Apr 14, 2010

Beer Garden vs. Beer Garden – Who Wins?

We Astorians are truly lucky.  Not only do we live in one of the most diverse, lively neighborhoods in the U.S., graced with a plethora of exciting restaurants and watering (…)

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We Astorians are truly lucky.  Not only do we live in one of the most diverse, lively neighborhoods in the U.S., graced with a plethora of exciting restaurants and watering holes, we also enjoy having not one but two outdoor beer gardens.  I’m sure that you (as most Queens and Manhattan residents) are very familiar with both of them.  One is old (the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden) and the other is brand new (Studio Square Beer Garden). But regardless of age, both stand out in their own way.   We happen to heart both for different reasons, which we’ll go into now.

Beer Garden vs. Beer Garden – Who Wins?

First, let’s talk about the legendary Bohemian Hall.

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden (29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria 718.728.9278) – To say that Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden is a beloved place to gather, drink and schmooze is an understatement–this place is a true Astorian institution and has been one for 100 years.  You can always count on the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden to have a great time, whether for a music festival, in honor of a sporting event such as the World Cup or for enjoying a casual Friday night get-together with friends.

Bohemian Hall packs several hundred people in their extensive outdoor garden in warm spring and summer months.  The outdoor garden officially opens after Labor Day but you can go out there anytime and enjoy drinks and food, but just know that the outdoor bar and food service won’t be available yet.  Their change in management over the past year has really done wonders for customer service.  While this used to a major point of weakness and service was so horrendous that you had to literally chase down a waitress to order food, there is now an organized waitstaff that services all tables.  And get this…beer is delivered to your table.

What We Heart:

  1. Large selection of imported beers, especially Czech and Slovak varieties such as Staropramen, Krusovice, Pilsner Urquell and Golden Pheasant
  2. The food is authentic, Czech and Slovak fare including classic beef goulash, potato pancakes, a bread dumpling called knedlik, spaetzle with sauerkraut and bacon and so much more
  3. Prices are moderate and pitchers of beer will set you back $15
  4. Staff is friendly and boisterous – they often sing along to the Czech/Slovak music. It’s fun to watch!

What We Don’t Heart:

  1. Lines to get in can get really long during warm months, so get there as early as you can to grab a table
  2. They’re really strict about bringing in outside food – so if you’re thinking of bringing in a birthday cake for a party, I’d strongly reconsider
  3. Indoor space is very limited and if the weather isn’t cooperating, you’re pretty much out of luck

And now…Studio Square:

Studio Square Beer Garden (35-33 36th Street, Astoria 718.383.1001)- Although this gargantuan outdoor and partially indoor beer garden is still a newcomer to Astoria/LIC it’s certainly making a big splash (pun intended).  The inspiration is German, coupled with modern touches such as artwork by graffiti artist “KR One,” a sleek outdoor stone fire pit and a rich wooden bar made from African Wenge Wood.

Over the past year, Manhattanites have been quickly adopting this beer garden as their go-to place, as it’s technically 3 subway stops closer than Bohemian Hall.   It’s been the home of many fun events such as live music festivals, karaoke nights and even poker tournaments.  I personally like this beer garden a lot because of its great indoor space alternative.  When the weather starts to warm up and we Astorians get over-excited and head to the beer garden, it’s nice to know that when you’re getting a bit chilly, you can sip your brewski inside as well.

What We Heart:

  1. Amazing beer selection of international and domestic brews including some micro brews such as Magic Hat #9 and Racer 5 IPA.  They even have a gluten-free beer called Green’s Discovery.
  2. A really nice variety of grilled foods from burgers, kolbase, pulled pork sandwiches and even chicken souvlaki.  You can eat healthy when you come here!
  3. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, they serve fun, festive cupcakes and even candles.  What haven’t they thought of?!
  4. Really clean, nice, individual rest rooms

What We Don’t Heart:

  1. The prices of beer – they’re kind of expensive at $18 per pitcher
  2. Food lines can get long during warm summer months and you can expect to wait at least 15 minutes for some grub
  3. They don’t take credit cards so have your cash handy

So what do you think? Who wins? Which beer garden do you heart more and why?



Bohemian’s outdoor garden is more likely open after Memorial Day (vs Labor Day mentioned in the post)… ;)


okkichan, that thread is very interesting to me because I was unaware of the baseball hat policy until daisy posted about it.

I think the two beer gardens differ just enough so that there is something for everyone. I think the reverse-BAT crowd likes Studio Square because of its closer proximity to their boroughs, plus it caters to a younger crowd. Bohemian is a little further into Astoria, and at least on the days I’ve been there recently, the crowd has a larger diversity in age, plus it’s very child-friendly during the daytime (not sure if Studio Square is). Last Sunday I saw lots of parents and their kids, in multi-generational groups. It was nice.

Last Sunday afternoon I was surprised that Bohemian wasn’t as crowded as I would have expected it to be, judging from years past. Not that it’s an issue for me – I like it when it’s not super crowded and you can actually have a conversation with the people in your group. I wonder if Studio Square has taken away some of their business or are they accommodating light crowds as well? Time will tell and we’ll really be able to gauge it this summer.


I heart Bohemian! It’s more affordable, authentic, and walking distance from my house ;)

I’ve been to S2, and was only impressed with the bathrooms. The even had security pointing people towards the next available one, girls you know how nice it is to have quick moving lines! $18 for a pitcher (plus tips) is too much. Also, now there’s all this bru-ha-ha about S2’s no hat policy ( Beer gardens with too many rules are just clubs with picnic tables, no? Just let us drink our beer in the sun :)


bohemian beer hall has more of a neighborhood feel to it. studio square feels like it should be inside of a costco.


I hear ya guys. But I do think both have their advantages and disadvantages. I love Bohemian because I can talk Slovak to the employees. Makes me feel like I’m at home!


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