John Veenema is the owner of 42-51 27th Street, future home of The Beast Next Door. We’ve been tracking construction at the future bar/cafe for quite some time now,1 and John was kind enough to take us through a tour of the construction site and answer a few of our questions.
Here’s what he had to say:
Q: When are you planning on opening?
A. If all goes well, we are looking at mid-August. The manufacturing of the French doors and windows [which will go at the entrance] will be the last renovation item to go in place. Converting the space from an old auto-repair shop has been a challenge yet it will be integrated into the ambiance, with its nice brick walls and high wood ceiling.
Q. Tell us about what you envision for The Beast Next Door.
A. We would like to be the best bar in LIC. We envision a community bar where local residents have a place to go – to relax, have a drink and bite to eat – in a rustic elegant environment. Everyone is welcome but we especially hope locals will feel they can come in with friends and see others they know from the community.
The cafe element of the business will offer pastries, sandwiches, salads and combination plates (high quality meats and cheeses, olives and dips). The aroma of strong coffee and warm breads will entice daytime customers. The skylight and large doors and windows in the front will provide for a well lit cafe/lounge feel.
Q. What made you pick this area?
My business partner and wife have been living in LIC for five years and we feel there is a real need for a friendly community bar in the Court Square area.
Q. What kind of clientele are you looking to attract?
A. We want to service the new growing population who are looking for a comfortable bar they can call their own. It will have a romantic atmosphere where people can bring a date. We do not want to be a noisy sports bar but rather want to offer an environment where people can have a relaxed conversation. We also hope to attract local artists with tasteful decorations and cool current music. We have a large mural in the back, inspired by my wife’s taste for beautiful Turkish/Mediterranean tile work.
Q. What’s this area for [points to a stage area]?
A. We have a raised seating area which will convert into a small stage for weekly events, everything from art performance, small bands, film, comedy and theater performances. This will appeal to the broader artistic community where we envision the bar offering cultural events.
Q. Where did the name “The Beast Next Door” come from?
A. During a brainstorming session we decided we wanted something fun and intriguing. At the time we where looking at a space next to the new M. Wells steakhouse and Demet my wife thought we could be their “beast next door” – and it stuck as we really liked the comical aspect of the line – thus the name.