Saturday’s Total Astoria Immersion is going to be a day-long adventure, whether you start from Sparrow Tavern across from the iconic Bohemian Hall, or take in the sights on Astoria’s southern edge, like the Museum of the Moving Image. In between are all kinds of fun bars and amazing food. Whatever you have a hankering for–tapas, curries, souvlaki, pizza, sushi–it’s waiting for you in Astoria and we have a list of five excellent restaurants to check out while you’re there. We’ve also got a great Day Trip planned for you if you want to really explore the neighborhood.
Whichever adventure you choose, you should plan on either a leisurely day of walking (or stumbling) in good shoes; biking or bringing a bike on the subway; loading up your MetroCard to take buses; or calling a car service (Hoyt is a good one: 718-204-5861). The heat wave is supposed to break by then, so it should be a pleasant day for rambling around.
The map of all the participating bars and restaurants is here. If you plan on coming by subway, the N and Q are your best friends on Saturday. Both lines make several stops on Broadway so no matter how far north or south you are in Astoria, you can use it to get to either end. They’re both running just fine this weekend.
If you want to start at the northernmost end, and peek your head into that Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden you’ve heard so much about (and maybe down a stein–or just gaze in wonder at the line to get in that often stretches down the block), take the N or Q to Astoria Boulevard and pick up your postcard at The Sparrow Tavern (visited at one point by Guy Fieri, the man you either love or hate). If we can suggest the best possible Point A to B game plan in terms of the bars, it would be to walk from Sparrow to Rapture Lounge (where there will be karaoke at 3pm!) to William Hallett, to Dominie’s. If you get hungry along the way, take a side trip and head to either Pachanga Patterson or Vesta in between one of the bars, where you’ll keep your buzz going with a complimentary bottle of Local One.
If you plan on doing the photo safari, cashing in on the grilled cheese sandwiches from Queens Kickshaw (eight varieties all $3 off with an immersion postcard!), getting 15% off at decor/gift shop SITE, or just checking out the most iconic spots in Astoria like the Museum of the Moving Image, which got an impressive makeover in 2011–take the N or Q to 30th Ave. and pick up your immersion postcard at William Hallett’s. You can hit Dominie’s and Rapture Lounge, even take in a beer brunch at Pachanga, then head south to Queens Kickshaw, and when you’re done touring the southern end, take the subway at Broadway and get off at Astoria Boulevard, close to Sparrow Tavern. You can also get to the southern part of Astoria by taking the R to Steinway, which will let you off just two blocks from grilled cheese nirvana.
No matter where you are at 4pm, head to Hell Gate Social for the afterparty, where you’ll find $3 Brooklyn beers, postcard or not, and see a live slideshow of the photos on our photo safari. To get there, the Q18 bus runs every 7 minutes along 30th Ave. (home of William Hallett and Dominie) and takes you a block away to 14th St. If you’re tired of public transport by then, Hoyt Car Service will ferry you anywhere in Astoria or home to Brooklyn.
And if you are insane–like so crazy you want to try to do the immersion and the Mermaid Parade–you could ride the N all the way to Coney–it will only take an hour and a half, and you can make it in time for the Mermaid Ball at 7pm. Just buy a ticket in advance, you crazy loon.