“where everybody knows your name…”
We all know that bar. You are a regular. The bartenders and waitstaff know you. You even have a favorite booth or table or bar stool.
I’m not quite on that intimate a level with this particular bar. I mean, come on, it was my first time there. But I don’t see it as being my last.
The bar in question is in Queens. Astoria to be exact. Not exactly my usual stomping ground.
The night started in the Bohemian Beer Garden. Any New Yorker worth their salt know of it. Not the new-ish one that opened a year or so ago, but the old standard located on 24th Street. A casual friend, P, coordinated a beer garden night to celebrate his return to the area after being away for a year – Fulbright Scholarship teaching in Slovakia and some other travels. It was an eclectic group. I only knew four of the other dozen people aside from the host. But everyone was friendly and there were lots of foreign accents to make conversations fun to listen to. (I’m a sucker for an accent). Of course, on Friday night it was pretty cold out. We were able to stick it out for 3 hours before we needed to either head back into the city (as the Fins and Brits did) or make our way to a friend’s older brother’s bar two blocks away.
We chose the closer option and went to Ditmars Station (it’s located right under the Ditmars Station of the N/Q trains.
We walk into Ditmars and the Cheers theme song all but starts playing. We instantly see our friend, C, and some of her family (she is one of 8 children). She’s sitting in a booth with her youngest sister and her parents and her brother, M, who owns the bar, is flittering about. One friend, S, spots some girls he knows sitting in a booth nearby. In the back room, we find J’s sister, who lives in Astoria and was there by coincidence. So, after being introduced to S’ friends, I officially know people sitting in 4 booths scattered around the restaurant – all separate parties. It was bizarre that we all just happened to be there – aside from C and her family, of course.
It’s a cute place. It has tasty food and good beers on tap. And now that I know C’s brother (I’d just heard of him before), I will definitely go back to watch a game and have a chill night or afternoon (depending on the game). It’s a bit out of the way, but since I know so many people who live in the ‘hood, I definitely see myself there more. Especially if C is there, cause she’s just a hoot.