Czech It Out: Swanky Beer Hall Coming to Yorkville

By Amy Zimmer on March 28, 2011 2:29pm 

The facade of the Bohemian National Hall at 321 E. 73rd St.
The facade of the Bohemian National Hall at 321 E. 73rd St.
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www.bohemiannationalhall.com

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — In Czech culture, the corner beer hall — or hospoda — is the social center of many neighborhoods.

So, it's only logical that the Bohemian National Hall, a cultural and social center for Czech and Slovak immigrants on East 73rd Street between First and Second avenues, is getting a new restaurant, called Hospoda.

But it's going to be a decidedly high-end hospoda.

The Bohemian National Hall may represent a "significant reminder of the major working-class ethnic enclave that once flourished in Yorkville," and it may stand "as a monument to an important aspect of the history of immigrants in New York City and the United States," as its website states, but its new restaurant is going to be on the high end of the spectrum.

Hospoda may have such upscale delicacies as calf sweetbreads in périgourdine sauce and house smoked beef tongue with baked apple, according to a preview menu listing a $76 prix-fixe dinner that was on line earlier this month but has since been removed from the restaurant's website.

Patrons might also be able to sop up popular and rare Czech beers with beef tartare, garlic soup and cold house smoked pork belly, according to this menu.

The swanky new beer hall will match the glittery $45 million renovation of the Upper East Side institution's historic home in 2008 — courtesy of the Czech government, which took it over in 2001. The building is one of the rare survivors of the many social halls built in the city during the 19th century.

The restaurant did not want to divulge details about the opening, saying to check back in a month. But the "soon-to-be opened fine dining restaurant located at the Bohemian National Hall" has been flooding job boards looking for a rôtisseur, saucier, waiters and other positions.

"The restaurant's unique gastronomic concept will be based on two strong elements which complement each other," a Craigslist ad stated, "a contemporary Czech cuisine and a distinctive Czech beer culture."

Czech beer
Czech beer
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Flickr/Daniele Muscetta

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