The 2014 PHS pop-up beer garden on South Street

The 2014 PHS pop-up beer garden on South Street

Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT

Beer gardens in Philly: A 2017 guide to opening dates and what’s on tap

It’s finally warm! Time to drink outdoors at Philly’s best seasonal beer gardens.

anna

Updated April 20

Seasonal beer gardens in Philly have really taken off in the last several years. When PHS hosted a pop-up on Broad Street back in 2011, it was totally novel. When Morgan’s Pier launched the next summer it was still huge news. But these days, a dozen or more beer gardens pop-up around the city each summer.

Here’s when some of the most popular will launch, what food they’re serving and, of course, what’s flowing from the taps. Bookmark this — we’re going to update it as more beer gardens for this summer are announced.

Independence Beer Garden

Independence Beer Garden is an oasis of chill across from the Liberty Bell

Independence Beer Garden across from the Liberty Bell

Danya Henninger

What it is: A panoply of fun across from the Liberty Bell. Seriously, there are three different bars, lots of different seating areas, cornhole and more.

Where it is: 100 S. Independence Mall West

When it opens: Season starts April 24

What’s on tap: 40 taps of regional and domestic craft beers, including selections from Yards, Sly Fox, Evil Genius and Victory. IBC also offers a selection of wines and cocktails.

What’s on the menu: “American favorites,” including snacks, salads and sandwiches. For the 2017 season, look for spit-roasted lamb pita pockets, al pastor tacos, hummus, cheesesteaks and “everything” pretzel bites.

Other features: This sprawling beer garden in Old City is easily one of the hottest in the city. In addition to picnic tables and Adirondack chairs, there’s lots of seating under cover, so you’re good even when it rains. A great place to watch the Phillies or just roam around with a drink in the shadow of Independence Hall.

Bok Bar

The roof is great, but there's more to visit below

Bok Bar at sunset

Renata Certo-Ware

What it is: A beer garden atop the former Edward Bok Technical School in South Philadelphia.

Where it is: 1901 S. 9th St.

When it opens: Thursday, May 25. It’ll be open Wednesdays to Sundays through the season. Last year, the bar atop the former Edward Bok Technical School stayed open well into October.

What’s on tap: Bok developer Lindsey Scannapieco said the bar is working on an expanded and revised beer and wine list, but it hasn’t yet been finalized.

What’s on the menu: Last year, Bok Bar offered banh mi sandwiches and other Vietnamese-inspired bites. Per Scannapieco, this season’s food menu is still up in the air.

Other features: Look for some new features to make the skyline view even better this season, including furniture built through a competition between eight different designers. This year, Bok Bar will also be open for private events on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Spruce Street Harbor Park

The success of pop-up beer gardens like the Spruce Street Harbor Park led the City of Philadelphia to jump into the game

Spruce Street Harbor Park

Danya Henninger

What it is: One of the most popular beer gardens in the city, Spruce Street Harbor Park is much more than a just a place to drink — it’s an annual waterfront oasis full of family fun.

Where it is: 301 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.

When it opens: May 12

What’s on tap: SSHP will be adding eight draft lines to the Beer Garden with two dedicated to pouring a selection of new rotating draft cocktails. There will also be a beer collaboration with Yard’s Brewery, which is making a Blood Orange Witbier that’s perfect for summer.

What’s on the menu: Restaurant collaborations include Chickie’s and Pete’s, Federal Donuts, Franklin Fountain, Frozen Delights and Garces (serving new boardwalk-style pizza).

Other features: More than 50 hammocks, lounge seating, tons of events and “The Oasis,” which returns with three floating barges, water gardens and colorful seating.

Uptown Beer Garden

uptownbeergarden

Uptown Beer Garden

Facebook / Uptown Beer Garden

What it is: A 9,000-sq.-ft. beer garden in the courtyard at the BNY Mellon Building, brought to you by Teddy Sourias of BRU Craft & Wurst/Cinder/U-Bahn. It’s best known for happy hours and being one of the top spots during Center City Sips.

Where it is: 1735 JFK Blvd.

When it opens: The owners are targeting a launch during the first week in May, about two weeks earlier than last season.

What’s on tap: Last year the garden featured three different bars offering eight beers on draft, four craft beer cans and an assortment of cocktails and wines.

What’s on the menu: Chef Jonathan Petruce ran the kitchen last year, but he’s now with a different restaurant group (The Schulson Collective). This year’s menu hasn’t yet been announced.

SkyGarten

The view from SkyGarten

The view from SkyGarten

Vanessa Beahn/SkyGarten

What it is: This slightly German-themed rooftop beer garden from the owners of Brauhaus Schmitz has the honor of being Philly’s highest place to drink outside. SkyGarten’s first season ever was last year.

Where it is: 1717 Arch Street (Three Logan Square)

When it opens: Wednesday, April 19

What’s on tap: An assortment of German and American beers, plus cocktails.

What’s on the menu: Snacks like potato pancakes and pretzel sticks as well as sandwiches like the Whetstone Tavern burger and Wursthaus Schmitz’ bratwurst.

Other features: Besides the impressive views you can drop in on anytime, SkyGarten’s also offering private events and happy hours this year. More details here.

Morgan’s Pier

Morgan's Pier is in its fifth season on the Delaware River after four very successful summers

Morgan's Pier on the Delaware River

Danya Henninger

What it is: A massive outdoor bar on a pier jutting out into the Delaware River — easily one of the most popular drinking spots in Philly during the summer months. With a new menu each year, it’s known for solid food and drinks during the day and dancing to DJs on the deck at night.

Where it is: 221 N. Columbus Blvd.

When it opens: Thursday, April 20

What’s on tap: A pretty large selection of brews, wines and cocktails. There will also be a new draft wine and cocktail system this year, as well as “adult milkshakes” at the ice cream custard stand.

What’s on the menu: Every season, FCM Hospitality invites someone new to be “chef in residence” and take over the Morgan’s Pier kitchen for the summer. This year there are two: Kevin D’Egidio and Michael Griffiths of Helm and South Helm. The pair developed a menu that will rotate throughout the season, with lots of veg-friendly items. Also look for brown sugar glazed ribs, a shrimp roll sandwich and tempura fried leeks. Stay tuned for an update on more food options soon.

Other features: According to Morgan’s Pier, there will be a 20-person chef’s table available for booking, monthly Yappy Hour fundraisers with the PSPCA, workshop nights on Mondays featuring Beaucycled and Pretty in Paint, game night on Tuesdays with chances to win at bingo, quizzo and baggo and  dueling pianos and acoustic performances on Sundays. Other returning events include: Monthly mini beer fests featuring local craft beer tastings, special Wednesday performances, Thursday band nights and DJs playing all weekend long. No excuse for being bored.

The Oval

The Oval pop-up park at Eakins Oval

The Oval pop-up park at Eakins Oval

M. FISCHETTI FOR VISIT PHILADELPHIA

What it is: A pop-up beer garden in front of the Art Museum run by the City of Philadelphia in conjunction with the Fairmount Park Conservancy.

Where it is: Eakins Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

When it opens: The Department of Parks and Recreation hasn’t yet announced when it will open for the summer 2017 months (a spokesman says it will!), but last year the beer garden didn’t open until July (it had to wait until after the Wawa Welcome America July 4 festival). We’ll update here once an open date/menu is announced.

Other features: There’s usually a giant mural painted over the parking lot that makes the whole area come alive. Plus games like giant chess and checkers, food trucks and al fresco movie nights.

PHS Pop-up Gardens

The 2014 PHS pop-up beer garden on South Street

The 2014 PHS pop-up beer garden on South Street

Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT

What it is: Temporary pop-up beer gardens put on by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Where it is: PHS is once again setting up a pop-up garden at 15th and South Streets and is planning to add an “urban orchard” for its newest location at 36th and Filbert Streets in University City.

When it opens: The South Street location opens May 5 at 2 p.m., with a mariachi band scheduled for 4:30 and a giant Corona pinata game following shortly after. The location at “uCity Square” opens the third week in May. Both will be open through October.

Other features: Both locations will feature new food and drink menus and “inspirational programs and events” that aim to connect people with plants and each other.

Parks on Tap

People enjoy Parks on Tap at Fairmount Water Works

People enjoy Parks on Tap at Fairmount Water Works

Photo via Parks on Tap

What it is: Parks on Tap is a traveling beer garden put on by the city that pops up at various public parks throughout the season.

Where it is: Various locations throughout Philadelphia

When it opens: The pop-up will be open Wednesday to Sunday, May 17 through Oct. 1, at a different spot each week. It will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the exception of some holidays. Kick-off on May 17 at The Azalea Garden off Kelly Drive, followed by FDR Park in South Philly for Memorial Day Weekend. The rest of the calendar (as well as the menu) has yet to be announced.

Other features: Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Fairmount Park Conservancy and Avram Hornik of FCM Hospitality have teamed up once again to bring fresh food, beer on tap, wine, snacks and nonalcoholic beverages to public parks throughout the city. Sign up for the newsletter for updates.

Pop-up at Cira Green

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 2.35.58 PM
Via Cira Green on Facebook

What it is: A new beer garden on top of a parking garage on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, next to the new FMC Tower.

Where it is: 129 S. 30th St.

When it opens: It’ll be open every Friday from April 21 through June 23. (That means it’ll be open April 21, 28; May 5, 12, 19, 25; June 2, 9, 16, 23.) Hours are 5 to 9 p.m.

What’s on tap: Every week, the event will start with the tapping of a limited release keg at 5 p.m. That’s in addition to eight different featured beers, ciders, wines and a specialty cocktail.

What’s on the menu: No details yet on food offerings.

Other features: This is the first year of operation for Cira Green, which is being hosted by World Cafe Live. Expect skyline views, live music and plenty of drinks.

Drury Beer Garden

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 3.12.47 PM
Yelp

What it is: A beer garden smack in the middle of Midtown Village that shares a kitchen with Opa bar and restaurant.

Where it is: 1311 Sansom St.

When it opens: Saturday, April 15 is opening day, according to Foobooz, after which the garden will be open Monday to Friday from 3 p.m. onward, plus Saturdays and Sundays starting at noon.

What’s on tap: An assortment of craft and domestic beers in cans and bottles, as well as eight rotating beers on tap. Also several wines and a handful of cocktails.

What’s on the menu: Snacks and sandwiches, including burgers, hot dogs, gyros and fries.

Other features: Ping pong, string lights and new this year: Adult slushies. Watch for announcements of special events like pig roasts and BBQs.

Evil Genius Beer Garden

The brewery and tasting room — in blue — are right next to the El on Front Street

Evil Genius (the blue facade) under the El

Danya Henninger

What it is: A beer garden next to the recently-opened Evil Genius brewery and taproom in Fishtown.

Where it is: 1727 N. Front St.

When it opens: The target launch date is May 6, and it’ll be open through the rest of the summer.

What’s on tap: Evil Genius beers, of course.

Other features: Co-owner Trevor Hayward told Billy Penn in February that the space, once a gravel auto-repair lot, is getting repaved, and that he’s working on decor to pay homage to the El that runs above.

The Watering Hole at the Philly Zoo

The beer garden at the Philadelphia Zoo.

The beer garden at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Philly Zoo

What it is: A beer garden at the Philadelphia Zoo presented by Victory Brewing Company.

Where it is: 3400 W. Girard Ave.

When it opens: It’s opening this weekend and will be open through October. The schedule starts with Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through late May, then expands to Monday through Sunday between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day. After Labor Day, it cuts back again to Saturdays and Sundays, and should stay open through October.

What’s on tap: A selection of beers from Victory, of course, plus New Belgium, Goose Island and others. It also offers wines and nonalcoholic beverages.

What’s on the menu: There are a few lighter options on the menu, including bratwurst, a turkey flatbread and house-made chips.

Other features: Proximity to animals both cute and ferocious — what more could any beer drinker ask for.

Memphis Taproom beer garden

Full menu, table service and real glasses at the Memphis beer garden this year

Full menu, table service and real glasses at the Memphis beer garden this year

Chaucee Stillman

What it is: A beer garden connected to Memphis Taproom, a Kensington gastropub.

Where it is: 2331 E. Cumberland St.

When it opens: Saturday, April 22

What’s on tap: Unlike in the past, customers can now get table service and real glassware in the beer garden. The pub has a rotating draft list with an impressive selection of craft beers.

What’s on the menu: The food truck is expected to open even though the full menu will also be available. The kitchen puts out elevated salads, sandwiches and a few entrees, including the “Port Richmond platter” with grilled kielbasa, pierogies, potato pancakes and kraut.

Other features: Read more about the big changes at Memphis Taproom here.

East Falls Beer Garden

The East Falls Farmers Market uses the same site that will become a beer garden this summer

The East Falls Farmers Market uses the same site that will become a beer garden this summer

Facebook/East Falls Development Corporation

What it is: A pop-up that transforms a parking lot next to Kelly Drive into an al fresco beer and wine destination.

Where it is: Between Ridge Avenue and Kelly Drive, under the Roosevelt Expressway in East Falls.

When it opens: Thursday, May 18, then every third Thursday though October.

What’s on tap: A selection of craft beer on tap, plus bottles and cans and wine by the glass.

What’s on the menu: A rotating cast of food trucks will provide eats.

Other features: The garden is run by Megan Keel, formerly half the team behind Fairmount’s Bishop’s Collar. If the monthly pop-ups prove a hit, Keel will add additional days.