPA made with 100% Pacific Northwest Simcoe Hops. They also currently carry two offerings from Beyond Kombucha, a company founded in Astoria that sells fermented, naturally carbonated tea.
The Strand also has an extensive variety of whiskeys and bourbons for both the social consumer and connoisseur, and their accompanying short list of whiskey and bourbon cocktails are a perfect antidote to the cold weather. Favorites included the Liars Club made of Larceny Bourbon, maple syrup, Brooklyn Soda Works hibiscus and cinnamon as well as the poetically named Shelter from the Storm featuring Whitetail Caramel Whiskey, hot spiced cider and star anise. For those who wish to eschew booze entirely, The Strand has a coffee station that offers French Press in 2, 4 and 8 cup sizes as well as Lattes, Cappuccinos, Americanos and espresso. And for those who want to eschew both booze and caffeine, they have decaffeinated options available. While I didn’t try the coffee, The Strand is owned by the same folks as Bakeway next door, which currently serves up my favorite latte in the neighborhood, so I have high hopes for it.
I will head back to The Strand soon enough to try their food, but for now, I am happy to report a warm environment, welcoming staff, and a drink menu that will stave off the winter chill.
The Strand, 25-27 Broadway, Astoria NY