Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bohemian Hall Beer Garden & You

Yom Kippur only comes 'round once a year. But the World Cup, that's even rarer. So for this once-every-four-years occurrence, we decided to pull out all the stops. And pull 'em out we did. Hell, we not only pulled out [those stops], we came all over Saturday's face.

If I were to tell the story Memento-style, the recap would no doubt begin with these numbers: Nearly 11 hours inside, at least 15 pitchers drank, three World Cup games watched, four enormous sausage platters devoured, two large sections of hooaagie (Philly spelling) eaten, two rock hard bagels picked at, three packs of smokes and a bunch of one-ys inhaled. That doesn't include the horsey-strong Bloody Marys, the plates of nachos or the somehow requisite shrimp tacos we grabbed at Daddy-O in the West Village on the way home.

Obviously your faithful narrator passed out on the couch at 8:30 on a Saturday night. Small price to pay for a Day For the Ages.

Donnie, Nickjimmy, Hoobs (seen here in the center issuing first-class tickets to the Guns Show) and I decided it'd be best to arrive at this New York-renowned Czech beer garden early, as to secure viable seats and watch all three games uninterrupted. Little did we expect the bar to be closed and only two other patrons awaiting entry. As you can see below, we wastedly watched about 500 people trickle in throughout the day like urine from a prostate cancer sufferer.

Most of the late-arriving Czechs showed up to their home turf just before the Ghana-Czechs match started (noon), well behind a solid crew of anxious Americans. Many of these Czechs toted airhorns, and having been drinking heady European beer for three hours already, the initial blasts were equally startling and uplifting -- a very similar experience to situating your junk in front of the jacuzzi stream.

After a relatively uneventful Portugal win over Persia, an underdog Ghana squadron took a 1-0 lead over the Czechs just a minute into the match. Our pro-American section sprung to its feet and cheered from instinct. Most of us didn't care if we were rooting against the supposed home team and clearly outnumbered, but I had a brief visualization of them shutting the doors and the leader in the Rosicky jersey saying "Now youse can't leave."

The man pictured here on the right is Ghana Guy, the bonafide hero of the day. This nice man woke up in the morning, put on a soccer jersey, came to the beer garden and walked out a legend. Americans mobbed him after Ghana's 2-0 victory over the Czechs, helping the U.S. team control its own fate towards the second round. All for putting on the right shirt, Ghana Guy received numerous standing ovations, posed for pictures and even signed a few autographs. It's entirely possible the last time he received so much attention from white Americans involved relief workers and red crosses.

Maybe it was all the beer and Euro-type atmosphere, but the food in that place was awesome. I mean, I probably would have eaten a big pile of platypus dung had our waitress brought a plate over, but the enormous sausages with piles of kraut certainly did the trick.

We were lucky to snag the waitress, though, as the food line took forever. Our new Czech friend Milan's Columbian wife went to get some food in between the second and third games and she didn't come back for over an hour. Hoobs, perhaps crossing the line -- perhaps -- suspected that someone might be sexually assaulting her in the bathroom. We couldn't know for sure. Maybe it was Ghana Guy.

Bart Starbux substituted himself into the bar just before U.S. game time, providing us with a fresh set of legs for the game. Immediately he paid dividends, bringing over four pitchers and ransacking the sausage we couldn't finish. He also offered some perspective on the day, leading to this exchange:

Bux: You guys have been here drinkin' col' beers all day...this is the type of waitress that must be looking progressively better and better to you as the day goes on.

Ace: She's hot.

And despite two bullshit cards, despite losing a goal to an offsides penalty, despite being overmatched by one of the best teams in the world, the United States held its own and tied Italy, giving ourselves a good chance at moving on to the second round. It was truly incredible to watch it all unfold with scores of U.S. soccer fans in true European fashion. How very Junefest of us.

Random pic: I call this hazardly drunken shot, "Czech Out Those Jugs"

To help you feel like your life is as cool as mine, I took two short videos of the scene at Bohemian Hill: First, Ghana misses a penalty shot to the dismay of the American section of the bar; second, I surveyed the scene panoramically and came up with this video.

I'll sum this up with one picture rather than more of my foolish words. When your table looks like this at the end of the day...

...you know you've just banged Saturday in the arse. All bets, off.


At 1:01 PM, Blogger Matty Mac said...

I like the effect of having an empty ashtray but a plate of leftover sausage, cigarette butts and ashes.

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Yeah, that reflects the Good Times Quotient.

At 2:50 PM, Blogger jakezebra said...

: perfect together.

At 5:34 PM, Anonymous JMoooooooooneeeeey said...

the best/worst thing about the beer garden is patiently waiting on line for a while to get beer and finally getting up to the bar only to have some czech dude stroll right up to the front behind you and order a beer in czech and get served right away as the beertender passes it right over your head.

also a few years ago they changed the pricing so it's cheaper to buy mugs instead of pitchers.. but harder to carry back.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger NewmRadio said...

Hilarious stuff!

At 9:37 PM, Anonymous ChefRa said...

What a great place! My boys and I caught Antibalas and Galactic there back in 2000(?). Maybe it was 1999. Who the fuck cares. The place has great beer and the sausages are the perfect medicine. If I wasn't at the 'Roo, I would be extremely jealous.

At 11:39 PM, Blogger Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Looking in the background of the Ghana Guy picture, I can see how everyone was loving him. Awesome!

At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Message from "the Ghana Guy"

Well I certainly appreciate making it to your blog. It was quite an afternoon for my friends and I. When they first suggested the beer garden, I thought they were performing some social experiment on human survival. But the experience was quite the opposite. I was overwhelmed by the support and kind words from everybody, Americans, Czechs, and everybody else. I was also proud to see Ghana do well on a world stage. I bought that shirt when I was in Ghana over the Christmas holidays but never expected it would bring me so much attention.

I just want to add that, while many images of Africa on TV tend to be negative (war, poverty, famine, etc...), it is not the case everywhere. And not everyone who comes from Africa is some refugee (by the way I am a senior researcher for a major pharmaceutical company). In fact Ghana is one of those countries whose economy is doing well and while it is no USA, it is not war torn and famine stricken.
Here is a link that highlights some of the positive things going on in Africa if you are interested.


I had a great time on saturday. I enjoyed the beer, the people and the gamew, and will definitely be going back!

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

Ghana Guy (and for purposes here I'll assume your identity is not being compromised)...

Glad you enjoyed the mention of your presene and that you're not blown away by the overwhleming casual racism on my part. To me, it's just comedy, I don't mean harm, and I'm glad you were so graceful about throwing out some general misconceptions about the region.

It's been an incredible run for Ghana, and I can only hope they pull off the most memorable upset in World Cup history. Go for it.

Hope to run into you some time at future celebratory events...

At 12:48 AM, Blogger Mridula said...

And the Ghana guy is here too:


At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was one of the guys there before you - that's my friend in the red, wishing he'd gotten tix to the gun show. Best place to watch the games in NY, period. Even if our guys played a determinedly uninspired tournament.

Ghana Man was the very model of fandom.


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