By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
'Big Apple Barbecue Block Party'
Madison Square Park, 23rd to 26th streets between Madison and Park avenues, bigapplebbq.org
Summer in Manhattan is always sticky, but June 1011 in Madison Square Park it will get downright saucy. The Fourth Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party will bring 12 pitmasters from Texas, Alabama, and other Southern states to slather up and grill pork products for $7 a plate. The free pig-in-the-park event also has $4 beers and free entertainment. A prepaid Bubba Fast Pass can be purchased to reduce the time between plates.
The Blue Donkey Bar
48789 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-496-0777
With $3 Stella drafts and a $6 Blue Donkey cocktail, it might be easy to follow this bar's motto, "Act like an ass!" But there's no need to be an Equus asinus on the Blue Donkey Bar's lovely outdoor patio. The bar shares its space with Homer's World Famous, a malt and doughnut shop, from where you can order up six mini-burgers for $4.75 or a dozen pigs in a blanket for $5.75.
Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria, Queens, 718-721-4226
A trip here can be a summertime dream come true: $12 pitchers of Pilsner Urquell, $8 hearty sausages cooked on an outdoor grill, and great conversation under a canopy of leafy trees. This Czech beer garden is a must-do for every New Yorker at least once a summer.
Ladies and gentlemen of all drinking ages, welcome to the four-ring Circus of booze and free hot dogs, popcorn, and peanuts. This newbie shows the love with $3 domestics, $4 imports, $7 to $15 pitchers, and drink specials like $4 rum-and-Cokes. For those frightened by the crying-clown paintings, the back patio has plenty of seating.
With its diver-down flags, picnic tables, and nautical-themed menu board, this outdoor beer-and-burger joint is as comfortable and summery as a well-worn Top-Sider. GYC keeps the grill hot with $2.50 Black Angus dogs, $3.50 veggies dogs, and sausages and burgers costing from $3.75 to $6. They'll even toss you a $4 salad to go with the $17 pitcher of Jever, $2 PBRs, or a $4 Sierra Nevada. Cash is the only seaworthy payment.
Hank's is about boot stompin', cheap-beer drinkin', free-sausage grillin', and country croonin'. The charcoal is hot nearly every day of the week, including the second and fourth Mondays for Live Band Kuntry Karaoke, where all rednecks at the mic get a free shot of Jack. There's also $2 Schaefer on tap and the $5 Pabst-Smir: a can of PBR with a shot of Smirnoff.
What Killmeyer's Old Bavaria Inn lacks in easy accessibility it more than makes up for with its beer garden. The regulars know drinking is a serious undertaking to be done while a live oompah band plays "The Chicken Dance." The garden's outdoor bar has an über-long beer list with such delights as a $6.50 smokebeer. Kielbasa sizzles on the outdoor grill, or you can order from a menu of German staples.
A clambake could be in the cards for those who venture to Laila Lounge on Sundays in June or so we hear. In the meantime, the lounge's back patio has DJs, $4 Bloody Marys, and free meat and veggie dogs every Sunday afternoon. When master griller and bartendar Dave is at the helm, he takes it up a notch with steaks, lamb chops, and grilled greenies.
The multiple TVs, classic-rock jukebox, $3 domestics . . . Last Call is a no-frills dive. But not many bars have a bartender who could double as a hostage negotiator. A few years back Tommy "the Turtle" Damato stepped out from the behind the bar to help the cops talk down a regular who shot at his landlady. The drinkers here are slow to warm up to strangers, but once you've bellied up to the bar a few times, consider the sidewalk grill your own personal George Foreman.
Louie & Ernie's Pizza
1300 Crosby Avenue, Bronx, 718-829-6230
The quest for a Bronx bar with a backyard garden and great food came down to Louie & Ernie's Pizza. This beer-and-pizza joint is serious about its pizza. They don't have no stinkin' hot dogs, no garlic knotsjust pizza. Take your $3 slice of white pizza or a $15.50 clam pie out to the garden, raise your $7.50 carafe of house red, and make a toast to perfect summertime simplicity.
559 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, 718-599-4444
The leafy trellis keeps Metropolitan's backyard cool even on days when the Sunday BBQ party is smokin'-hot with gay boys and girls and their straight friends. Free food for carnivores and vegetarians is grilled and served with sides. The Sunday special of $7 pitchers and $2 pints of Bud/Bud Lite causes even the most haughty beer snobs to throw caution to the wind.
317 Columbia Street, Brooklyn, 718-422-0563, brooklynmoonshine.com