November NYC Spots

This month’s column focuses on the land in between places—Queens. Sometimes overshadowed by Brooklyn’s beauty and hipness, Queens has its share of offerings for our jaunts westward.

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria

Though the garden’s outdoor umbrellas sport the typical corporate endorsements, the conversations at this popular Astoria hang lean toward the…well…bohemian. And because the Czech and Slovak Benevolent Society have owned it for the past 100 years, expect delicious imports and a healthy share of klobasa. During the colder months, the garden (and its myriad of jazzy/gypsy/bluesy musical acts) is open on a “weather permitting” basis. With what seems like a million park tables, endless taps, and animated personas decorating the place, the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden’s three-ring circus is, perhaps, beer’s greatest show on earth—or at least New York City.

Lic Bar
4558 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City

We reap the benefits of Music Event Coordinator Gustavo Rodriguez’s hard work. He has done an excellent job as curator of the entertainment at this turn-of-the-century saloon replete with original wooden bar counter, brick walls and what looks like an ornately designed ceiling made of tin. This place is the real deal. It’s got cool amber hues, a castle door connecting the garden to the street, gorgeous weeping willows hanging around, and good vibes swirling about. It’s also got Richard Julian, one of the city’s best songwriters, every Monday in November.

The Diving Bell
45-15 Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside

What I liked about The Diving Bell—which is tucked snugly underneath the El train in burgeoning Sunnyside—is its relaxed, blue collar, everyman atmosphere. You’ll find laptops, office parties, Monday Night Football enthusiasts, songwriters, artists and everything in between. You’ll also find friendly bartenders and live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The weekends are reserved for the ubiquitous cover bands that we’re used to east of Sunnyside, but Thursdays highlight up-and-coming original artists in the area and beyond.

alan semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian is a writer, musician, English teacher, and occasional visual artist. Besides LI Pulse, his work has appeared in Newsday, Adbusters, Chain, The Lyric Review and numerous other print and online publications, anthologies, and chapbooks. His first full-length book of poetry is In the Architecture of Bone (Genpop Books 2009). You can visit him digitally at and find out about his music at