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Best Cocktail Bars: Dutch Kills

May 27, 2011

Dutch Kills Bar Exterior

See that entrance?

No, not the transmission place. And no, don’t get fooled by the engineering sign.

That simple white neon sign behind the van.

There. That’s the entrance to one of the best cocktail bars in New York.

It’s not even in Manhattan but over in Long Island City. It’s called Dutch Kills named after the neighborhood (‘kills’ is Dutch for stream) but it’s gaining a reputation world-wide for its dedication to quality cocktails. If you can find it, here’s what you can expect in terms of its Atmosphere and Mixology.

Bar Atmosphere

Once you find and open that door, get ready to step back in time to the speakeasys of the 1920′s. Gorgeous dark wood and authentic touches like vest-clad barkeeps and its antique cash register perfectly capture the ‘cocktail-is-king’ vibe of that golden era.

Dutch Kills Bar Atmosphere

Slide into one of the great, dark, booths up front. Catch the Tom Waits tunes playing. Perfect for a quiet sexy date or just keeping it tight with a small group who know how to talk and drink.

Dutch Kills bar interior
Photo courtesy of


Or keep going and grab a seat at the bar and be entertained by mixologists at the top of their game while you contemplate what to order next from the always-changing cocktail menu on chalkboard. Or, if it’s the weekend and the mood suits you, keep moving to the sawdust-on-the-floor backroom and listen to a jazzman banging on the old 88 while you make some new interesting friends.


Dutch Kills Mixology
Photo courtesty of

Ian Present, Dutch Kills owner, is a fourth generation New Yorker and believes in honoring the blue-collar ethos that made New York bars famous worldwide by providing exemplary cocktails at the perfect price. Whether it’s the glassware, hand-cut ice or the swizzle stick – each tells a story of a time when cocktails weren’t compromised or watered down. Dutch Kills takes a no-nonsense approach to making only the finest caliber of drinks in an environment that you’ll find welcomes people from all walks of life.

So be prepared to transport your taste buds to another place and time and to be entertained by true cocktail artists who might just throw your drink out before you get it not because you didn’t like but because they didn’t feel it was made to the level of precision and perfection they demand and you get to enjoy. Welcome to mixology at the top of its game.

The prices are reasonable for this level of quality and represent a nice step down from what you’d expect to pay for the same – or worse – in Manhattan.


If you look hard, you’ll find Dutch Kills underneath the shadow of the Queensboro bridge at 27-24 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City  or at It’s worth the trip.

For more great cocktail bars check back each month. Meanwhile help us save the world from bland boring cocktails by supporting your local mixologist and sharing this blog.

Thank you.

Denizen is a new, award-winning choice in white rum: a blend of three different styles of rum from Jamaica and Trinidad meticulously selected by master blenders in Amsterdam so that you can fully enjoy the new golden age of rum mixology. We are also proud to have a place of honor in many of Dutch Kills cocktails although – truth be known – they’re a great bar even without us.

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