Something new is popping in Astoria.
This Fourth of July, The POP BAR, located at 12-21 Astoria Blvd., is making its debut in the western Queens neighborhood during a grand opening “Backyard Bash,” including live music, cold drinks and a hot dog eating contest.
Visitors to the establishment, owned by Astoria resident Jeremy B. Osslund, will be welcomed by a one-of-a-kind colorful façade designed by 5Pointz aerosol artist Shiro.
Inside, more large work from the Japanese artist covers the wall above the door and spreads onto surrounding walls over seating booths. The bar top was done by graffiti artist YESONE, and in front of the bar, another wall is covered in over 700 pages ripped out of “Betty and Veronica” comic books.
“I’ve always sort of had a little bit of obsession with graffiti and 5Pointz and it has a special place in my heart,” Osslund said. “When I reached out to Meres, it was right after 5Pointz got whitewashed and I was like, ‘Let’s have a place where graffiti artists in general can actually come and put their work up.’ And celebrate the entire artistic history of Long Island City and Astoria.”
The POP BAR also features a gallery in the front, which until the end of August will include work by Shiro, YESONE, and Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, curator and CEO of 5Pointz. All pieces are available for sale, and every two months, the gallery will change to feature different art forms by various artists.
Osslund, originally from Arizona, previously had worked as a consultant helping people open their own hospitality or food establishments. However, he then decided to follow what he was passionate about since a young age and opened his own location in the community he has called home for the past five years.
“There’s a future here, a very bright future,” said Osslund, who hopes opening The POP BAR will only be the beginning to building the neighborhood. “I’m really excited to show people my idea of what a good menu and drinks and a good time is, and hopefully everyone agrees.”
The establishment’s food is what Osslund calls “Pacific surf inspired” and mostly uses ingredients purchased from local vendors. The drink menu includes selections like a “Pimms Cup” that uses mint leaves grown right in the backyard of the bar. Along with indoor seating, the site also features a backyard seating area.
Along with the artwork up front, The POP BAR will also have movies playing on the backyard every day, with no sound, and on weekends will turn the sound up to show movies and an array of ‘90s TV shows.
Keeping up with the emphasis on pop culture, Tuesdays, which will be known as Tequila Tuesday, will offer $5 shots of tequila called “Bill Murrays” and movies with the actor will be show all day.
“POP is a word, it’s a verb, it’s an adjective, it’s everything. What is pop?” Osslund said. “Pop is a feeling you get, it’s the excitement when you are waiting for a bottle of champagne to pop, it’s after it pops and the thrill. Pop can be anything.”
The July 4 Backyard Bash begins at 5 p.m. and will feature music from the local band Another Dead Clown and a hot-dog-eating contest starting at 8:30 p.m. Artists will be present as well.
The POP BAR will be opened from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays, and 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. on weekends. For more information visit www.thepopbar.com.