May 4, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A new queer cocktail lounge that will host DJ nights and drag events is set to open on 30th Avenue later this month.
The new establishment, called Kween, will open at 34-10 30th Ave. on May 16 in a space that was previously occupied by the Mexican restaurant Viva Viva.
The new establishment will be owned by Pedro Alvarado, an Astoria resident who moved to the U.S. from Venezuela in 1998.
Alvarado said it will be his first business venture and the realization of a lifelong goal having worked in the industry for 20 years.
“It’s the American Dream,” Alvarado said. “You come from another country, pursue your dreams, save your money, learn, study and then when the right moment comes along, you’ve got to take it.”
Alvarado said the 1,200-foot space is currently undergoing renovations. He is painting the interior in dark blue, installing a DJ booth and breaking down a wall to create more space for customers.
The lounge will have an extravagant look with features including a throne, a chandelier in the shape of a crown, plush chairs, a photo booth and a fireplace. He also plans to put up a neon sign on the front of the premises containing the establishment’s logo.
“It’s not going to be pretentious,” Alvarado said.
Alvarado plans to host karaoke, DJ nights, trivia nights, and drag brunches on weekends to create a party vibe. There will be happy hour drinks specials offered every day and he said he is looking to tap into the high foot traffic along the busy avenue.
“It won’t be a nightclub, but it will be very festive and a space where you can shake your body,” Alvarado said.
He said the lounge will seat around 60 people inside and there will be an outside area at the front of the premises with room for around 15 customers.
The lounge, Alvarado said, will focus heavily on its cocktail menu while there will also be commercial beers and craft beers on offer. Alvarado said he knows how to make around 180 different cocktails and will be incorporating some of his favorite mixes into the menu.
Kween will roll out a food menu starting June 10 when the official grand opening takes place, Alvarado said.
The food menu, he said, is still being finalized but customers can expect a combination of American, European and Latin American cuisine. For instance, there will likely be waffles, chicken, sliders and empanadas on offer, he said.
Customers will need to use their cell phones to place an order after scanning a QR code. A waiter will then deliver the order to the customer.
Kween, Alvarado said, will also host a range of events to support the LGBT community and he is working hard to make sure the lounge is fully operational in time for Pride Month celebrations in June.
“I’m a gay man and love working for the gay community by hosting fundraisers and other good causes,” Alvarado said.” I want to create a space that’s safe for everybody.”
He said there is a large LGBT community in Astoria, many of whom are supporting the business.
For instance, he said the operators of Icon and Albatross – two well-known gay bars — have been assisting him through the process. Alvarado was the manager at Albatross for the last two years.
“They want to push you and lift you up with your dreams, so they’ve helped me a lot,” Alvarado said.
“It’s going to be a great addition to the Astoria neighborhood and beyond.”
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