In the past year, the marijuana derivative CBD (all of the mellowness, none of the hallucinations) has turned up in lattes, snacks and private dinners. But it’s all been a little wink-wink, a novelty on otherwise straightforward menus — but not at New York’s first CBD bar Adriaen Block.
The new bar and restaurant in Astoria, Queens were designed with feeling good in mind by bartender Zsolt “George” Csonka, who’s worked at nightclubs and bars in Las Vegas and New York. With a cozy eight-seat bar and 32 seats including a black leather couch, it’s intimate but also very much invites anyone outside to look in and vice versa with large windows. The space is bright, and the message clear: you’re not meant to hide what you’re consuming. “It was important for the space to have a warm and welcoming atmosphere to create a relaxed mood,” Csonka tells Metro.
Csonka obviously had fun with the details at Adriaen Block. Like strains of marijuana, his CBD-infused cocktails ($15) have cutesy names like the Bakin’ & Eggs and Mellow. Cannabidiol is added using an eyedropper to control the dosage.
“We looked at what would pair well and what would be fun, too,” he says of deciding which cocktails would be complement by the cannabidiol. “For example, we wanted to have fun with classics like an Old Fashioned or Negroni and turned them into CBD-friendly Rolled Fashioned and Stoney Negroni.” Guests can also request CBD to be added to their drink of choice.
Entirely on the other end of the spectrum, Adriaen Block offers nonalcoholic cocktails starring Seedlip, the first distilled non-alcoholic “spirit” designed to be as complex as alcohol in flavor minus the complications.
The “munchies” menu (their word, not ours) focuses on grilled meats and seafood. CBD can be added to any dish via a literal special sauce or, for dessert, with an infused whipped cream. "For the food, we wanted to make it an additional accent if guests want to try so we are using it in a special sauce and whipped cream,” Csonka explains. “The sauce and whipped cream will work with many dishes and desserts respectively, the latter with coffee as well.”
Named for the first Dutch explorer to navigate the so-called Hell Gate that connects the East River and Long Island Sound, Csonka’s task was less daunting. He came to CBD through an interest in wellness — something the bar and restaurant world has been waking up to after chefs have come shared their physical and mental struggles.
Anecdotally, CBD is said to help with anxiety, pain and inflammation, though it has not been approved for such use by the FDA. In fact, in California (where recreational pot has been legal since 2016) just banned CBD in food and drinks because it hasn’t been conclusively found food safe.
Adriaen Block is located at 19-33 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, Queens; adriaenblocknyc.com