You are reading

The Beast Next Door–a Court Square cafe/bar–opens Friday


Dec. 17, 2014 By Michael Florio

The beast is finally here.

The Beast Next Door, a neighborhood café and bar located in Court Square, is set to open its doors this Friday.

John Veenema, the owner, had hoped to open in August but it took him much longer to transform what was an old garage space into the café/bar.

The conversion of the 42-51 27th Street location was more complicated than he anticipated. He had to replace rusty beams, change the plumbing system, put in new wiring and install a new heating system.

He said the space had to be completely overhauled.

Veenema, who has a background in visual arts, also went to great length when he designed the interior of the café/bar.

Inside hangs an old chandelier and placed alongside the walls are old church pews–which are to be used as benches. Meanwhile, the tables are made out of salvaged pallets and timber from an old wooden prison door.

The café/bar also features a raised area toward the back of the establishment that serves as a seating area at times and as an area for live music.

Along the back wall there is a woodcut Turkish-design mural that Veenema made himself.

“The bar will be elegant and have a romantic feel,” Veenema said. “I want people to feel comfortable here, to have a conversation, and for people to get to know one another.”

The Court Square café/bar has room for about 75 people, and while there won’t be sidewalk seating there will be French-style doors that will open up to the street.

“It will feel like you are outside on nice days,” Veenema said.

Veenema is expecting about 50 people to attend the grand opening party at 7pm this Friday. He has hired a band for the occasion that plays ‘80s style rock music.

Veenema hosted a soft opening last Saturday that was attended by friends, family and neighbors.

“We had a great turnout,” he said. “People really enjoyed the environment and liked the lighting and furniture. They felt it was a comfortable and nice place to hang out.”

The menu will consist of combination plates, which will include Italian cured meats and French cheeses–served with bread, slices of fruit and nuts. There will also be sandwiches, salads and pastries.

“We want to serve high quality food items,” Veenema said. “There will be no fried food served here.”

To drink, Veenema said he will be offering four beers on tap, which will consist of Rockaway Brewing Company’s Original ESB, Allagash White, Sixpoint Brewery’s The Crisp, and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

There will also be wine and liquor.

This is Veenema’s first bar. However, he has industry experience having worked at Block Star, a Manhattan bar that has since closed.

Veenema, who is originally from Canada, has lived in Court Square for the past five years—after living in Manhattan for more than a decade.

Veenema has long wanted to open a café/bar in Long Island City and initially checked out the Hunters Point area.

However, he said Court Square was a better option.

He said that the Court Square section of Long Island City is undergoing a great deal of development, yet still offers limited options for residents.

He said that it was difficult finding a location in the area since most property owners are looking to sell their property or develop it.

“We want to be a place in Court Square where residents can come and have a conversation,” he said. “It will be a place to hang out and relax.”


email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 
Amadeo Plaza

Really looking forward to this opening up. Dutch Kills will always have my bar, but I think it’s nice to have something a bit less elaborate, but not as “down-home” as the Shannon Pot or Brooks. I’m not much of a pub guy. Also really happy to see them sourcing beers from our local brewers!


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.