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First Chance's Beer Garden mixes people and drinks

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1999-04-16

Looking for a place to get a cold beer this summer? Want to meet some new people? Check out First Chance's Beer Garden located on Gate 2 Street.

What's so special about this place? Well, for starters it's outdoors. The Beer Garden is situated on a roof top. There is nothing fancy about this bar, but if you like your beer outside as the sun goes down, then head on upstairs and join the summer time crowd. You will find a beach style bar with plenty of people sitting and standing, talking and having a good time. Bikers, bankers, locals, and foreigners; all kinds of people rub elbows with each other up at the Beer Garden. Wooden benches and tables surround the bar for small groups of friends. Music from the Eagles and Clapton fill the breezy air.

The draft beer flows from two taps - Heineken for imported beer drinkers and Orion for islanders. The Heineken draft pours for $6 (・700) a mug, while the Orion goes for $5 (・600). If you are a bottle beer drinker, there's a variety of different brands stocked in the frig. Dos Equis, Corona, Guiness, and Sapporo can be popped open for $6 (・700), while Miller and Lite will cool you off at $4 (・500). Cocktails and shots will cost you around $5 (・600) each.

If you see a tall American, hair tied back with a Harley t-shirt on, you've probably spotted "Al". He's the manager. Al is as laid back as the rest of the crowd. "Everyone up here is friendly," he told me. "You don't have to worry about any fights here. Everyone is here to have a good time."

Despite the tough image from the motorcycles parked downstairs and the biker crowd that hangs out at "First Chance Last Chance" on the second floor, the Beer Garden is anything but a "tough" hang out. The mixed crowd should make you feel at home right away. Just sit, relax, and order your favorite drink.

Al will make sure you're taken care of, and if you get hungry just ask the bar tender for one of the menus from the many surrounding restaurants. They have them stacked behind the bar. You can order up some sushi, or bite into a slice of pizza. The food will be delivered right to your drinking spot.

On Thursdays you can catch the sounds of "Full Circle." Doug, Roger, and Scott make up the band and the trio plays a variety of songs by James Taylor, Jim Croce, Clapton, and Dylan, plus a whole bunch of tunes from other great artists - all acoustic to match the island atmosphere.

"Full Circle" is definitely a nice ingredient to the recipe the Beer Garden provides for its customers. Their easy listening sounds put you in the right mood, and they take requests from the audience.

Al plans on having more live music on Friday and Saturday nights as the summer approaches. Although the Beer Garden is currently only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, Al said that by June the hours will extend to the day time and Sunday nights. He said that he hopes the bar becomes a friendly gathering place for people after work looking to enjoy themselves. The Beer Garden can also be rented for private parties.

To find the Beer Garden, head out Gate 2 and walk along the left side of the street. Look for the "First Chance Last Chance" sign on the second floor just before the diner "Ocean." Head up the stairs and through the bar to the back stairs, which will take you up to the roof. For information on group parties, call 938-2980 and ask for either Al or Yasuko.

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