Don Russell, aka Joe Sixpack, answers the question I was afraid to know the answer to, “how are all these beer gardens legal?” Turns out the answer is in an LCB loophole created in a 2012 law change that was meant to make it easier for caterers to operate off-site. What has happened is establishments with liquor licenses have been able to set up beer gardens that operate as catering operations and in some cases, piggybacking permits from multiple establishments to create a full-time beer garden at a fraction of the cost of a full liquor license.
There’s no doubt the beer gardens are great for the city, and a recent trip to this season’s PHS Beer Garden at 15th and South not only saw hundreds enjoying the new outdoor space but the overflow filling Sawatdee, Cambridge, Rex 1516 and Jet Wine Bar as well. The Spruce Street Harbor Park and The Oval are both pushing the city and its residents to reimagine how they interact with areas of the city. But it is interesting to see how these beer gardens have all come about.
And hurray for loopholes.
Pop-up gardens take advantage of legal loophole [Philadelphia Daily News]