Silk City’s Beer Garden

Rick Nichols visits Mark Bee’s “beer garden” at Silk City geographically nearby the Piazza at Schmidt’s but half a world away in vibe.

In short, the space is the goofball fantasy of one man’s imagination – old tubas on the wall stuffed with flowers, wrought ironwork (by metal worker Jason Roberts) shaped into rickety bones for the stair rail and spiky webs over portholes in the curvy walls, beer kegs as seats: the slaphappy anti-design, in other words, of an anarchic anti-developer. The unapologetically unhinged Piazza on Spring Garden.

Did I mention the sense of contentment and otherworldliness that descends beneath the strings of lights, the birdbath-size fountains dribbling, the potted plants riffling in the breeze? There are few spots in the city more laid back to drink beer or sip a Negroni, or, have I mentioned the stylings of the chef, Jay Henson, back in town (where he once headed the kitchen at the Happy Rooster) after a five-year hiatus at the Shore (the Inlet at Somers Point, Bobby Flay’s place at the Borgata, etc.)?