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4 Great Philly Beer Gardens

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Four Great Philly Beer Gardens

Philadelphia has a great craft beer scene. With new microbreweries, trends in beer, and special events, there’s always something exciting. Once popular in the 19th century, the return of Beer Gardens has given visitors a great casual and inexpensive way to take in some neighborhood vibes. Here’s a list of some of the best:

Frankford Hall

One of Fishtown’s most iconic hangout spots, Frankford Hall is a great spot to meet friends and people watch. Located at 1210 Frankford Ave just a short walk from the Girard El Stop (Market Frankford Line), Frankford Hall was one of the first major beer gardens to open in the city in 2011. Housed in a re-used industrial building, the large, exposed-brick walls, open garage doors, and picnic table-style seating make it great for large groups. Accompanied by Bavarian food, the craft beer menu is outstanding with a depth of German beers including hefeweizens, maibocks, pilsners, and dunkel styles perfect for summer. If you are looking for more local selections, the bar typically has some local beers from nearby Yards Brewing. This is a really great spot if you are looking to explore beyond Center City and Independence Historical Park.

Photo property of IBG

Independence Beer Garden

If you asked most Philadelphians a few years back about the plaza on Independence Mall West next to the Liberty Bell, they would describe it as barren and windswept. That all changed when restaurateur Michael Schulson of Sampan in Midtown Village opened this 22,000-sq-ft beer garden. With lush plantings and creatively reused industrial elements, this beer garden has more than 40 drafts of both regional and domestic craft beers. It’s a great place to play lawn games and take a break after visiting the historic park.

Morgan’s Pier

Philadelphia is a city on a river, but due to past urban planning “decisions”, it’s not easy to enjoy open-air waterfront dining. This beer garden is located on a pier at 22 North Columbus Blvd. It’s a great place to take in the river and the dramatic Benjamin Franklin Bridge, listening as New Jersey-bound trains crisscross the span. Occasionally, you’ll even see large container ships pass by, as the Delaware River is an active shipping channel. The summer 2019 beer list is robust with nearby newcomer MainStay Brewing, providing three beers on tap in addition to selections from Neshaminy Creek, Evil Genius, and Conshohocken. The flatbreads are excellent to share.

Photo property of PHS

PHS Pop-Up Garden

Thanks to some provisions in the state’s liquor regulations, “pop-up” beer gardens are permitted in Pennsylvania. One of the first pop-ups to appear in the city was the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society beer garden, or PHS for short. PHS does a number of cleaning and greening programs throughout Philadelphia neighborhoods in addition to its very popular Flower Show. This popular South Street spot is a fusion of greening, garden design, and beverages. It has a very extensive cocktail menu including its Woodermelon (tito’s, watermelon, fresh ginger, and lime). The name is a play on the Philly accent: speakers pronounce “woo-der” instead of “wah-ter.” There are also some local craft beers on tap. Enjoy a beer/cocktail garden for a good cause at 1438 South St. Also note that there is a sign-in procedure that is free but necessary due to state regulation!

So whether you’re looking to take a break from sightseeing or looking for a relaxing spot to get a sense of a neighborhood, Philly beer gardens are a great way to get to know the city..

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