It is with great sadness that I write this: Cafe Bar Scorpio in Astoria, Queens, New York will be closing its doors for the final time at the end of January 2017. Scorpio’s was a staple in Croatian-American culture where everyone within 50 miles of Queens knew where to meet on gameday. There was no, “Hey! Where you watching the Croatia game this weekend?” Like birds during migration, Croatians in the New York area flocked to Scorpio in their checkered jerseys when the Vatreni played.
Team CroatianSports.com had the pleasure of joining in on the fun for the first time during our 2010 and 2011 North American tours.
As a kid growing up in California, you hear of all the great stories your fellow Croatian friends have had at Scorpio’s.
“It was such an epic night!”
“You won’t believe this Croatian bar they have in New York!”
“I wish there was a Scorpio in my city!”
Being from Los Angeles, I knew I had to rally the troops to complete our passage to the holy land as Croatian supporters. And that passage lead through the front doors of Scorpio.
The vibe was incredible on game days. The booze was always flowing. And owner Denis Lisica always treated you as a friend you knew for years.
Whether Croatian or not, there’s no bar quite like it. Sure, the floors were sticky (because more alcohol was spilt than drank) and you had to snake your way into the bathroom during halftime, but all of that added to an atmosphere that could only be rivaled by actually being at the game.
When you finally break through the sidewalk-engulfed cigarette smoke on the 3500 block of Broadway in Astoria and stroll to the bar where a cool Karlovačko is slammed down in front of you: you know you’re home.
Although I can only say that I’ve watched four games at Scorpio, the following video shows that Team CroatianSports.com did it right. This video was taken in September of 2011 when Croatia was facing Malta in a Euro 2012 qualifier. We knew we had something brewing on the website when our Prva Generacija New Yorkers came out to join CSR for the game. Robert Uvanović, Ivica Peroš and Allen19 (he wasn’t outraged quite yet) joined the boys from Southern California for what is still to this day my favorite Croatian watching experience on the television set. When you finally get to party with guys who live across the country and who you’ve only spoken to through comments because you all share the same love for the Vatreni; that’s special.
So to Mr. Denis Lisica,
Thank you for being the most gracious host; not only to the boys that run this website, but to everyone that has walked through your doors. I can confidently say on behalf of all your patrons: “Thank you for creating a home for all of us. A place we could all come together. A place that will live in our memories forever. So to you Mr. Lisica, I say to you one final time: “Živjeli!”
Throughout the week I will post more flashback video of Scorpio and CSR. If you’ve been to Scorpio, share your experiences with a comment below.
Billy Joel – Miami 2017 (Seen the lights go out on Broadway)
Crazy how the bar closes in 2017 and it’s on Broadway.
I guess we’ll really see the lights go out on Broadway.
A mix of good and bad memories here. My favorite goes back to when I was a kid in 98′ after beating Germany 3-0 and arriving outside with my father just after the match to that scene of Broadway being shutdown by a sea of white and red checkers.
Thanks for the memories…well some of them at least.
Perisic saves Inter w 2 goals. Glad to see something finally go in for him. His celebrations more humble after a few games of missing a few easy opportunities.
Pasalic anemic in Ac Milan’s sluggish win. @Maminjo-I am not that optimistic about his game. I don’t see enough fitness or skill to crack our MF, even as a sub. What do you like about his game? I’ll watch a few more games, but not seeing it yet.
Strinic has late-game winning assist for Napoli. My take: he does not hustle back on D. We don’t need that mentality on our team.
Somehow was in that Hamptons for July 4th and had to roll solo and hunt down an Irish pub to watch the match when the English one switched the channel after Brazil match. I almost gave the bartender a beat down.
Cried like a baby BEFORE the match even started.
Then Jarni strike put me into oblivion!
The corner that Scorpio is at will always be remembers by me. When we beat Germany in 98 we all gathered there and shut broadway down. Fuck riot squad came out and arrested a couple of us.
Those were the days. Queensbourgh Community College Croatia club used to meet at Max. Papagalos Hahaha
Every Friday …
Cafe Max … Papagalos.
City on Saturday’s.
Hrvatska Centar as alte alternative.
All 90’s !!!
69 official languages – French, 80 % of the population are busy in agriculture where climate not lets make the simplest savings. Half million children until 5 years, who are starving. Raw material on sale.
Let’s see in other languages.
Anyone old enough to remember cafe Max on Astoria Blvd?
Sad to see the place go. Astoria has turned into a liberal third world shit hole. Even the Greek cafes are gone. Astoria is being pushed as the new gay Mecca to. I grew up there it was a middle to working class town with dominant European flavor.
Now full of Muslims, gays, Hillary Clinton voters paying through the nose in rent.
Good Cro Cop video that!
Here’s a couple of my favourites.
From Toronto – Scroprios was awesome! We were dancing
on the bar a few days before my cousins wedding at God knows what hour. Great place. Always loved going there when I was in NY. Thanks for putting up with my drunkeness Denis. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one!
So Vrsaljko got pulled at the half for Juanfran.
Any idea why?
Lease was up and landlord probably jacked up the rent.
Astoria is right next to Manhattan on a short train ride.
The real estate has shot through the roof.
Also life changes and maybe you want to focus on other things like family etc …
Hrvati have really moved on from Astoria over the last two decades.
Astoria has become less European and more American over the last 20 years.
The memories will live on for thousands of Hrvati who were blessed to have spent some time at Scorpio.
I umm – in the moment of Cro Cop retiring, i really wanna share this awesome vid on YT i found”
ive seen many and i love this one, the losing to Gonzaga and the comeback and brutal win, it’s great – this is pre-Rizin ..
someone needs to make a post-Rizin vid for sure
why is it closing?
Denis Lisica is the best and Scorpio was the place to be back in the day.
You blink and 20 years flies by in an instant.
Scorpio is the only place where I would hang with Stari in NYC.
We would always find a spot within the sea of Dalmatinci crammed in to watch our beloved Vatreni.
The joy of victory was only matched by the despair of defeat.
Nothing in between for us.
Stari was a footballer in his own right and loves talking everything Croatian and especially NOGOMET!
There were some dark times (David Diehl especially), but this place was great. I had so many great memories here. To see Scorpios close down is heart breaking. Been going there since Euro 2008. I’ve watched so many games and met good friends there.
Between hanging out with Denis & Ante in 2011 to getting there at 830 in the morning for Croatia-Turkey last summer, I could go on and on with about the great moments. Euro 2012 playoff qualifier against Turkey was another crazy day. They always knew how to throw a party and people sung their hearts out.
I’m really bummed out about this news. With Veslo closing down in 2014 and now this, there aren’t any Croatian places in Astoria. Armada said it best about those other restaurants. They aren’t Croatian spots. Everything seems so hollow now. Greeks, Italians, and Mexicans are dominating Astoria.
Hate watching Croatia games at my house. Love being in a fun atmosphere with everyone yelling. This is a damn shame. Thank you for all the great times Denis Lisica. You were a great host and always treated me well.
I’ll be going there at some point this month to pay my last respects. Scorpios made watching Croatia games better, especially during some bad times with Stimac and Kovac. Can’t also forget about this past summer either.
All the best to you my friend on the next chapter of your life. You put your heart and soul into Scorpios and we will forever remember our great times in the Croatian capital of the United States.
I still think that someone should take it over and continue the tradition, however, we all know that it wouldn’t be the same without you.
I will forever remember watching Klapa More put on a show…
All the best my friend!
A big time “no country for old men” moment..
ha, don’t remind me
stari se sinko!!!!
Ufff, I’m sound like Ziva, now that I re-read that post.
“Just give me good food options, Wi-Fi, HD video screen for highlights” etc. etc.
hahahaha bozeeeeeee, bozeeeeeeeeeeee
Being someone who has had their fair share of coca cola’s in Skorpio, sad to see it go. Like many, I have memories in there going back to my teens (way before I ever 21).
In terms of a atmosphere during a repka game, it’s really unmatched. Not to sound like a grandpa now (i’m in my early 30’s) but while I didn’t mind the smoking and beer spray after a goal or a win in the earler days, it became a bit much when I was trying to just catch the game, have a few Karlovacko’s and maybe a bite to eat. I know its been closed for a few years now, but Veslo was a better experience for me in terms of catching a game, even though it was owned and frequented by lazy Dalmatinci (I kid).
It’s a bummer that Queens/NYC doesn’t have a dedicated Croatian bar/restaurant for the diaspora to call home. There is still Istra Klub and Rudar Klub, but those aren’t really ‘Croatian’ spots per se – and I’m Istrian and will be the first to admit that.
Hopefully some diaspora out there with a few bucks and has a restaurant background opens up a new place. Some place fun to catch a game – but at the same time, perhaps having a small menu with some traditional favorites?
I was perusing the interwebs just know re: Croat spots in metro NYC. This place came up:
Anyone check it out yet? Menu looks pretty good. At least they have Karlovacko too.