What better way to spend a summer day than to cozy up under a shade tree and slowly sip down a tasty Czech brew? That was my agenda yesterday as I took the N train about 12 minutes from 59th and Lex to New York City's last authentic Beer Garden, Bohemian Hall in Astoria. As I stepped in to the ample park like grounds (the beer garden capacity is 900), it was as if I was stepping into a different time and place. The time would be the early 1900's and the place would be the former republic of Czechoslovakia. The wide open garden surrounded by 10 foot walls and filled with mature trees and countless picnic tables was serene and inviting (if you are not snobby). The crowd reflected the wide diversity of the community with young and old alike sharing in their enjoyment of a true Czech experience.
Bohemian Hall has stood for 98 years and from the looks of the 100 or so people drinking and noshing at 6 pm on a Wednesday night, I suspect it will survive and thrive for many more. There is a wide selection of Czech and Slovak brew from Pilsner Urquell to Spaten to even more exotic brews. At $14 per pitcher, they go down quite easy I might add. But that's not all! There is a tasty selection of Eastern European food that ranges from Perogies to Kielbasa. I tried the potato perogies with kraut and sour cream which was authentic and tasty.
If you are looking for a relaxing change of pace on a beautiful summer afternoon or evening, Bohemian Hall fits the bill. I for one will be back!