Philly food and drink scene

Instead of a beer garden, this Kensington space will be a ‘booze garden’

New Liberty Distillery has transformed a former storage area into a beautiful courtyard.

New Liberty Distillery is going al fresco

New Liberty Distillery is going al fresco

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Updated June 23

Philly has become beer garden central. It seems like new ones pop up nearly every week — but a beer garden is not what’s coming to the space behind the Crane Arts building in Kensington. Instead, the 3,500-square-foot courtyard will be home to something slightly different.

Since it’ll be operated by New Liberty Distillery, you might call it a “booze garden.”

For the past three years, the local spirits company run by master distiller Rob Cassell has made its home in the former Crane Company stable, which is just north of the wedge-shaped former warehouse at the intersection of Master and New American streets. On the ground floor is the still; barrels aging whiskey are stored on the second; and there’s a full-service bar and tasting room on the third.

Now there’ll be a fourth space: that outdoor courtyard, which will welcome people five days a week for al fresco fun.

Per events and operations manager Johnny Della Polla, as soon as paperwork is finalized, the garden will be open Wednesday through Sunday, serving food from Di Bruno Bros., sweets from Franklin Fountain, and drinks with spirits made just a few feet away.

“It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Della Polla said, explaining that up to now, the Crane Arts landlords and tenants had only ever used the hideaway for storage. “It totally deserves to be something more. It’s really very beautiful.”

Surrounded on two edges by the buildings, the rest of the quadrangle is fenced in by high wooden walls, with entrance gates on both sides. Landscaped garden areas are scattered around the mostly-concrete ground, and there’s plenty of space for kids to play.

There’s room for dogs, too — Della Polla is a total puppy junkie, so he made sure of that — and the pups will even be allowed to enter the distillery.

You can preview the new space on Sunday at the Ultimate Philly Food Truck Celebration. Hosted by Billy Penn, this is set to be an all-ages shindig to remember, with live music, food, spirits and the extra edge of competition, since you’ll be able to cast a vote in the Final Four round of our bracket.

Admission to the June 24 party, which runs 1 to 4 p.m., include all you can eat from four mobile vendors setting up on site:

New Liberty staff will be pouring samples and tastes of many of the house spirits, and there’ll also be beer and other drinks available. Tickets are $20 ($10 for kids), available here.

It makes a great kick-off to the city’s newest non-beer garden

Want some more? Explore other Philly food and drink scene stories.

Mornings in the know

Sign up for Billy Penn’s free morning newsletter for a daily roundup of Philadelphia’s most pressing news, top interesting stories, fun tidbits, and relevant events.

Thanks for reading another Billy Penn article!

We don’t have a paywall, and never will. Instead, we depend on readers like you to keep our newsroom jamming on stories about Philadelphia. If you like what you see, will you support our work?

Thanks for reading a Billy Penn story

We don’t have a paywall, and our daily newsletter is free. Instead, YOU are key to keeping our nonprofit newsroom running strong. If you like what you see, will you join as a member today?

This story was powered by readers

Readers like you make articles like this possible, so thanks for your support. Want to make sure we stick around? Become a sustainer with a recurring contribution!

Tell a friend about Billy Penn

Thanks for reading another article — and we’re grateful for your support! Want to help a friend start their day with Billy Penn? Send them to our newsletter signup page.