Astoria, Astoria Bar Review, Bars, Community, Featured, Food and Drink, Small Business Owners Spotlight
May 14, 2018

Small Business Profile: Nathan Finnegan of Albatross Bar & ICON Astoria

Today’s Small Business Owner Spotlight is all about Nathan Finnegan who brings all the FUN to the LGBTQ community through Albatross Bar and ICON Astoria. How did an Irish Engineer end (…)

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Today’s Small Business Owner Spotlight is all about Nathan Finnegan who brings all the FUN to the LGBTQ community through Albatross Bar and ICON Astoria. How did an Irish Engineer end up owning two bars in Astoria? Read on!Name of Business:

Albatross Bar and ICON Astoria

Owned by:

Nathan Finnegan

Year You Took Over Management:

Albatross (2014), ICON (2017)

What are you known for?

The two greatest LGBTQ bars in Queens. Stage to some of the top Drag Queens around the country. Coined the ‘Gay Cheers of Astoria’ with a no frills neighborhood vibe with the added draw of some of the best nightly performances you will ever see. Karaoke, drag shows, friendly staff, 2-4-1 happy hour, 16oz mixed drinks (yeah, they’re big) in a welcoming safe space for all of the community.

Do you also live in Queens? If so, where? How did you end up here?

Moved from Ireland around 7 years ago. Graduated with an Aerospace Engineering degree and whilst I was contemplating my future I decided to move to New York. Like any Irish man would do, I got a bartending gig in midtown. As I learned more about the industry I fell in love with it. Following in the footsteps of my uncle who owned an Irish Pub in Astoria over 30 years ago – Just blocks from where my bars are now – I bought my first bar, Albatross. Astoria was always where I wanted to open a place as I love this neighborhood. Later, met my wife and we decided to move to Manhattan as it was a compromise for both our commutes. I’m here 6 days a week so it still feels like my neighborhood.

What made you decide to start a business in Astoria?

Albatross had been long standing gay bar in Astoria for years (Oldest in Queens). However the management started to fall out of love with the place and it began to struggle. We wanted to bring new life and energy to revive this once neighborhood staple. The support from the community has been overwhelmingly positive and Albatross is back and better than ever. ICON had a similar situation. It needed a lot of commitment and energy. With the hard work put in by Manager Dave, and the awesome staff it’s become the perfect place to let loose and dance on the weekends without a pretentious vibe.

What’s been your favorite moment since opening so far?

Too many specific great moments to single any one out. But my favorite thing from opening these bars is the people we’ve met along the way. Some of the people who walked in the first week we opened the place are now lifelong friends of mine, and new incredible people walk through these doors everyday. Together we’ve all gone through so many of life’s ups and down’s and I’m proud to own places where people can laugh together and lean on each other.

What’s your favorite place to grab food when you’re working?

I enjoy Sanford’s, Romano’s and Rizzo’s have great pizza. Michael’s for great pork chops! Toast & Roast on Broadway for lunch. So many great spots in the area.

What’s a hidden Astoria secret you feel like people don’t know about that you absolutely love?

It’s more toward LIC but Otis & Finn barbershop is a little gem of an establishment. Great cuts, great staff and you sip some Bourbon whilst you get a cut.

the-wolfhound-irish-bar-astoria-queens

Photo credit: The Wolfhound

What’s your favorite place to grab a drink?

Gilbey’s is my favorite. The Wolfhound’s good too, and Sek’end Sun is great.

If you have friends or family visiting Astoria, where do you take them?

We usually go to the Beer Garden if the weather is nice. Maybe bar hopping on Ditmars with some great Greek food along the way. Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria Park, and Trattoria L’incontro are all good options. And to be honest, when people come to visit they never want to miss a drag show at Albatross or ICON.

How have you seen Astoria change since you’ve been here?

I’ve only been here 4 years and it’s been changing so fast. So many new businesses. It’s constantly evolving and love to see more and more people recognizing how great a place it is to go out in and live.

What’s your favorite part of owning a business in Queens?

Again, I have to say the people. I’ve met so many wonderful people. And it has been very rewarding having businesses that support the LBGTQ community in Astoria. It’s been a real special opportunity to be able to use the business platform to create awareness, help fundraise and sponsor different events and causes that effect the LGBTQ community of Queens. It’s been an honor to be able to contribute to the diverse, fun and ever evolving neighborhood that is Astoria.

Albatross Bar (3619 24th Ave)
albatrossastoria.com| Facebook | Instagram| Twitter

ICON Astoria (31-84 33rd Street)
iconastoria.com| Facebook | Instagram|

 

About Emily Rios

Emily Rios manages special events, sponsored content and advertising clients as WHA's Business Development Director. She is a passionate and dedicated youth developer with a strong background in non-profit management, and works as Senior Manager of Youth Leadership at generationOn.

2 Comments

Jon

Nathan is such a great guy! He was very kind in his description of Albatross and Icon before he bought them. The truth is, Albatross was run almost as a private social club of the previous owners, who seemed to go out of their way to make newcomers feel as unwelcome as possible. Icon before Nathan was terribly managed and seemed more like a straight college girl’s idea of what a gay bar should be rather than a place where the community could enjoy themselves. He has managed to turn both spaces into vibrant, friendly, comfortable, and fun places to meet friends old and new. He clearly loves his customers and actually LISTENS to them. Kudos, Nathan and thank you!!!!

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