Beer garden (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

10 Best Beer Gardens

Raise a stein of beer and toast to summer at New York City's top beer gardens

The summer sunshine brings on a thirst that only one thing can quench: ice cold beer. Lighthearted weekend afternoons are a perfect match for beer gardens, with their mix of music, outdoor games (often ping-pong or bocce), and frosty steins of foaming brew. From the classic biergartens that keep old-world traditions alive to the newest reincarnations that are pushing the boundaries on what a beer garden can be, New York City is one tasty place to raise a glass.

 

Blue Ribbon Beer Garden

(Photo: Steve Hill/Courtesy of Blue Ribbon Beer Garden)

Blue Ribbon Beer Garden
The team behind the beloved Blue Ribbon restaurants (what started in 1992 with Blue Ribbon in SoHo is now a mini-empire extending to Vegas) expanded its offerings in 2013 with the seasonal Blue Ribbon Beer Garden, a casual outdoor terrace serving up barbecue and cult favorite beers in the Thompson LES hotel. Diverging from the usual brat and pretzel formula, this beer garden focuses on smoky barbecue, including ribs and Cornish hen, to accompany afternoons of ping-pong and board games. The bottled and canned beers go well beyond Heineken (although they have that too) to more obscure sips like Evil Twin brewing’s Ryan and the Beaster Bunny from Denmark. 190 Allen St., 212-466-0404, blueribbonrestaurants.com/rests_beer_garden_main.htm

 

Radegast Hall and Biergarten

(Photo: Courtesy of Radegast Hall & Biergarten)

Radegast Hall & Biergarten
There’s a taste of Munich in Williamsburg at this authentic German bierhalle known for its pretzels and addictive mustard. Long picnic tables and steins so big they require two hands fill a sun-dappled space, along with the smoky sweet smell of bratwurst and sausages sizzling on the barbecue. The draft list is a dozen beers strong, mostly from Germany with a couple Belgian beers thrown in, and the import bottle list is extensive. Just about every night features live music. On Tuesday through Friday from 5pm to 8pm you can order from a pairing menu that matches hearty fare such as veal schnitzel or Hungarian goulash with a beer and includes dessert, also paired with a beer. 113 N. Third Street, Brooklyn, 718-963-3973, radegasthall.com

 

Bohemian Hall

(Photo: Courtesy of Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden)

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
For more than 100 years, New Yorkers have been gathering at Bohemian Hall in Astoria for affordable draft beers and a stick-to-your-bones Czech menu. The sprawling, sunny garden is full of picnic tables and shady umbrellas for a fuss-free afternoon of downing mugs (or pitchers) of brews from a list of 15 beers on draft. There are German and Belgian beers, with a strong emphasis on Czech options and some American brews too. Don’t miss the mixed grill, a hefty portion of bratwurst, ribs, kielbasa, sauerkraut, pickles and fries. 29-19 24th Ave., Queens, 718-274-4925, bohemianhall.com

 

Greenwood Park

(Photo: Courtesy of Greenwood Park)

Greenwood Park
A former mechanic shop and gas station, Greenwood Park is now a beer garden with 60 beers on tap and a bocce court in the back. Beer lovers are drawn to that impressive draft list and giant outdoor space but stay for the refined menu, including grass-fed meatball panini, toasted Cuban sandwiches and all-beef hot dogs with sauerkraut. With a total of 13,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, this Park Slope spot is a sure bet when you want a cold brew without the hassle of competing for a seat. 555 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn, 718-499-7999, greenwoodparkbk.com

 

Beekman Beer Garden

(Photo: Courtesy of Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club)

Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club
On the bank of the East River, the seasonal Beekman Beer Garden looks up at the iconic Brooklyn Bridge from Pier 17. With picnic-style tables and couches in sand, there’s no denying a beachy vibe. And you certainly won’t go hungry what with house-smoked barbecue like pulled pork sandwiches and smoked BBQ chicken wings on the menu, while vegetarians or those with lighter appetites appreciate options like grilled corn or refreshing watermelon slices. The rotating list of draft beers contains quality if well-known American brews such as the New York-locals, Blue Point Summer Ale and Six Point Crisp. 89 South St., 212-896-4600, beekmanbeergarden.com

 

The Standard Beer Garden

(Photo: Mager/Flickr CC)

The Standard Beer Garden
Under the shaded canopy of the High Line Park, the Standard hotel’s beer garden serves up German classics with stylish flair in the equally stylish Meatpacking District. At big communal picnic tables, groups dig into pretzels, sausages and other hearty German fare courtesy of chef Kurt Gutenbrunner. There are big steins of foaming beer, competitive games of ping-pong and an ice cream cart serving cooling gelato. This is one of the more festive beer gardens, with a higher noise level and denser crowd. It’s open air in the summer and glassed-in for cold-weather fun. 848 Washington St., 212-645-4646, standardhotels.com/high-line/food-drink/biergarten

 

Zum Schneider

(Photo: Courtesy of Zum Schneider)

Zum Schneider
Opened by Bavaria native Sylvester Schneider, Zum Schneider has provided Alphabet City with German beer and brats since 2000. His dream of bringing an authentic beer garden vibe to the area has been realized, and the restaurant is especially well-known for its Oktoberfest and World Cup parties. Expect a traditional German menu of bratwurst and wiener schnitzel to accompany the dozen German draft beers. When the days are too hot to enjoy the outdoors, retreat to the indoor biergarten, or on a nice day, snag an outdoor table on Avenue C for an afternoon of sampling the best in German beer. 107 Avenue C, 212-598-1098, zumschneider.com

 

Studio Square

(Photo: Courtesy of Studio Square)

Studio Square
Space is one thing Long Island City is not short on, and this 30,000-square-foot cobblestone beer garden full of picnic tables is no exception. Studio Square is home to a huge custom video wall that attracts sports fans and an intricate tap system that delivers its 20-plus draft beers at peak temperature. A merry, open-air spot, Studio Square offers a wide menu whether you’re craving German bratwurst with sauerkraut, a short rib Pat La Frieda burger or snacks like barbecue chicken wings. 35-33 36th St., Queens, 718-383-1001, studiosquarebeergarden.com

 

Andaz Wall Street Biergarten

(Photo: Courtesy of Andaz Wall Street)

Andaz Wall Street Biergarten
If you’re looking for a beer garden with a luxurious side, check out the one in the seasonal courtyard of the Andaz Wall Street hotel. This upscale hotel delivers all the sausages, pretzels and beer you want — with a side of space, comfort and the refined crowd you usually find in the Financial District. Beyond the German brews and big umbrellas for shade, there’s also a doggie happy hour, Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 8pm, when thirsty customers who bring their dogs along enjoy two-for-one drinks, while the four-legged friends chow down on treats made at a nearby pet boutique, The Salty Paw. 75 Wall St., 212-590-1234, newyork.wallstreet.andaz.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining.html

 

Loreley

(Photo: Courtesy of Loreley)

Loreley Restaurant and Biergarten
While many beer gardens take their cue from Bavaria, Loreley in the Lower East Side is inspired by the German city of Cologne. This means slight differences — no waitresses in dirndls, no folk music — from the traditional biergarten experience of Munich. The garden is full of handcrafted picnic tables where flights of authentic German beers like Gaffel Kölsch and Jever Pilsner are served alongside sausage platters (complete with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes) and potato pancakes with apple sauce. 7 Rivington St., 212-253-7077, loreleynyc.com

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