Interview with Debra and Joey owners of Astoria's Secret
- Bringing a little sexy back to Steinway Street.
- This just in! The BACKYARD SANCTUARY is now OPEN.
Summer has FINALLY arrived! After a long run of unseasonably cool temperatures, for this time of year, those hot, humid and oh-so-sticky days look like they're here to stay.
And what better way is there to cool off than with an adult beverage?
But, we're not talking about a simple glass of chilled wine or an ice-cold beer,
as good as those elixirs can be.
At ASTORIA'S SECRET, the neighborhood's newest and most buzzed-about bar and lounge, you'll be able to amp up your cocktail experience to a whole other level.
Think uber-refreshing drinks such as the orange dreamsicle, thirst-quenching sparkling sangria, a soothing pink lady lemonade, an energizing mango-ginger creation, or house-made peach moonshine!
These are all part of co-owner Debra's soon to be famous Killer Krush Frozen Cocktail program.
Not to mention an enticing line-up of unique boozy treats which are concoctions that are made with real fruit which has been frozen and then infused with alcohol.
You can choose between boozicles and boozy ice pops, which come in a variety of flavors like apple pear, elderberry and the extremely popular, mixed drunken fruit cup.
They are also offering a tasty menu of tapas-style dishes including Hummus, which is fashioned out of eggplant and beets with a touch of lemon and garlic, scrumptious meat and chicken meatballs covered in home-made sauce and empanadas, stuffed with your choice of chicken, beef, or cheese.
Tucked away behind an actual lingerie shop, ASTORIA'S SECRET has a cool, seductive, sophisticated ambiance that sets it apart from any other bar in, not just Astoria, but all of Queens.
Aplez.com recently had the privilege of connecting virtually with the lounge's founders, Debra and her long-time boyfriend Joey.
Personable and articulate, Deb and Joey were happy to chat and let us in on the behind the scenes story of ASTORIA'S SECRET.
Astoria is home to a growing community of actors, artists, sculptors and writers. Therefore, it's only fitting that the neighborhood is now home to such an innovative business.
Aplez.com wanted to know just what made the owners choose Astoria for what can really be considered a Manhattan-type concept.
"Actually, Joey and I were both born, raised and currently live in Queens. We've always enjoyed visiting friends and hanging out here. But, most importantly, over the past few years, Astoria has become home to a very rich and diverse blend of cultures. We wanted to be a part of that. It just felt right."
Debra brings a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry to ASTORIA'S SECRET.
Having worked as a waitress, bartender and cocktail server as well as managing several bars and restaurants, Debra has seen and done it all. There's not much that can faze her.
Deb's partner Joey, though, spent years in banking and marketing. He was good at his job and carved out quite a successful career.
But that doesn't mean that Joey hasn't got a good feel for what customers want when they are seeking a fun night out.
After all, hitting up craft cocktail bars and restaurants when his workday was done, was something of a hobby for the co-founder of ASTORIA'S SECRET.
A relatively new business ASTORIA'S SECRET opened its' doors on November 1st of 2019.
"We opened as an exclusive invite-only venue on Instagram. Our vision was a place that celebrates vintage glam, fashion, positivity and artistic beauty."
In life, timing is everything. Aplez.com asked Debra how she and Joey knew that the time was right for them to introduce such an original concept to Astoria's nightlife scene.
"Honestly, Joey and I felt that it was time for us to try something different in our lives. We wanted to do a bar and lounge theme that was upscale and uncommon but without the pretension. We really fell in love with the idea of an elegant, sexy boudoir theme; yet with a down to earth vibe. We just hoped that other people would like it too."
Covid-19 and the resulting lockdown could have put ASTORIA'S SECRET down for the count. But Debra and Joey are far too resilient to allow that disaster to even come close to happening.
Deb and Joey turned their "speakeasy" menus inside out, so to speak, and made their most popular items available at the lingerie shop aka Astoria's Secret storefront.
"This gave us a chance to re-connect with old, familiar faces who stopped by to say hello" exclaimed Debra.
"It's been equally rewarding to meet and introduce our space to so many new people who were not even aware that we existed. Time and again we heard the same refrain; "I've walked past this place, maybe, a hundred times and had no idea that there was a cocktail bar here."
They instituted delivery as well as grab and go services which proved to be extremely popular. Even with the gradual re-opening of the city's restaurants and bars
now at hand, the duo plans to continue with these convenient options.
The DYI Cocktails for two packages provide thirsty customers with all the ingredients they need to have a fun time crafting their own batch of cocktails. Included are premium liquor, garnish, mixers and even flavored salts to rim your glass with.
During the dog days of Summer, make plans to spend some time on your building's rooftop and watch the stars glitter in the sky, as you enjoy the Summer Survival Kit from ASTORIA'S SECRET.
This kit has everything that you and your significant other need for a sensual staycation getaway including DYI Cocktails, tapas, frozen Boozy Treats, scented candles, sweets and an item of lingerie!
Pro tip: When ordering either option; please request the delectable Pomegranate
Quarantini. This is one knockout of a cocktail. And, Debra, the mistress of mixology, is justifiably proud of her creation.
"Our Killer Queen's staff of bartenders and servers all join in when it comes to
shaking, stirring and creating the various drinks that are on offer. " revealed Debra.
"However, since we are not yet back at full staff; I have been personally preparing the cocktails for our new Summer menu. Poor Joey has been my testing dummy. But he doesn't seem to mind. So I must be doing something right ."
Here's some breaking news that'll totally float your boat! ASTORIA'S SECRET has just announced the opening of their cozy BACKYARD SANCTUARY!
Yes; it's true! They are now accepting reservations via Instagram and their website for al fresco seating.
With a secluded atmosphere, abstract wall art and some very cool furnishings and statement pieces, this is the kind of patio you would love to have... if only Astoria had more backyard spaces, that is!
Although the city's restaurants and bars are still not quite open for indoor dining, we were curious as to what the ambiance is like inside the lounge. Fear not; very soon, you WILL be able to experience the bar's seductive surroundings for yourself.
Debra was more than happy to share her thoughts.
"We've been told by our guests that the vibe and decor here is like no place they've ever been. Once they pass through the curtain which divides the lingerie shop from the lounge; our guests feel as though they are in a different atmosphere where the outside world doesn't exist."
Continuing on Debra said that " Our goal all along was to create an artistically-driven sanctuary where you can relax with no judgment. On any given night the lounge's guests range anywhere from age 21 to 60, both women and men, couples out on a date, friends or singles."
"I like to think that ASTORIA'S SECRET is a very non-pressure, comfortable safe space kind of environment."
One of the many cool things about this welcoming lounge is the effort to support local performers.
Since day one, the stage at ASTORIA'S SECRET has showcased the talents of a variety of talented artists ranging from jazz singers to burlesque dancers.
However, with the advent of Covid-19, Debra and Joey readily adapted to the unfortunate circumstances and switched gears, streaming various performances from the empty lounge direct to their customers' apartments via Instagram Live.
"Despite everything that was going on, Joey and I were delighted that we could still provide a platform for these amazing artists to connect with an audience." recounted Debra.
"These artists have, like everyone else in the hospitality industry, been hit so hard by the lockdown. It makes us feel so good when these performers tell us that this is the first time that they have actually FELT like an artist in months."
ASTORIA'S SECRET has a stellar line-up of singers, dancers and musicians planned for the Summer months. Do yourself a favor and check out their website for specific days and times.
Aplez.com was curious as to what Debra and Joey do with whatever leisure time they manage to carve out from the 24/7 hamster wheel of running a business.
"Leisure time has been pretty much non-existent as we spent two years putting everything we had into opening the lounge. But Joey and I do love to chill out and catch up with some of our favorite TV shows. I also enjoy experimenting with cocktails and different dishes at home. Most of what I try out eventually will end up on our drink list and food menu."
It was obvious from our lengthy chat that Debra and Joey have a genuine passion for making people feel at home. You can't fake that. Either you feel that way or you don't.
And when customers know that every need will be taken care of, they will tell their friends, creating a loyal clientele that will weather just about any storm.
This writer asked the owners if they had anything that they would like to say directly to Aplez.com's readers.
"Only that we welcome everyone to come and check us out.' stated Deb. WE look forward to all of the current phases of the city re-opening so that we can get back to what we do best, hosting guests and giving them a unique experience that they will treasure for a long time to come."
If you are interested in picking up a batch of killer Kocktails or some delicious food, here are the Summer hours for the storefront: Thursday through Sunday from 1-9 PM.
Stay tuned to the ASTORIA'S SECRET website and Instagram page for updates on reservations for socially-distanced INDOOR seating in the glamorous lounge.
You've been cooped up in your apartment for far too long. It's time to treat yourself and discover one of the city's hidden gems in terms of superb food, drinks, live entertainment and an unbeatable atmosphere.
Contact Info :
28-53 Steinway Street
Astoria, N.Y. 11103