Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When beer was king in Queens

On a hot summer night, the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria is one of the best places in Queens to knock back a few.

But what many Bohemian Hall revelers likely don't realize - whether they're besotted or just plain tipsy - is that the open-air, beer-drinker's paradise was once one of some 300 beer gardens dotting the Queens landscape.

A toast to Queens of past and its 300 beer gardens

There are three reasons why all but one of Queens' beloved beer gardens disappeared, [Debbie] Van Cura said.

First, they were a German tradition that became unpopular during World War I. Second, just like in modern Queens, developers gobbled up open land. The third reason was Prohibition.

"Nothing puts the kibosh on a beer garden like Prohibition," Van Cura joked.

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