Dutch Kills isn’t a speakeasy, but the unmarked, industrial-style door on a quiet stretch of Jackson Avenue in Long Island City is intentional. They’re not hiding that one of the best bars in the city is on the other side of the door, and they’re not publicizing it, either.
It was the strategy of the late Sasha Petraske, who opened the bar in 2009 before tragically dying in 2015. In his lifetime, he received credit for singlehandedly reviving cocktail culture and making it what it is today. You can experience the fancy trends he revived at Dutch Kills, such as cucumber slices in water glasses and crystal-clear Hundredweight ice in the cocktails.
My favorite thing about the bar (aside from incredible cocktails) is that it continues Sacha’s tradition of going against the grain of crowded, noisy bars. Entry to the small space is only for those willing to seek out the entrance (but there are no passwords for those who find it; everyone is welcome).
There’s a cocktail menu (the Whiskey Fix served on crushed ice is my favorite), but it’s the kind of bar where you should go off-menu. The bartenders here are all incredibly skilled in making you something based on your favorite flavor or spirit. After telling them I like gin and tonic, but wanted to try something new, they served me my favorite drink of all time. It’s called “Stay Up Late,” made with gin, Cognac, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda water. Cheers.