Astoria Battle of the Beards crowns first champion

Battle of the Beards
THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Face fuzz from near and far made its way to Astoria to try and win the title of best of the beards.

The Quays, a corner bar that has been located at 45-02 30th Ave. for over 40 years, hosted the western Queens neighborhood’s inaugural Battle of the Beards on Tuesday, April 8, during a night filled with local music and drinks.

A total of 23 competitors tricked out their facial hair, from full-grown beards to mustaches.


James Albertelli, 50, came representing the Gotham City Beard Alliance to take part in his first competition.

“I haven’t seen my chin in 12 years,” said the Flushing native who now lives in Manhattan. “I hate to shave. It’s easier to grow it.”

Other competitors included Adam Bierton, who has held titles for his stylish mustache, and retired journalist Robert Mullen, also known as “Hollywood Bob.”

The concept of the event and contest came together after members of the local Astoria band The Green Gallows worked together with Tim House, who co-owns The Quays with Dee Flattery, to put together a show. The contest was inspired by band member Sean Ryan Donnelly’s beard.

“Sean has such a great beard and it’s that time of year when people want to shave off their beards,” said Adam Steiner, lead vocalist for The Green Gallows. “It’s a great farewell to winter.”

The other members of the band are Astoria residents Blake Adam “Double Wide” Smith and Cara Cooley.

The night began with performances from Beecher’s Fault, Robbie Cook and The Green Gallows.

After the performances, the first group of beards and mustaches was judged by audience applause. After two more rounds of judging, the final three came down to first place winner Dan Roberts, The Green Gallows’ Donnelly, who snatched second, and Guido Cappello, who took home third.

“To win is great but to win in New York is even better. Here is home. It brings a lot of emotion. It makes me feel so good,” said Roberts, who is from Mattituck, New York, and is one of the founding members of the Long Island Beard & Mustache Society. “It’s not about having a beard. It’s all about having a good time.”

Roberts, who has been growing his winning beard for almost three years and has taken part in various national competitions, took home an aged bottle of Jameson whiskey and a pair of Mets tickets.

The owners of the Astoria bar plan to continue with the competition for the following year and perhaps also add a separate mustache contest to the list of events.

“People came from miles around, and a lot of new blood came to the bar,” House said. “I want the talent to gravitate here.”

The Quays has been the backdrop for a scene in 1993’s “A Bronx Tale” and, most recently, the pilot episode of CBS’s “Elementary.”