Patrons Can Open Champagne With a Saber at Long Island City Wine Bar

By Jeanmarie Evelly on December 4, 2013 7:56am 

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 At The Baroness, customers can learn how to ceremoniously open their bubbly with a blade.
The Baroness in Long Island City
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DUTCH KILLS — En garde!

Patrons who order champagne at a recently opened Crescent Street wine bar can opt to ceremoniously open the bottle with a saber — a French tradition that dates back to the 19th century.

"If you’re a big fan of the 'Three Musketeers,' it's all wrapped in that same era, when musketeers would actually open a bottle of champagne while riding a horse," said Melanie Lemieux, who opened The Baroness at 41-26 Crescent St. two weeks ago, naming the space after French landowners of the same time period.

The bar's bottles of bubbly range in price from $60 to $96, and customers get a short lesson from the waitstaff on how to effectively use the small knife — displayed on a stand above the bar — to pop open their drink.

"We supervise them very closely," Lemieux said, adding the practice is easier than it looks. "If you just put the sword in a straight motion, the pressure will just lift it up by itself."

Lemieux, who originally hails from Montreal, run The Baroness with her husband, Kyle Radzyminski. The two are veteran bar and restaurant owners, but this is the first spot they've owned by themselves.

The couple lives on the block, and Lemieux said they were inspired to open the space to fill a void of bars within walking distance of their street, just off Queensboro Plaza.

"One day I was like, 'I feel like we really need a neighborhood joint,'" she recalled, saying they want the space to be a relaxing hangout for locals. "Something casual, neighborhood, so you could feel like you’re [in your] second living room."

In addition to champagne by the bottle and prosecco by the glass, The Baroness serves wine and craft beer, with six brews on tap — all from Vermont, where Radzyminski grew up.

The bar serves meat and cheese plates, and flatbreads topped with items like baked sweet potato and goat cheese or ham, chorizo and mozzarella.

Lemieux said they plan to start serving brunch in the next few weeks, with items like crepes, omelets and unlimited mimosas.

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