So Beer Gardens Are Great, But the Chinese Lantern Festival Is An Outrage?

Photo from Sichuan Tianyu

Photo from Sichuan Tianyu

(Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from guest writer Sarah Yeung. Yeung is the director of planning at the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation.)

In the discourse around the Chinese Lantern Festival (see the Inquirer and Philly Mag), we are only touching the tip of the iceberg of private uses of public spaces. To urbanists, it is a defense of what feels like something that should be as free as air, a basic right of the city. To the Chinatown community, it is a much more nuanced issue set in a framework of poverty, lack of public space, and the need for economic development.

The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) was engaged as a community stakeholder in the process of coordinating the festival. We saw it as an opportunity to bring a culturally enriching event to the park during underutilized hours. It was also – equally important – an economic development opportunity for Chinatown, a low-income community where livelihoods are dependent on visitor spending. Read more »

A Beer Garden in the Sky Coming to Center City

Rendering of the upcoming Skygarten at 3 Logan Square

Rendering of the upcoming Skygarten at 3 Logan Square

At a height taller than the even the observation deck of Berlin’s famed TV tower, Fernsehturm Berlin, Skygarten will be one of the highest places in the world to hoist a pint or boot of German beer. And that’s what you’ll be doing on the 51st floor of 3 Logan Square (1717 Arch Street). Top of the Tower is teaming up with Brauhaus Schmitz to launch what they’re calling the “World’s Most Celestial Beer Garden.”

The 3,000 square foot indoor and outdoor space will curated by Doug Hager and his team at Brauhaus Schmitz. Hager will have four draft lines plus multiple German beers by the can and select local craft beers. Jeremy Nolen is working with the Top of the Tower’s culinary team to create a menu of bar bites and snacks.

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Field Guide: Beer Gardens in Philadelphia

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Spruce Street Harbor Park with its floating beer garden reopens earlier than ever this season | Photo by Douglas Bovitt

Philadelphia’s pop-up beer gardens have been almost as big of a hit with national publications as they have been with locals seeking out cool new spaces to drink al fresco with their friends. This year, you’ll have plenty of places to add to your beer-garden bucket list. Here’s everything you need to know about Philly’s full lineup of beer gardens for the 2016 season, from where you can go for outdoor drinking now to insider details on beer gardens soon to open in the coming weeks and months.

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Two Beer Gardens Debut This Weekend

Last minute prep work at Independence Beer Garden

Last minute prep work at Independence Beer Garden

The first two beer gardens of the season open this weekend. Today, Michael Schulson’s Independence Beer Garden softly opens at 6th and Market and tomorrow marks 8th anniversary and beer garden opening at Memphis Taproom.

Memphis is celebrating inside with some great beers from their cellar plus some of the newest beers in the state. The bar will be pouring four beers from Highway Manor Brewing of Camp Hill, PA. The beers are all all open fermented and barrel aged. The beers will be Mr. Blueberry, Taste My Place, Mr. Strawberry, and Sayjohn Saison.  There will also be bottles on hand for takeout, with labels illustrated by Memphis Taproom’s own Keith Warren Greiman.

About those beer gardens »

Pop-Up Beer Garden Coming to Rail Park

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A PHS pop-up garden is coming to the foot of the Rail Park. | Image via Google Maps

This summer, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society plans to open two pop-up beer gardens, a return to 15th and South streets plus a new park at the foot of the Philadelphia Rail Park.

Thanks to a $360,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphians will get their first extended interaction with the planned Rail Park. A pop-up garden is set for 10th and Hamilton streets, at the base of the Reading Viaduct. Today, the area is a tangle of crumbling concrete, overgrown lots and decay, but with the help of PHS and noted landscape architect Walter Hood, the project aims to merge the post-industrial structure with urban green space. The pop-up will raise awareness for the creation of the Rail Park as it blends art, history and horticulture. The location is convenient to live music venues Union Transfer and Underground Arts, as well as the Chinatown and Callowhill neighborhoods. Perhaps even more so than the other PHS pop-ups, this location will challenge the way Philadelphians interact with and envision their urban spaces. Read more »

This Season’s Food and Drink Lineup at Spruce Street Harbor Park

Spruce Street Harbor Park Returns | Photo via DRWC

Spruce Street Harbor Park Returns | Photo via DRWC

Spruce Street Harbor Park is opening earlier than ever this year, Friday, May 6th. The Delaware Riverfront destination is also expanding its summer restaurant collaborations, adding Chickie’s and Pete’s fries and a Little Fat Ham to a lineup that already includes Franklin Fountain, Federal Donuts, Frozen Delights and Garces Group.

Kevin Sbraga, who just announced a second Fat Ham at the King of Prussia Mall is bringing The Little Fat Ham to the riverfront park. The shipping container-sized Fat Ham won’t be offering hot chicken but will be have hot fish sandwiches, plus pulled pork, beef brisket, spicy pork rinds, corn on the cob, homemade Southern sweet tea and old-fashioned lemonade.

What else is new at Spruce Street Harbor Park »

Get Ready for More Beer Gardens this Summer

Photo by Flickr user Rich Lee

Belmont Plateau | Photo by Flickr user Rich Lee

Let’s fantasize together for a moment: It’s a beautiful Saturday in the summertime. You have no plans. While thinking about what to do, you get a text from a friend who lets you know that there’s a new beer garden at Belmont Plateau and they want you to come.

Okay, I know it’s February and it just snowed, but summer will be here before we know it and drinking a cold beer in one of Philly’s parks sounds nice right now.

Lucky for us, the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy has plans to select vendors to operate temporary food and beverage gardens throughout the Department’s park system. In other words, we are going to have more cool places to sit outside and have a bite and a drink.

Read more »

What Mattered To You In 2015: Cheese, Idiots, Beer And Tacos

Foobooz Morning AvatarEvery year we take a moment to look back at the Foobooz web statistics and see what it was that brought you to visit us. There are always some obvious things: Restaurant openings and closings, reviews, and our big packages like 50 Best Restaurants. But there are always some small, odd tidbits and trends that we discover while poking at the data.

So here’s what visitors to Foobooz were most interested in this year, and what we learned.

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Franklin Square Has a Beer Garden

Franklin SquareAs part of this year’s Franklin Square Holiday Festival, events like Franklin Square Fridays, the Holiday Light Show and Ben’s Bites & Brews Beer Garden have all returned for the seasonal celebration.

The free Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show has more than 50,000 lights set to a soundtrack of holiday classics performed by the Philly Pops orchestra. The show begins every night at 4:30 p.m. and one guest gets the honor of flipping the switch to illuminate Franklin Square – which continues every half-hour until 8 p.m.

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We Know Where One Of Next Year’s PHS Pop-Up Gardens Is Going To Be

PHS Pop-Up Garden | Photo via Facebook

PHS Pop-Up Garden | Photo via Facebook

Don’t freak out, but the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society may not serve beer at next year’s PHS pop-up (beer) garden. According to spokesperson Alan Jaffe, the society is looking for a site in the Callowhill district to showcase and bring art to the future Philadelphia Rail Park along the Reading Viaduct. Because the PHS got a Pew grant this year to “blend art, history and agriculture” near the park, the objective or layout for this particular temporary installation may not jive with a beer garden.

“My guess is there will be some kind of refreshments,” is all Jaffe can say about it right now.

But don’t despair.

Read more »

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