Blog: Sweet Tea City's BBQ Tailgate
Despite being a late September afternoon, it seemed that warm weather had turned the calendar back to August as temperatures soared toward 80 degrees. And we found ourselves in familiar territory- at the Upper West Side’s finest waterfront space, the Boat Basin Cafe. The seasonal outdoor venue would play host to the second of two September events courtesy of the “BBQ Tailgate Series,” hosted by the folks at Sweet Tea City, focused on bringing Southern traditions to us Yankee folk up north.
Back in May, Sweet Tea City opened the summer of 2013 in style with their annual charitable endeavor “Crawfish for Cancer,” bringing hundreds of hungry patrons out to the Boat Basin for hours of unlimited beer and cocktails, coupled with the fiery cajun preparation of potatoes, sausages, and tasty cracks of crawfish. Fast forward to this past Saturday and the fun and festive outdoor vibe was back with live music, refreshingly prepared drinks, and some tasty helpings of barbecue, hand prepared by the renowned Blue Smoke. In place of the boiled crawfish, mounds of cole slaw, juicy trays of pulled pork, baked beans, and plate after plate of mouthwatering bratwurst all made their way to the help-yourself tables.
Nearby, games of beer pong were drawing in throngs of players competitively alternating between drinking up and trying to be victorious. But the most fun portion of the afternoon took place on the elevated outdoor podium that makes the Boat Basin so truly unique as groups of friends gathered to kick back and catch up in the last remaining hours of summertime sunshine. Sipping on southern style “Sweet Tea Cocktails,” the hours flew by between repeated trips to the food station. Meanwhile, the band was rocking out to cover tracks by the likes of The Allman Brothers Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and The Band, while the rest of us bobbed our heads or sang alongside each familiar classic rock track.
But a “BBQ Tailgate” wouldn’t be appropriate without games to watch and as such, tented areas were erected all over the Basin’s outdoor space, each housing a massive flatscreen television showing all of the day’s biggest NCAA games. Whether decorated by your favorite college t-shirt or a southern inspired plaid-laden outfit, everyone was welcomed with open arms at the final “BBQ Tailgate Series” event of September. The tasty drinks, good music, delectable eats all complimented the open air experience that only the Boat Basin Cafe is able to provide. And although we are native to the area, the fare and more importantly the Southern manners that we encountered all day, had us longing for the likes of staring at dewdrops and honeysuckle on some imaginary front porch, rocking in a rocking chair, sipping on mint juleps and living the good life.
- Jane Van Arsdale