Tunes and Taverns:

Before you continue reading this, I know. I’ve taken a break from this column for the past few months, and for everyone (or anyone!) who’s been reading it religiously, I’d like to extend my heartfelt apologies. I got busy, then needed to take some time for myself, which included not hunting through the neighborhood for musical finds and delicious beers (to some, I realize that this approach may seem counterintuitive, and I completely understand your point). But luckily for all of us, this short sabbatical has reached its end, and I’m back on the horse, doing what I love.

Here’s the deal: if you haven’t already checked out RaR Bar’s live music scene, you’ve been sorely missing out.

We trekked to the quaint-but-cute spot on the last day of May in celebration of a friend who’d recently been accepted at an internship she’d stacked her career hopes on. What first struck me—or I should say, what always strikes me—about RaR Bar first is its location. At 30-01 35th Ave (that’s the corner of 35th Avenue and 30th Street), it’s a perfectly cozy corner that always seems to be buzzing, but not frantic. It evokes the aura of summer perfectly; a laid-back but lively place to sit with some friends and breathe easily for awhile.

When we sat down, we ordered a bottle of Malbec—this was a day of celebration after all— and some of RaR’s delicious tapas. The guacamole and homemade tortilla chips were absolutely delicious, as was the fried calamari, but the real star of the show were the samosas, an inspired take on the traditional Indian pastry. I shared, despite my better judgement. Unfortunately we skipped on the mixed drink menu, but after giving the list a once-over I decided that it’d be at the top of my list on my very next visit. I liked the look of their punch in particular—half of the ingredients in it seemed foreign to me, but it boasts orange bitters as well as a muddled orange peel, and as you may not be aware, I have an unquenchable thirst for citrusy cocktails.

We entered RaR Bar that night for some good wine and light fare but ended up staying for the music—a country singer took the stage and serenaded us with acoustic riffs and soulful, bluesy tunes that made me think (as most country music does) of the open road and a life outside the city. His name is Morgan Lindley and his new album, “High Desert Blues,” is streaming on Apple Music and Spotify now, and is available for purchase on Amazon. You can bet that I’ve already downloaded it.

RaR’s musical—and indeed performance—offerings don’t stop there. Live bands come and jam onstage every Thursday (head over on June 30 to hear Golda; an singer-songwriter whose smooth style bears unmistakable notes of Americana), or if you’re looking for a laugh, check out Tyrannosaurus, Astoria’s longest-running comedy show (eight years strong!), on every Tuesday at 9 pm.

— Bronwyn Davila

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