Torch Photo/Megan McCarthy
Hidden away between a local deli and a tiny Chinese food restaurant lies the mysterious, unique and quaint bar called “The Keep” in Ridgewood, Queens.
It is at this antique-themed bar that the writing meetup group “Writing Under the Influence” congregates every Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm for a night of creative writing, good company and funky beers and cocktails.
Upon entering the tall, rustic doorways, I was amazed at all of the incredible antiques standing and hanging along the walls of the bar. The saloon is filled with ancient paintings, statues, mirrors, lamps, tables, chairs and couches of all different shapes and sizes in a room covered in a warm, golden light.
It was easy to identify where the writing group resided once I noticed all the notebooks, pens, papers and laptops huddled nearby one another in one section of the bar.
I soon met “Writing Under the Influence” host Jonathan Rose, who kindly welcomed me to the meet-up and handed me a paper filled with interesting writing prompts. Rose explained that each writing prompt is given 20 minutes until it is time to switch to the next one, although it is really up to your own desire and discretion to choose what you’d like to work on and write about.
So I took the paper, joined a table of other members and began writing using the first prompt offered to help spark some ideas.
Toward the end of the night, I had the opportunity to ask Rose a little bit more about the origin of this welcoming and laid-back writing meet-up. He told me that the group was founded in the summer of 2017 by couple Tian and Guy Vincent, until their U.S. Visas expired and they had to return home to Australia.
“So, I took over hosting with a couple others,” Rose said.
“…We loved it because it offered a low-pressure place for people to make sure they get at least a little writing done each week, meet fellow writers of all types and persuasions and have a few drinks to let the ideas and talk flow,” he said.
“It was too much fun to let it dissolve. You get to meet people you wouldn’t normally meet, have a drink with them and be productive at the same time,” co-host and loyal group member John Bowen said.
“Writing Under the Influence” has gained consistent members who love the energy and environment of the group and choose to come back every week.
This group is also extremely welcoming to new writers of all ages and writing backgrounds. It’s a safe space to let your creativit