BY BETH KAISERMAN
There are many ways to spend a relaxing spring evening. Sipping suds in New York City’s oldest beer garden is one of the most refreshing options.
Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, 29-19 24th Ave. in Astoria, boasts a huge outdoor beer garden, refreshing beer pitchers and authentic Czech food. While no beer games are allowed, competitive souls can meet at the ping pong tables in the back of the beer hall.
Those who prefer sitting can plop down at a picnic table outside, where we enjoyed some Friday night jazz. My companion and I both ordered the baked palacinka, baked crepes with melted munster cheese, spinach and mushrooms. You have the option of chicken or vegetable, and I went for the chicken. We paired the meal with an ice-cold pitcher of Staropramen, a crisp and light Czech beer.
I wanted to try something completely different from what I normally eat, and achieved that by ordering this dish. It was creamy and rich, covered in a light, gravy-type sauce.
A downside of the dish was the lack of mushrooms; it only had two and would’ve been really tasty with more. The spinach was very flavorful throughout, so the dish is ideal for spinach fans.
The other drawback was it wasn’t that filling.
It would definitely be fun to go back and share some foods to get a variety of tastes. I’d especially like to try the schnitzel and pierogi, which I loved as a kid in Pittsburgh.
For the beer, you can get a half-liter mug for $5, but it’s more worthwhile to split a pitcher for $15. Beer options include choices from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belgium, Germany and the U.S. There are also Czech cocktails and drinks, such as Slivovice, the traditional Czech plum brandy.
The garden celebrates its 100-year anniversary this year. The beer hall hosts a variety of events reflecting Astoria’s diverse ethnicities, and it’s a great place to hang out with friends when the weather is nice. It got a bit too cold after a while, but I can’t wait to go back to chill out once the warm weather returns.