Jan. 31, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
The owners of the popular Astoria bars Judy & Punch and Madam Marie’s have opened a new Victorian-themed bar after months of delays.
The new bar, called Maggie Halls, opened at 34-06 30th Ave. on Dec. 30 in a space that was previously occupied by Casablanca Hair Salon.
Maggie Hall’s specializes in cocktails and local craft beers. It is located in the space next door to Judy and Punch while Madam Marie’s is located at 35-15 Broadway. The proprietors also own Sweet Avenue in Sunnyside located at 40-05 Queens Blvd. and Someday Bar in Brooklyn.
Colin Earyes, who owns Maggie Halls with Mike Higgins and Barry Spellman, said the new location was expected to open in June but delays in obtaining the correct paperwork — caused in large part by the pandemic – undermined their initial plans.
“Everything was ready and good on our end but we were waiting on a letter of no objection from the Dept of Buildings,” Earyes said.
“Delta spiked then so they shut down their offices and everything was mail-in only. It was a mess.”
Earyes said they finally received the letter in the middle of December and then their liquor license came through on Dec. 20.
“From there then it was all guns blazing getting ready to go,” Earyes said.
Earyes said the group is happy the bar has finally opened and trade has been encouraging despite missing most of the Christmas season.
“The response from the neighborhood has been really good,” Earyes said. “Each week has been better than the last, especially seeing as we basically opened during dry January.
Earyes said the group was eager to open their latest bar in Astoria and add to their two other neighborhood locations — although they did not initially plan to open next door to Judy and Punch.
“We love Astoria and we wanted to give back to the community,” Earyes said.
Earyes, who has lived in Astoria for eight years, said the owner of the salon next door approached the group to say the space was becoming available so they decided to take it.
“The hardest part was putting a new bar next to a current bar and making sure they complement each other and not compete,” Earyes said. “Making sure they’re different in a lot of aspects.”
Earyes said Maggie Halls is a bit classier than Judy & Punch since it has a Victorian-themed décor. Judy & Punch, he said, is more of an upscale dive bar — offering bottles, cans and draft beers — with exposed brick and random items placed on the walls.
The new establishment, Earyes said, is named after an Irish prostitute and brothel madam called Maggie Hall who immigrated to New York City from Dublin in 1873. Higgins is also an Irish immigrant.
Earyes said the group completely gutted the 780 square foot premises to carry out renovation work.
The interior walls have been painted green and purple with two large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling as well as 19th century-style portrait pictures on the walls.
A new navy-colored awning with the company’s logo has replaced the previous fixture belonging to the salon.
The bar seats 40 people total and there is also a back area with seating for 35 people which will open when the weather heats up.
Earyes said the bar puts its own twist on classic cocktails which are made using fresh fruit.
The Midnight Martini is the best-selling cocktail and is made with Double Cross Vodka, Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur and cold-brewed espresso.
The Molly B’Damn, Earyes said, has also proven popular with customers and is made with Hiatus Tequila, beet syrup, balsamic vinegar and orange bitters.
“We want people to come in and have a good solid class drink,” Earyes said.
The establishment also serves a range of wines and its craft beer is mainly sourced from New York breweries including the Sunnyside brewer Alewife.
Earyes said Maggie Halls will also serve small bites and finger food in the future.
Opening hours are Mondays through Fridays from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., and from 2 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
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With nothing but glass doors and window walls.
Nothing says Victorian like a stainless steel store front!