I’d heard the “new” beer garden in Astoria (new in that it was created a few years ago, vs. the old beer garden that was, up until a few years ago, the only reason most Manhattanites had even heard of the neighborhood) was more club-like and less hanging-out-in-a-backyard-like. From the moment I walked in and had my ID scanned at the door, as well as my bag checked, I understood why Studio Square has that reputation.
However, if you hang out at the tables near the door and play board games all evening on a depressingly pouring Saturday night, you’ll experience a perfectly decent atmosphere. Especially when you find out that 2 hot dogs and fries cost $6. Granted, they’re generic hot dogs and fries and not even worth the 6 bucks, but they fill you up and satisfy your ketchup craving for the time being, so they’ll do.
Now, if you venture past the restrooms into the giant indoor beer garden portion of the building, you’ll find a dance party straight from New Jersey, complete with pumping fists. But you don’t need to go over there except to pick up your food. You’re just fine in the low-key entrance to the bar.
If it’s nice outside, the outdoor space at Studio Square is probably nice, but you wouldn’t know because you chose to visit on the day the city was visited by record rainfall for the year.