A Real Brew-haha

Why can't Florida's Polish immigrants quaff their native beer? Because the state legislature won't let them, that's why.

The younger immigrants who frequent Tomasik's weekly disco nights and his New Year's Eve party expect the American Polish Club to become a haven for Polish within America, some of the old-timers say. "They come here and don't speak the language, and they try and talk to you in Polish, and if you don't speak Polish they get annoyed," asserts club member Cecelia Notari, whose father emigrated from Poland in the Twenties. "You came to this country because you want to have a better life."

So learn English, she demands. Become citizens. Buy American. Drink Budweiser.

But on Saturday evenings, the dank club with mirrored walls, worn-out carpet, and a crystal ball hanging from the ceiling becomes a hip disco for the young Polish immigrant set. They want to speak their native tongue, and they want their Polish brew. "People are going to be disappointed," Tomasik says with dismay. "A lot of people like the national clubs -- the Italian clubs, the Polish clubs -- and they like drinking their own beers.

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