Dec. 6, 2023 By Ethan Marshall
The new “Finback LIC” is located at 29-37 41st Ave., on the ground floor of the premier rental tower “Sven,” located at Queens Plaza.
The venue will have 20 rotating taps featuring beers both new and beloved, a broad cocktail program, rotating menus of small-batch natural wines and mezcals and creative slushy drinks. In the weeks following the opening, drip coffee and cold brew using roaster Invisible Force, as well as matcha lattes, will also be offered.
This will mark the third Finback location, with the original being founded in Glendale by Basil Lee and Kevin Stafford in 2014. While the brewery has built a following for its hazy IPAs and barrel-aged stouts, the production of mixed-culture beers highlighting New York State fruits and other local ingredients will be the main focus at Finback LIC, with agriculture-driven sour and wild ales conditioned in an array of wooden foeders, ceramic amphora and more unique fermentation vessels on the premises.
“Long Island City is a really vibrant community that’s diverse, creative and is undergoing rapid development as a mixed-use neighborhood,” Lee said. “It’s the perfect place for us to explore our more wild and unique beers and the concept of ‘time as an ingredient.'”
A former architect, Lee ended up designing the 3,800-square-foot corner space. The taproom features 99 seats and includes light-stained woods, brick and stainless steel, with textured walls in rich colors such as wine and cream. A focal point atop the bar is a mural created by Vermont-based artist Viscaya Wagner, which depicts soft, uplifting figural forms and various agricultural iconography. This is meant to reference the facility’s aim to highlight local ingredients, botanical-driven spirits and a love of mezcal.
Additionally, it foreshadows some of the future aspirations of Finback Farm, the company’s newly acquired 320-acre property in Walden, New York. A 20-seat area in the rear of Finback LIC will be utilized for private events and celebratory gatherings of all types.
“We have always brewed a wide range of styles, and certainly hazy IPAs have been dominating, but it’s exciting to have a space dedicated to making wild and mixed-ferm beers,” Stafford said. “Each of our spaces has a different creative perspective and lets us focus on different techniques. In LIC, I’m excited to work with our wood and barrel manager, Alex Swanson, to craft a line of fruit-forward fermentations and fun creations that involve coaxing out all kinds of different flavors.”
Food at the taproom will be provided by the China Inn restaurant “Dumpling Up,” which was founded by Lee’s mother in Rhode Island. In addition to the beloved dumplings, there will be a concise, casual menu that compliments the array of beverages offered, with snacks like wontons and cold tofu. The menu is rooted in simplicity and bold flavors, drawing inspiration from Lee’s family origins in Northern China as well as the comforting American Chinese dishes developed by past immigrant generations.
Finback LIC is the anchor retail tenant of Sven, the Durst Organization’s iconic 71-story Long Island City residential tower, which incorporates the best of sustainable design, health and wellness and technology. The tower is the second-tallest in all of Queens. Its ideal location, with access to eight subway lines, unique design and 50,000 square feet of amenities and sustainability features, have made it one of the most sought-after addresses in the city.
“Finback LIC will anchor a prime corner of Queens Plaza,” Durst Organization President Jody Durst said. “Surrounded by a bustling neighborhood and with ideal access to transit, Finback LIC is creating a new space for Sven residents and the entire community to gather and enjoy the mastery of their trade.”