Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

NYC history lesson: this is the oldest beer garden in New York. It's been open since 1910.
My family history lesson: my parents had their first date here. 
With the knowledge of these two things one summer day I made the trek from Brooklyn. Basically taking the R train it's entire length. Joe came too and we were dressed all in white for a white party later that night. 

It was the Czech Festival at the Beer Garden. So it was packed. I expected tall blonde women smoking cigarettes. And tall dark men. Also smoking cigarettes. Lots of cigarettes. Like Casablanca. Even though that was in Morocco. And she was a brunette. And a gin joint is nothing like a beer garden. But that guy was Czech. And I like that movie.

The actual place was nothing like I expected it to be. Or like Rick's. There was some smoking but it was a packed place. Body to body. And there was a wide mix of people. Local cheap drunk crazies. A toothless guy talked to me about some nonsense every time I was left alone. I wasn't drunk enough to get into it yet  though. There were a lot of families. This Czech festival is a cultural and community celebration more than a drinking event. There was a stage set up and a program. It was like a grade school talent show.

The most memorable part of the talent show was the gymnastics routine. There was lots of flipping. And comical crotch bulges. I was actually in the front row. Not planned that way but the organizers threw the last mat down in front of me. I guess I'd have been on catcher duty if somebody somersaulted or shoulder rolled too far. How do you appropriately catch a scantily clad pre-teen girl? Or a jacked guy with a crotch bulge big enough to knock over a well rooted tree? I think I would have let them cartwheel past me into the crowd. I didn't go to the Beer Garden to feel sexually confused in front of a few hundred non smokers. I came to honor my dead parents while dressed like ghosts with my brother.

I'm assuming most of this is unusual for the Beer Garden.  There are some constants that I experienced though. The beer was good. If you like good beer. It's either dark or light. That's how you order it. I think. I mean that's how I did it. By the end I was just pointing. Speechless by how drunk I was. Strong beer always sneaks up on me. I'm too distracted bitching about how bad it tastes and trying to shake off bitter beer face.

The food was good too. Chicken schnitzel and it came in a massive portion. I had to split it to save room for the beer. There was some potato salad with it as well.  It was awesome. How's that for a food review? Pick up a Zagat's dude. I'm here to get drunk.

Good food
Strong beer

Crowded. We stood almost the entire time.
Children. I feel weird partying in front of babies. Escape From Park Slope you know?

CONCLUSION: Drinking outside is fun. Anything outside is fun. It's primal. We're cave people. Circling the opposite sex. Getting dirty. Looking for shade. Listening to Lisa Loeb on our iPads while writing blog entries. I'd come back here. Preferably not dressed all in white. With my retro sunglasses and white headband I looked like I was in a hipster wedding party.


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