A Garden Party at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria

THE COURIER/Photo by Steve Mosco

There is a 100-year-old urban oasis in the middle of Astoria that draws huge crowds of revelers during the warm summer months. This meeting place, the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, provides an outdoor space for people of all ages – a park among city asphalt, an advantage that the venerable spot holds over all the other “beer garden” pretenders.

Larry Spacek, the general manager, said that Bohemian Hall provides the “dirt under your feet” that lets you know you are in an authentic beer garden. But he also said that the Hall is much more than an outdoor summer spot – as it is open during the winter months, offering unique, hearty cuisine that sticks to the ribs and warms the belly.

“This is not for people on a diet,” the genial Spacek said with a smile. “This is typical Czech food – a lot of different influences from surrounding counties, but very tasty and distinctive in its own way, served in a family restaurant.”

Standard starter buffalo wings are available, but be sure to try the Anglicka Slanina, double-smoked bacon with a crunchy pickle; Bramboraky, Czech potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce; and Utopenec, cold spicy marinated knockwurst sausage.

Bohemian Hall’s traditional entrée dishes are the perfect food for the chilly January and February months. What better way to warm up than with roasted ham, beef goulash or a dynamic schnitzel? There is all of that and more at Bohemian Hall.

The Vepro-knedlo-zelo, or roasted ham with sauerkraut and dumplings, is a true old-world dish. Once peasant food, dishes like this represent the hard work and determination of an country filled with people who learned how to get the most out of the least. The Szegedinsky gulas, home style pork, is a food in the same vein – a typical dish of the old world revealed here to a new generation of eaters.

Of course, don’t forget about the beer. Patrons can order half liter mugs or pitchers, with options spanning the globe. Czech Republic and Slovakian beers are available alongside beers from Belgium, Germany and our own country as well. Try the Pilsner Urquell for a beer that will go with just about any dish.

Bohemian Hall is offering the community a place to go for the Super Bowl, too. Dubbed, “The Biggest Tailgating Party in Astoria,” Bohemian Hall will be open for the big game on February 5 and offers free admission, free hot dogs and a wing special while the game plays in the Main Hall on a 200-inch high-def screen with surround sound.

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