Nov. 12, 2015 By Michael Florio
The team behind The Stand, a long-running comedy club in Manhattan, opened a Long Island City venue in July bringing with it a high-end cocktail bar and plenty of laughs.
Deriving its name from the Manhattan venue, The Standing Room at 47-38 Vernon Blvd. claims to be very different from other comedy clubs in Queens.
Paolo Italia, the owner, said that what makes their venue stand out are its specialty cocktails, which include “The Flower,” a dry gin, lavender, elderflower and cranberry served in a light bulb; “The Cucumber,” which contains a spicy tequila blend, cucumber, and lime served in a bell pepper; and a signature drink called “The Smoke,” which features bourbon, ancho chile, cynar and house bitters.
“When you see it in person, it takes your breath away,” Mikala Knezevick, marketing representative for The Standing Room, said.
The mixologists at the bar all come with years of experience, according to Italia, such as Shige Kabashima, who hails from the East Village speakeasy Angel’s Share, and Joji Watanabe from the Lower East Side’s Experimental Cocktail Club.
Once visitors make it past the bar, the venue opens up into a traditional stand up comedy room, which is home to nightly shows hosted by a mix of local comedians and well known Manhattan performers.
Italia said he’s proud to bring talent that Long Island City residents normally have to travel to see.
Comedians that have performed since The Standing Room has opened include Monroe Martin, Judah Friedlander, Jay Oakerson and Chris Distefano. On Nov. 13, the bar will host Yannis Pappas, who has been featured on Comedy Central and Good Morning America.
Locally, The Standing Room has partnered with Rockaway Brewing Company to host a comedy show at the brewery every other Monday. As part of the partnership, the brewery has named their pale ale “The Standing Room,” which can be purchased at both venues. Customers who purchase the pale ale at Rockaway receive a free ticket to a show at The Standing Room, according to Knezevick.
Jonathan Powley, of AirBNB camper/taxi van-fame and a comedian by profession, will host these partnered shows beginning in January. In the mean time, Powley will host the Standing Room’s first Variety Show hour on Nov. 18 at 8 p.m.
Audience members at this event will have a chance to win a free night’s stay at his specially outfitted camper, as well as a free Christmas tree from Mrlumberjack.com.
For all these reasons and more, Italia hopes The Standing Room will become the go-to bar in Long Island City.
“We want to become the neighborhood spot,” he said. “A place you can go to watch the game, see a comedy show and enjoy some great cocktails.”
Show times vary during the week, but are often held at 8 p.m., 9 p.m., and 10 p.m. On weekends shows are held at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
The prices of comedy shows range from $5 on weekdays to $10 on weekends. However, the bar has reportedly given complimentary tickets to Long Island City residents, and would like to continue doing so going forward,
“We want the residents to see exactly what we offer,” Italia said.
The Standing Room is open six days a week, from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and until 2 a.m. on weekends.
The Laughing Devil previously occupied the location.
Disclosure: The Standing Room advertises with the LICPost