Pinball and Craft Beer Come to Woodside
Along Roosevelt Avenue, one can find almost any foodstuff that one’s heart desires, from pan de bono to pad kee mao. The one delicacy that one might not expect to find on La Roosie is craft beer. From the outside, one might think that Solid State is just another Irish pub, but one need only to enter to realize that it is anything but.
From behind the bar, co-founder Kris Medina greets me with a warm smile and a firm handshake.
“I moved to Woodside about eight years ago,” said Medina, while shaking a cocktail for a thirsty patron. “I love this area for its diversity, the food options, and the neighborly vibe, but I felt that it was missing two of my favorite things: pinball and good beer.”
Medina is also a co-founder of Pinball NYC, a league of enthusiasts who compete recreationally with each other in tournaments across the city. For the better part of a decade, he dreamed of opening a pinball-centered bar somewhere in the five boroughs.
New York has not always been the most accommodating place for pinball aficionados; in the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia banned the game, believing it promoted social degeneracy and served as a front for money laundering. But today, the pastime has regained its wholesome reputation, and now has a new home in Woodside.
“We put a lot of work into designing this place,” says Medina. “We want to cultivate an environment where people can enjoy each other’s company. For us, that meant designing a space free of T.V.’s and full of communal seating.”
Solid State opened in October of 2017, and is the first bar of its kind in Woodside, a neighborhood that is already recognized as a culinary destination. Medina states that business has been strong from the start, and has grown significantly over the past several weeks.
“We aim to be a local kind of place, but I think that what we offer has made us a destination bar as well,” says Medina proudly.
Pinball aside, the bar’s greatest draw is its impressive beer list. The twenty-tap system features a rotating roster of kegs from New York State breweries and cidermakers.
“I think we are the only bar in Queens that serves only New York State beer,” says co-founder and beverage manager Corey Lange. “Many people are unaware of the variety of beers that our state produces, so it is exciting to showcase that.”
Longe stays true to his word. Even if you order the cheapest beer on tap, you will be handed not a Budweiser or Modelo, but a Genesee Cream Ale.
“We try to meet people where they are at,” says Medina. “So we want to serve the good stuff, but also keep the bar accessible.”
“We try to develop strong relationships with breweries, particularly small operations that self-distribute,” says Longe. “It is more personal that way, and they are usually the ones making the best product.”
While the bar does not currently serve food, Medina tells us to expect a series of weekend popups by guest chefs in the near future.
“We want to showcase the diversity of Woodside by inviting extraordinary local chefs to cook for us and for our guests,” says Medina.
By serving delicious, locally produced beer in a convivial environment, Solid State has managed to add something new to an area that is already a culinary crossroads. So stop by to play a few rounds and drink a few more.