A Seat at the Bar: Laura Newman, Queen’s Park
Some of the city’s best bartenders dish on favorite drinks, relationships, and why they love the bar.
Brooklyn native Laura Newman is new to the city, bringing an awesome bar resume that includes winning the USBG World Class 2018 competition. Together with Larry Townley, she opened one of the city’s most talked about new bars, Queen’s Park, in the loft district.
Queen’s Park looks like a grand hotel bar somewhere in the Caribbean or another tropical location. That is by design. The decor is replete with details like vintage suitcases, ornate tile, tropical wallpaper, and distressed walls. The giant mirror behind the bar looks like it has been there for generations.
“We wanted visiting Queen’s Park to be a transportive experience that makes you feel like you’re drinking somewhere else,” says Newman. “We were particularly inspired by design elements from hotel bars that we’ve visited around the world—crystal chandeliers, velvet, marble, and lots of plants.”
The bar was named after a favorite classic cocktail, the Queen’s Park Swizzle, which consists of rum, lime, and sugar on crushed ice with a lush, over-the-top garnish. The drink was created in the late 1920s at the Queen’s Park Hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Newman likes to think of Birmingham’s Queen’s Park as a bar for everyone. “Beyond the fact that creating an atmosphere of inclusivity is important to us, our large selection of cocktails, spirits, beer, and wine means there’s something for everyone on our menu.”
The response has been great with plenty of crowds, as well as recognition beyond the city. Last month, Queen’s Park was named a regional finalist for the Spirited Awards’ Best New American Cocktail Bar award. Only 30 bars in the country received this distinction, and Birmingham was the smallest city on the list.
“I’m really proud of my bar team, because they’re the ones who deserve this award; they push themselves every shift to be better at what they do and to provide an amazing experience to our guests,” Newman says.
A drink sampler from Queen’s Park
Laura’s Dirty Martini:
1.5 oz Beefeater Gin *or* Tito’s Vodka
1 oz olive-infused dry vermouth
.5 oz olive brine
.25 oz manzanilla sherry
2 dashes orange bitters
1.25 oz Flor de Caña 5 Year Rum
.75 oz Appleton Signature Rum
1 oz orgeat
.5 oz lime juice
.25 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
.125 oz 2:1 demerara syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1.5 oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
.5 oz Cocchi Americano
.75 oz egg white
.75 oz honey syrup
.5 oz lime juice
.5 oz pineapple juice