929 recently opened its doors in Long Island City and is celebrating mixing in all of its forms–from playful cocktails that showcase familiar Chinese flavors to meticulously curated playlists and live DJs that highlight retro Asian pop music.
The discreet cocktail bar pays homage to the music scene of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, with cocktails named after classic hits from the golden age of Cantopop and Mandopop and inspired by flavors that invoke memories of the Chinese diaspora.
Love is Like a Bad Cold, named after a hit song by Taiwanese artist Yuki Hsu, features a whiskey base with Nin Jiom Herbal Syrup, a traditional herbal syrup commonly used as a cough remedy, while The Most Familiar Stranger, inspired by the 1999 ballad by Taiwanese pop diva Elva Hsiao, evokes the essence of savory soy milk, a popular breakfast in regions of Mainland China and Taiwan, through basil-infused gin and maple foam made with soy sauce and soy milk.
In addition to the cocktails, 929 will offer a handful of shareable bites from Gulp–a casual Taiwanese restaurant at the same address–including braised meat platters, spicy peanuts, and Taiwanese popcorn chicken, all of which are traditionally served as accompaniments with alcohol.
“929 celebrates everything close to my heart– the flavors and the pop culture that defined my youth and made me who I am today. 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,” said cofounder Haoran Chen.
And community is what you’ll find at 929, which was conceptualized from the ground up as a love letter to Chen’s lifelong passions.
The spirit of 80s and 90s Chinese pop can be seen throughout the 1,100-square-foot space through posters and vinyl records from legendary singers such as Anita Mui and Sandy Lam.
And the vinyls aren’t just for show–they’ll be played at the bar’s turntable and mixing booth, providing guests with the perfect playlist to sway along to while sipping cocktails.
You’ll also find Chen himself at the turntable spinning tunes late into the night. A first-generation immigrant from China, Chen was deeply influenced by Asian pop music through his youth and spent his spare time learning to DJ and find rare vinyl records when he wasn’t working in marketing and graphic design.
Thus, 929 is the culmination of all of Chen’s passions–mixology, music, and creative design–under one roof.
“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,” said Chen.
929 is located at 42-45 27th Street in Long Island City, hidden behind a discreet door within Gulp. It’s open Tuesday-Thursday 5 p.m. – 12 a.m., Friday-Saturday 5 p.m. – 1 a.m., and Sunday 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.
You can learn more on their website.