Beer Gardens in Philadelphia: The 2018 Lineup
It's beer garden season. Here are all our favorites in Philadelphia, plus a schedule of what's opening in the coming weeks.
Philadelphia loves its pop-up beer gardens — and al fresco drinking season has finally arrived. Here’s everything you need to know about the city’s full lineup of beer gardens for 2018, from where you can go to sip a cold one outside now to details on beer gardens opening in the coming weeks.
Beer Gardens That Are Open Now
Memphis Taproom, Kensington
Once the outdoor space was designated only for canned brews and overloaded hot dogs served from its resident food truck. But these days, the gastropub’s full menu is available outdoors, too — there’s even glassware and real cutlery, real fancy-like.
SkyGarten, Center City
This patio beer garden on the 50th and 51st floors of 1717 Arch Street (3 Logan Square) offers German and craft beer, wine, cocktails, and some of the best views of the cityscape.
Center City Sips at Dilworth Park, Center City
After a rocky 2017 season, Center City Sips has implemented a few changes across the board to keep things from getting out of hand: they’re hoping a dollar increase in drink prices across the board and increased security at busy outdoor sites will keep college-aged riffraff from taking over and engaging in fisticuffs. Here’s hoping that the Wednesday evening Sips beer garden at Dilworth Park will be a little more chill this summer.
Brews and Views at Parkway Central Library, Logan Circle
This year, dates to drink atop the Free Library’s Parkway location are limited to spring, with only May 22nd, 23rd, and 24th from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the calendar — so enjoy the vistas while you can. It’s free to attend, with pay-as-you-go drinks and snacks from Brûlée Catering; just register in the lobby when you arrive.
Drury Beer Garden, Midtown Village
The comfortable beer garden behind Opa is really year-round, but summer is obviously the best time to enjoy a sip and some spanakopita from the Greek restaurant’s kitchen. It’s open on Fridays from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m. and on Saturdays from 3 p.m. until 2 a.m.
Franklin Square, Market East
The Dragon Beer Garden pops up during the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square every evening through Saturday, June 30th. The festival and the beer garden are ticketed — timed passes are $18 and you can get yours here — but you get more than just beer: there are 28 lantern-inspired sculptures, Chinese folk artists and their wares, acrobats, kids’ activities, and more. The festival and the beer garden are open from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Independence Beer Garden, Washington Square West
Michael Schulson’s beer garden on Independence Square is open from lunch till late seven days a week through fall. Shuffleboard, giant Jenga and lounging will also be back for the season. Foodwise, they’re serving classic American fare like fried cheese curds, wings, Cobb salads, and BBQ.
Haas Biergarten at La Peg, Old City
The Seafood Shack at La Peg’s beer garden serves up chef Peter Woolsey’s roadside New England favorites like lobster rolls, fried clams, crab poutine and a “fast food” burger on a Martin’s potato roll. Come for the beachy fare, stay for the beautiful views of the Ben Franklin Bridge lit up at night — plus live performances, dance parties, and movie nights all summer long.
Uptown Beer Garden, Center City
Uptown Beer Garden is back in the courtyard of the BNY Mellon Bank Building on the 1700 block of JFK Boulevard with six exclusive pours that you can’t get anywhere else, made in collaboration with local brewers and cider makers bydirector of operations Alex Bokulich. Foodwise, chefs Craig Meyers and Steve Lindabury of BRU Craft & Wurst (also owned by proprietor Teddy Sourias) are once again in charge of the kitchen and plan to source all their veggies locally starting in June.
Morgan’s Pier, Northern Liberties
Morgan’s Pier has tapped chef Adam Lazarick, a Lacroix and Stateside alum, to run eats this season. Back this year are burger buns, soft pretzels, and “fatbread” pizzas from Alex Bois’s Lost Bread Co. In addition to drinks and food, Morgan’s pier is serving up succulent workshops, local craft beer tastings, live music on Thursdays, and DJs spinning every Friday.
PHS Pop Up Garden at uCity Square, University City
PHS is back west of the Schuylkill for a second season, turning a vacant space at 36th and Filbert Streets into an open-air beer garden. This time, Jose Pistola’s Group is taking over service, and this year, there’s a new covered oudoor seating area, too.
Frankford Hall, Fishtown
Stephen Starr’s German-style beer garden is open all year round, but it really gets hopping when the heat lamps are put away. Bring one friend or 30 — it’s big enough to absorb all comers. To quench the thirst of a crowd, look for five-liter keg cans of Bell’s Hop Slam for your table.
Canstatter Volkfest-Verein Biergarten, Northeast Philly
This German-American club dates back to 1873 and currently boasts the largest outdoor beer garden in Northeast Philly, with five acres of picnic grounds. It’s open every Friday through October from 5 p.m until 10 p.m., with live bands (both German-themed and not) and bar food, plus a beer list heavy on the pilsner and lagers (don’t worry, there’s also an IPA or two).
Hop Angel Brauhaus, Fox Chase
The breezeway biergarten at Hop Angel — which is owned by the same folks behind Northeast Philly’s Grey Lodge Pub and Bonk’s Bar in Port Richmond — opens to serve thirsty customers when the weather’s good (well-behaved canine guests are welcome, too).
PHS Pop Up Garden at 15th and South, Graduate Hospital
Back for a fifth year, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has teamed up with the crew behind Royal Tavern, Khyber Pass Pub, Cantina Los Caballitos, and Triangle Tavern to take care of food and drink at its plant-filled flagship beer garden this time around.
The Pub at the Porch, University City
You can finally drink outside all summer long at The Porch at 30th Street Station. The bar, operated by Bridgewater’s, is open every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this summer from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. And on select Thursdays, they’re bringing in local breweries to pour hard-to-find varieties. A rotation of food trucks stop by at lunch and there are live events, too — check out the schedule here.
Watering Hole at the Philadelphia Zoo, West Philly
The Philadelphia Zoo began alcohol sales at a couple of stands around Memorial Day 2016; next came the zoo’s own beer garden. It’s back again with craft beers, soft pretzels, brats, and flatbreads Fridays through Sundays this summer.
Parks on Tap, Various locations
Parks on Tap is back in Fairmount Park and other parks run by the city’s Parks and Recreation department. Avram Hornik’s FCM Hospitality is running food and drink at the pop-ups, which go from park to park across the city Wednesdays through Sundays until September 30th — check out the full schedule to find out when they’ll be in your neighborhood.
East Falls Beer Garden, East Falls
Sip craft beers under the Twin Bridges every third Thursday of the month from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. at the Brews Under the Bridges pop-up. The garden also features rotating food vendors, arts and crafts vendors, and live music.
Chestnut Hill Brewing Company Beer Garden, Chestnut Hill
This brewery on Germantown Avenue boasts a large outdoor seating area festooned with live plants where guests can enjoy a pint and a wood-fired pizza and get comfortable on couches — an outdoor beer garden rarity — in addition to chairs.
Suburban Beer Gardens
Suburban Restaurant and Beer Garden, Exton
With chef Eric Yost’s bona fides as a former executive chef at White Dog Cafe and Wyebrook Farm, Suburban’s beer garden grub might be the most sustainable in the region: locally sourced cheese, bacon, and produce dot the menu. It’s also one of the most restaurant-like of the beer gardens on our list, eschewing boardwalk-style fare for handmade pastas, a slew of mac and cheese options, and meaty and vegetarian entrees in addition to casual treats like hand-cut fries and sandwiches.
Conshohocken Beer Garden, Conshohocken
This suburban beer garden overlooks the Schuylkill River. In addition to beer, wine, and food, the garden features lots of games — ping pong, giant Jenga, cornhole, and more — plus live music. It’s open from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m Fridays only through the end of June, takes a break for July and August, and opens again in September.
The Beer Garden at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square
This beer garden within an actual garden serves up Victory Brewing Co. beer, wood-fired pizzas, and BBQ every Thursday through Saturday evening through August 31st. Be sure to try Oro Blanco, a Longwood-only exclusive German wheat beer from Victory that incorporates the juices and peel from oro blanco grapefruit grown onsite.
Beer Gardens That Are Opening Soon
Bok Bar, South Philadelphia
Our favorite beer garden atop the Bok Building is back on May 24th. This year, there are several new food concepts downstairs: South Philly Smökhaus with BBQ, Two Persons coffee, and Irwin’s with Mediterranean small plates. Former Fitler Dining Room chef Paul Garberson will run Irwin’s while also providing Middle Eastern street food for the rooftop bar.
Pentridge Station, West Philly
This once-vacant lot on a Cedar Park side street was transformed into a family-friendly hangout last year by the owners of nearby Dahlak. Now, you can hang out and sip a beer, play giant Jenga, enjoy food truck fare, and dance to DJs or sing karaoke throughout the summer. This season kicks off on June 1st — follow Pentridge Station on Facebook and Instagram for hours, events, and updates.
Blue Cross Riverrink Summerfest
The Penn’s Landing ice skating rink transforms once again into an outdoor roller skating rink and mini-golf course with a “summer camp on the Delaware” vibe, complete with views of the river. The spot is weekends-only from May 11th through 13th and 18th through 20th, but it’ll be open seven days a week starting on May 24th. A 200-seat Chickie’s and Pete’s Waterfront Crabshack serves up boardwalk-style fare as well as craft beer and cocktails, and Franklin Fountain’s Confectionery Cabin offers frozen sweets. Admission is $3 and roller skating is ticketed (buy tix there or online), but Independence Blue Cross cardholders get free admission.
Spruce Street Harbor Park, Society Hill
The Harbor Park comes back on May 11th this year, with a handful of Philly’s favorite restaurants set up shop on the boardwalk and the Barge. In addition to faves like Chickie’s & Pete’s and Franklin Fountain, vegan fast-casual spot Hip City Veg will be serving goodies by the river, too too. Don’t miss once-a-month Sunday night live jazz performances and their opening festival this weekend.
The Oval, Logan Circle
This “Park on the Parkway” returns to Eakins Oval in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with events, live music, movie nights and activities for all ages. The official 2018 start date hasn’t been announced, but it’s generally open in deep summer — between July 4th and Labor Day.
Admiral’s Tavern on Cruiser Olympia and The Deck at the Independence Seaport Museum, Old City
The Seaport Museum’s patio beer garden is open only a few weekends a year; while they haven’t officially been announced yet, those dates tend to be around Memorial Day weekend, the last Saturday in June and the first Sunday in July, and the first weekend in September. But you can visit the Admiral’s Tavern every Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. this summer starting with a long opening weekend on Thursday, May 24th — and drink atop the oldest steel warship afloat in the world.
Harper’s Garden, Center City
FCM Hospitality (Morgan’s Pier, Concourse, Dolphin Tavern) built out a nice little al fresco dining cove on the Duane Morris Plaza (31 South 18th Street) — the small-ish patio across the street from Midtown Diner III on 18th street. Ben Moore, formerly of Wister BYOB, has signed on as the chef and barman Jesse Cornell is doing the drinks. Opening day is May 11th.
Additional reporting by Arthur Etchells.