We have the Germans to thank for the Beer Garden, the warm weather institution that seems as vital to Spring, Summer and Early fall as a dip in the pool. Nothing beats drinking outside in the warmer months, and over the past few years, several American beer gardens have opened across the country that give their German counterparts a serious run for their money. Fueled by great food, fantastic craft beer, and awesome locations, these beer gardens are some of the best places to drink outside in the country. Here are our favorites:
Frankford Hall – Philadelphia
This epic beer hall can seat over 400+ people, so even when it gets crazy crowded, which it does on beautiful days, you have a chance of getting a seat. The list is a good mix of great German beer and the best Pennsylvania micro-brews around.
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Bardo – DC
One of the more eclectic beer gardens on the list, they are soon to open a second location in the revitalized Navy Yard section of the city. All the beers on the list are ones they make themselves, and they can be rather nuts, which is half the fun. Plus the place is huge.
Der Biergarten – Atlanta
This place is Germany in the heart of the deep south. While Atlanta has a ton of great craft breweries, it’s German beers that dominate this list. Located in the heart of Downtown Atlanta, hanging out here is the best way to visit Germany from Atlanta without having to endure the city’s awful airport.
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden – New York
This place started the beer hall craze in New York City. It’s the oldest, and still the best, in our honest opinion. This wouldn’t have been a serious list if we’d left it off.
Scholz – Austin
This is another Beer Garden you have to have on this list if it’s actually going to be credible. The place has been open since 1866…yeah, it’s an institution. While other new kids on the block, such as Bangers and Easy Tiger may be where many of the Austin transplants are hanging out, those that know still head to Scholz.
Wolff’s Biergarten – Albany
While most people only find themselves in Albany, New York if they’re working for the state government, another great reason to visit is Wolff’s. The bar has a great selection of beer, but is probably just as well known for its rabid devotion to Futbol, known by us yanks as soccer. If you happen to be there on a day a game is playing, be prepared to watch, and enjoy it.
Mecklenburg Gardens – Cincinnati
This place has been open 150 years, even during Prohibition. It’s traditional German food and beer here, and the authenticity is worth the visit.
Sheffields – Chicago
Sheffields helped introduce Chicago to craft beer, and it keeps getting better. Whether you just want to start trying out craft beer, or your are a die-hard geek, this is the outdoor drinking locale for you.
Zeppelin Hall – Jersey City
There aren’t many good reasons to take the PATH Train, but this is one of them. Zeppelin has a great mix of German and craft, plus pretty good food.
Green Valley Ranch – Denver
What we love about Green Valley Ranch is the section of their menu they call “stadium beers.” While we love drinking craft beer, every once in a while, especially when it is super hot out, a stadium, or lawnmower beer as we call them, is just what the doctor ordered. It’s also as cold as The Rockies.
Estabrook Beer Garden – Milwaukee
Located in Estabrook park, this beer garden is one of several that’s supported by the Milwaukee County Department of Parks. The beer gardens in public spaces exist thanks to the overwhelming number of German immigrants who moved to Milwaukee decades ago, and brought the tradition of drinking in the park with them.
Bayou Beer Garden – New Orleans
Sure you can drink outside anywhere in New Orleans, but it’s more fun to do it here.
The Pharmacy – Nashville
This is Nashville’s original beer garden and also home to the city’s best burger. Plus, who doesn’t want to drink at a place called The Pharmacy.
Zeitgeist – San Francisco
This uber-popular dive-bar slash beer garden is situated in the Mission, almost beneath the Central Freeway. With a few dozen beers on tap and a massive patio that’s dotted with picnic tables, Zeitgeist is a requisite stop if you’re in San Francisco.
Some of the best LA bars are inside hotels, and this is no exception. Downtown LA has experienced a massive renaissance recently, so go hang out.
All photos courtesy of the respective beer gardens unless otherwise noted.