Located just above Astoria (and sometimes considered part of it), the neighborhood of Ditmars-Steinway occupies the northwestern tip of Queens and is known in equal measure for the Steinway & Sons piano factory and the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. Occupying a huge space, including an open air yard along Ditmars Boulevard, Bohemian Hall has been a neighborhood fixture for over 100 years.
Here, we’ll take a look at the Hall’s history and the role it’s played in the neighborhood over its many years of operation.
A cornerstone of the community
Bohemian Hall, as it was initially known, was built in 1910 with funding from the Bohemian Citizens’ Benevolent Society of Astoria, an organization of people of Czech and Slovak descent. The Society drew its name from Bohemia, the medieval kingdom that once stood where the western region of the Czech Republic is now. The Hall provided a center of community for the recently arrived Austro-Hungarian emigrants to New York, offering them a space to gather and honor their traditions.
The Society still owns and operates the Hall and Beer Garden to this day, maintaining its Czech roots and upholding its traditions over the decades.
An Astoria attraction
Nowadays, the Hall and Beer Garden attract those with and without Czech ancestry. With its extensive list of beers on tap, enormous yard, and yearly Oktoberfest celebrations, it’s a lovely spot for a drink, especially if you bring enough friends to fill one of the Garden’s picnic tables (kids are welcome in the Beer Garden, as well). If you go on a weekend afternoon, be prepared to join a throng of people, especially if the weather is nice, or a soccer game is on (Bohemian Beer Garden made The Infatuation’s list of the city’s best places to watch sports outside).
While its impressive draft list rightfully gets top billing, the Garden’s food menu is not to be missed, either. In addition to the requisite array of bratwursts and sausages, you can enjoy distinctively Czech favorites like pierogies, schnitzel, and smazak (which translates to fried cheese).
In a city with plenty of beer gardens to visit, Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden stands out for its welcoming space, historic standing within the neighborhood, and authentic Czech heritage.
A hotspot waiting to reopen
This past summer, Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden lost its liquor license and closed due to safety violations related to the coronavirus pandemic. If you wish to support the business in the meantime, you can order a gift card and look forward to redeeming it on the famous pilsners and brats just as soon as it’s safe to stop by.