Since opening on March 27, Bukowski’s has become a popular spot amongst the community’s working class residents.
The bar, at 69-47 Grand Avenue, is located where the old Burke’s Pub once sat. Peter Maguire and Paul Quinn are co-owners of the bar. Quinn works in construction while Maguire has a background in music and has performed with bands such as The Tain. Back in Ireland, the two went to school together and now they’ve decided to open Bukowski’s with the help of bartender Johnny Murray.
Maguire chose the name through the inspiration of the poet, novelist and short story writer, Charles Bukowski. He was described as a writer who emphasized the ordinary lives of poor Americans, especially when it came to topics such as relationships, alcohol and the drudgery of work.
Bukowski wrote the screenplay for “Barfly,” a classic cult movie, which led to bars around the world naming themselves after the film and Bukowski himself. But the Maspeth establishment is unique.
“The difference between Bukowski’s in Maspeth, the first Bukowski’s in New York, and the other ones from around the world is that if Bukowski was around, he’d drink in this one,” Maguire said. “Why? Because there’s no food, no kids, loose women and cheap booze.”
More than a dozen customers have walked into the establishment because of the reference to the writer, Maguire said.
Inside, the bar is quickly becoming a destination for a good pint of Guinness. While bartending recently, Murray noticed that of the 15 customers, 10 of them had Guinness.
Another standout of Bukowski’s is the new beer garden in the backyard. Currently lined with flowers and seats, the owners are hoping to soon fit five tables so guests can enjoy summer nights. Quinn said they’d like to add some sort of partial covering so people can still go outside in the cooler months.
Their goal is to keep the beer garden “basic and rough,” where locals can come in and relax rather than feel intimidated by fancy gimmicks.
Although they do not serve food, Murray said the bar has menus from the local restaurants that customers can order from. Customers can also bring in their own food, he added.
While there are residential neighbors near the bar, they don’t need to worry about too much noise, the owners said. The outdoor beer garden will be closed at 11 p.m.
“We respect our neighbors so we’ll let our customers know that they should be quiet,” Quinn said.
“So far, we’ve noticed that there are people who are from all parts of the world coming in, which is incredible,” Quinn added.
“In Queens, there are so many languages and cuisines, it’s the biggest melting pot in the world, and it’s nice to be able to share with the community,” Murray added. “I also look forward to getting to know the other local businesses and helping each other out.”
Bukowski’s will hold a grand opening event sometime in the near future. At the event, the tables will be set up and there will be live music for entertainment.
Murray said there will also be a contest for which side of the garden has the best flowers, his own or Maguire’s. They are asking for some community members to come down during the grand opening to judge who has planted the best flowers.
“The best side will be mine,” Murray joked.