ASTORIA — A new bar and restaurant — opening in the space of the former Canz-a-Citi Roadhouse sports bar in Astoria — will offer craft beers, live music and handcrafted cocktails chilled by ice cubes specially cut for drinks, according to its owners.
Front Toward Enemy opened Thursday night at 40-11 30th Ave., the space formerly occupied by Canz. Co-owners Tim Lorito and Matt Dill closed Canz in November and decided to open a new bar and eatery to keep up with Astoria's changing food scene, Lorito said.
"We felt like we've ran our course here with the sports bar," he said, adding that several sports bars opened in Astoria in the five years since he opened Canz.
"Astoria is a very unique place — it's constantly been evolving over the last ten years. I think you’ve got to keep up with the changing times," he added.
For their new venture, Lorito and Dill teamed up with bartender Scott Teague, who honed his skills at Pegu Club, a SoHo lounge known for its expertly crafted cocktails, and who has also worked at Dutch Kills in Long Island City and Death and Company in the East Village.
The owners conceived of Front Toward Enemy — named after the instructions found on a Claymore mine — and revamped the space with antique lamps and chandeliers as well as tables made Dill made out of reclaimed wood.
The bar offers 21 beers on tap, from craft brews to PBR, and a menu of carefully-crafted cocktails, from classic to house concoctions.
"It's a little bit of an art that goes on behind that bar," Lorito said.
They use old fashioned soda siphons instead of a soda gun, and their drinks are cooled with ice cubes from specialty ice company Hundredweight, which sells crystal-clear chunks of ice specially cut for use in cocktails.
"It really sustains the cocktail, so your drink doesn't dilute as fast," Teague said.
But Teague said their focus will be one more than just their cocktails, which range from $9 to $15.
"There are certain places that are known to be cocktail bars — I want this to be more than that," he said.
"So yes, you can come in and get a great cocktail. You can also get a Miller High Life and a shot, or sit down and have a steak and a really nice glass of wine, or listen to an awesome band."
The restaurant's menu was conceived by four-star chef Guy Ruege, and includes a mix of New American dishes like a braised lamb shoulder, sirloin steak and wild mushroom risotto, as well as starters like cheese and charcuterie plates and oysters on the half shell.
Brunch will be served on weekends and includes items like brioche French toast, a classic English breakfast or slow-roasted duck and beans with chorizo, egg and tomato.
Front Toward Enemy will also host live music on Thursday and Saturday nights, ranging from bluegrass and folk to old-school hip-hop on the weekends, Lorito said.
Front Toward Enemy is located at 40-11 30th Ave. and is open Mondays through Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Fridays from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 a.m.