May 8, 2023 By Ethan Marshall
The grand opening of 929, a cocktail and vinyl record bar, was held May 6 at 42-45 27th St. in Long Island City. The bar aims to bring nostalgic flavors and retro Asian pop to the neighborhood.
In addition to the bar’s cocktails tapping into familial flavors, the music from playlists and live DJ mixes highlights retro Asian pop music. Homage is paid to the music scene in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Each of the cocktails on the menu are named after classic hit songs from the golden age of Cantopop and Mandopop. Some of the drinks available include “Love is Like a Bad Cold,” named after a popular song by Taiwanese artist Yuki Hsu; “Leslie’s Sleepless Night,” named as a tribute to Asian pop icon Leslie Cheung; and “The Most Familiar Stranger,” named after Elva Hsiao’s 1999 pop ballad.
Posters and vinyl records from legendary Chinese pop singers during the 1980s and ’90s decorate the walls of the bar. The bar’s co-founder, Haoran Chen, has housed much of his personal vinyl collection at the turntables and mixing booth.
According to Chen, he conceptualized the bar from the ground up as a way to express his love for his musical passion. A first-generation Chinese immigrant, visual artist and former creative manager at Industry City, Chen became deeply influenced in his youth by East Asian pop music.
Even as he pursued a career in marketing and graphic design, Chen’s love for music never wavered, as he learned to DJ and spent much of his free time searching for rare vinyl records. 929 is the culmination of his passions for mixology, music and creative design.
“929 celebrates everything close to my heart– the flavors and the pop culture that defined my youth and made me who I am today,” Chen said. “Growing up, I didn’t know anyone who shared my interests and struggled to find a sense of belonging. I started 929 not just to celebrate the things I love, but also to create a space for anyone who, like me, struggled to find a community. It doesn’t matter if you’re familiar with the music or the flavors here. This is a place where anyone can have a drink, listen to records and feel comfortable to be their most authentic selves.”
929 can be found behind a discreet door within the Taiwanese restaurant Gulp, located at the same address. A select menu of shareable bites from Gulp are offered at the cocktail bar. These items include braised meat platters, spicy peanuts and Taiwanese popcorn chicken. Each items are traditionally served as accompaniments with alcohol. In addition to offering cocktails, 929 also has a curated selection of low-intervention wines, beers and spirits, with a focus on East Asian and Asian American producers.
929 is open from 5 p.m. to midnight on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
For more information, visit 929lic.com.