This week’s Give Me Astoria Human of the Week is Evan Roumeliotis. You might know him as the owner of local favorite Sparrow Tavern, newcomer Mar’s Oyster Bar, and tattoo shop The Queens Ink, or as one of the talented masterminds behind the bi-annual film extravaganza we love– The Sparrow Film Project.
Are you aware you give off a hipster Matrix vibe?
I’ve been called everything from Rasputin to…that.
What look are you going for?
I just decided to simplify life and wear all black. It’s a little OCD. It’s mostly black…slightly white. I’m always ready for a wedding. Or a funeral.
Cool. So, you run The Sparrow Film Project, do you have a favorite film?
I don’t pick favorites! It depends on the moment. I don’t dedicate much time to films, I don’t watch TV. Actually, I don’t even have a TV.
WHAT. Okay, what’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
There’s too many! That’s why I don’t bother.
Along with the film project, you also have The Sparrow Tavern. Why the name Sparrow?
It’s a funny story– I never liked the name Sparrow. I had a partner at the time, and we were sitting around playing the name game, and someone threw out Sparrow. He says it was me, and I say it was him. Neither of us liked it. So, one day a few months later, we’re playing the game again, and this musician Nick Cave is playing in the background. My first bar was named Tupelo after a Nick Cave song. So, I pick up the phone to call my partner and tell him the name I’ve picked, an as I’m dialing I hear the song continue in the background “….and she moves among the sparrows.” It was like the universe decided for me so I just HAD to stick with the name.
What about Mar’s? Where did that name come from?
That’s easy– my daughters initials. Maria Amelie Roumeliotis. It also means “the sea” in Latin.
What’s the difference between Mar’s and Sparrow?
Aesthetically, they’re very different. Mar’s is like the “grown up” version of Sparrow. It’s more refined in every way– from the music, to the food and the mood. Sparrow has a different vibe.
What’s a weekend in your life like?
Every other weekend you can find me with my daughter. Otherwise, I play guitar when I’m home alone and I write music. I also spend a lot of time travelling and collecting objects.
What kind of objects?
Antiques, usually. Just aesthetically pleasing objects. Artifacts. For personal use, and for decorating my next bar. Mar’s is completely built out of stuff I found in the Tri-state area.
Did you do the interior design for Mar’s and Sparrow?
I did. It’s always been something I had a passion for, and it’s my biggest joy. I’ve had designing in me since I was a little kid.
Are you opening up any more restaurants?
I’m actually going to be opening a new bar in three months, and an antique store. The store will be called Pragmata– it means things in Greek. It will be full of the objects I find interesting, everything from home furnishings to vintage guitars, and it’s going to be right next door to my tattoo shop.