Coffee, wine and great entertainment at Waltz Astoria

Waltz Astoria could be found in the heart of Astoria, near Astoria Park. Astoria is a lovely place, overlooking Manhattan from across the other side of the East River. Waltz Astoria was very well known as a venue for some great live acts, but it wasn’t just about the entertainment. Waltz Astoria also served up some tasty lunches, delightful afternoon teas and snacks, as well as a great selection of beverages. The venue was originally a delicatessen, but there was no trace of that once owners Bill Everson and Song Zhang got hold of the place.

One of the great things about the Waltz-Astoria is that it was open seven days a week. So no matter what day of the week it was, you’d find the doors open and a warm welcome at the Waltz. It opened early too, perfect for a coffee and a slice of cake before work. From Monday to Thursday the doors opened at 8am and the venue officially closed at 11pm. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you could visit from 8.30am in the morning, and the place was open right up until midnight. Now if you got lucky, you might even get the chance to stay even later as sometimes they stayed open later than their official closing time, depending on the event that was on. Sometimes artists would play on for quite some time after they really should have finished their set. Well it would be hard not to do a few encores when the audience is having such a great time and shouting for more!

The dream of Bill and Song

Bill was a customs broker in Brooklyn with a love of popular music such as Tom Waits and Bob Dylan. Song was a pianist, classically trained in China. When they met at a class Bill was running, the creativity shone through and they immediately hit it off. Despite being at opposite ends of the musical spectrum with their tastes, they soon introduced each other to their own styles of music, and immediately they expanded their own minds and creativity. Song has always wanted to open a small live music venue. It was a dream she had harboured since she was in high school. So the two of them ran with their heart, rather than their head. They grabbed the opportunity to take over the old delicatessen, they soon had it fully soundproofed, so as not to fall out with any of the neighbours, then they started booking acts. There was always something going on, and always something different.

A great reputation

Waltz opened in 2005 and as the years went by, its popularity grew. Over the years this fun wine bar was mentioned a lot in the press. In local titles such as the Queens Courier and the Queens Chronicles, and also national titles too. They were mentioned in the New York Times, Time Out NY and New York Magazine, amongst others.

A brilliant venue for private parties

The Waltz Astoria was also available to hire for private parties and group functions. Whether a wedding, a birthday or a group meeting, you could be assured of having a wonderful time when you booked this comfortable and intimate venue for your special occasion. If you wanted, you could opt for some live music at your event, well the Waltz Astoria had no end of contacts and recommendations in this department! They could also provide cafe style catering and a wide selection of desserts for your party.

A big part of the community

While there were often big name acts performing at the Waltz Astoria, the venue was also closely involved with local artists. They worked closely with local organizations, often playing host to local community events. They worked with the Astoria Music Society, the Women’s Writing Studio and Astoria Performing Arts Centre. Theatre and musical productions were often showcased at Waltz Astoria and local musicians were often to be seen there. Waltz Astoria was very keen to promote the arts within the community of Astoria and Long Island City.

Something for everyone at Waltz Astoria

When it came to entertainment, you could look at the calendar and always find something that would suit your tastes. There were theatre productions, local jazz musicians, big rock n roll bands, comedians and so much more. If you wanted loud live music to dance the night away to, or you were looking for some thoughtful poetry reading to reflect on, you truly could get it all at the Waltz-Astoria.

A fantastic family venue

Where Waltz Astoria really excelled, was with the work they put into making live music accessible for children. Too often, live music is restricted to adults only environments. But Waltz Astoria took a different attitude. While obviously some musical entertainment may be adult oriented, perhaps with adult themes or strong language, music in general is highly inspiring for the younger generation, as well as being a lot of fun! Singing and dancing and having a laugh with your whole family is a great bonding experience. There’s no doubt that many happy lifelong memories were made at the Waltz Astoria. Not only did they hold special family friendly concerts, but there was also a kids sing-a-long held twice a week. Families could visit together and they always kept the admission prices really low so it was accessible for everyone.

New talent was spotted at Waltz Astoria

Many musicians started out at the Waltz Astoria’s Wednesday Night Open Mic session. This was the longest running open mic in the whole of Queens and talent scouts from across the city would visit to discover their next big hit act.

The most amazing wines

As if the fantastic entertainment wasn’t enough on its own, the Waltz-Astoria also had an utterly amazing wine list. They loved wine there, they truly did. So much so, that they even had a monthly wine conversation hosted by Kevin Rose. If you think this sounds a little dull, then think again. Each month this event was held, and it literally gave you everything. You’d get to taste some superb fine wines, with hors d’oeuvres that were specially picked to match perfectly with each wine. You’d be entertained with some great live music such as a pianist or a singer, and you’d get to learn about some interesting wine related topics such as the history of wine making, or wine etiquette. The atmosphere was casual, and so was the dress code, so you didn’t have to feel as if you needed to get really dressed up for these events. While the surroundings were elegant, it was all about feeling relaxed and comfortable, enjoying the experience and learning something too.

A light yet delicious selection of food

While the main focus of Waltz-Astoria was on the wine and the entertainment, they also served up some very tasty food. Their cheesecakes were a particular speciality that everyone raved about, not only for the flavor but for the incredibly generous portions. Each slice was certainly enough to feed two. The menu focused mainly on sandwiches and desserts. This was good really, because the desserts were so nice, you really wanted a lighter main course so you had room in your stomach for a slice of cake or pie afterwards.

Stopping off at the gift shop

The Waltz-Astoria even had its own gift shop. They sold fine tea and coffee, but what was really great, was that they also sold CDs from the singers and bands that had performed in the venue. If you missed a great gig, you could pop in and buy the CD instead, or if you were there but forgot to buy a CD on the night, or didn’t have the cash for it, you could visit later and get one. There’s something brilliant about discovering a new band playing live, then getting the CD to take home with you, so you can relive your great night all over again in your own home, where no one can see you dancing like a crazy fool!

Waltzers Remember

This is no longer the official website of Waltz Astoria, but we’ve set it up to remember the Waltz Astoria and the great scene it provided for those living in the Astoria area. Waltzers and Little Waltzers alike will no doubt remember some great times at this superb live music venue. Many people will have discovered a great new favorite band, or experienced a moving play that changed their outlook on life at this amazing place. Whether you went to see a Hip-Hop band late at night, or you danced like crazy with your kids, there are certainly some great memories there of the Waltz Astoria.