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NYC beer gardens proliferate the city like Starbucks. There might as well be one on every street corner. And, with all of the craft breweries in New York, many of these establishments are dedicated to representing the best brews the city has to offer.
There are few things better than a pint with the lads (or ladies); cracking open a cold one when the mood strikes.Check out our picks for the best NYC beer gardens to quench your thirst just in time for happy hour.
When you’re in the mood to trade in the density and excitement of downtown for the chill vibes of northern Manhattan and the Bronx, you won’t be disappointed by what’s on offer. Right on Frederick Douglass Blvd in Harlem sits the iconic Harlem Tavern. With an expansive food menu to satisfy even the pickiest eaters and a drink menu that caters to drinkers and nondrinkers alike, this is the kind of place to bring your entire group of friends.
Known for its “nostalgic design,” the vibe here hearkens back to days when conversation was the centerpiece of a pub. You may even forget to check your phone every time it vibrates. And their outside beer garden stays on theme with its restored brick, another blast from the past. Be sure to check out some of their locally brewed beers like the Brooklyn Summer Pale Ale and the Bronx Brewery DIPA.
Still uptown, this time in the Bronx, there is Bricks & Hops. The outside of this NYC beer garden looks more like a coffee shop than a place to grab a real drink. No need to fear, though, as their menu features “30 craft beers on draft and 20 craft beers in cans.” You’ll find a Bronx Summer Pale Ale, Wave Chaser IPA, Now Youse Can’t Leave IPA and Birra Locale pilsner, all of which are brewed in the state of New York.
Not in the mood for a brew? Bricks & Hops also offers a few signature cocktails, from the Flor de Carmen Rosa to the Henny Colada. Their Happy Hour (from 4-8 p.m.) appetizer selections like chicharron or pretzel bites will help soak up the alcohol, and there’s a more extensive menu if you’re wanting to stay through dinner.
Because NYC is also rife with breweries, some of these beer-makers double-up as tasting rooms, restaurants, pubs and, yes, beer gardens. At these spots, you can enjoy house-brewed beer as well as curated selections from other brewers, plus some quality food to tie it all together.
The Keg & Lantern, for instance, is easy to find right in Greenpoint, and you can sit indoors or outside in their backyard. Offering standard American fare, their menu also includes many vegan and gluten-free options. Their backyard keeps a beer garden vibe without losing its urban roots; the concrete walls are adorned with gold, silver and white abstract graffiti.
Because The Keg & Lantern is a brewery, you get direct access to the beer that they make in-house. From their Night Mode dry Irish stout to Jazz Chickens w/ Nectarines, a fruited pale sour, there’s no way you’ll be able to choose just one draft beer to try. Pair your brew with their famous crispy chicken wings in flavors like Pepperberry, Yakitori and even one candidly deemed Hell Fire.
Next, we move along to Williamsburg to find a craft beer company founded and run by two women. In this male-dominated industry, it’s always nice to see someone shaking things up. At Talea, owners LeAnn and Tara run both their own brewing company as well as an indoor and outdoor taproom.
Forget your typical handlebar-mustached-hipster, over-hopped IPA lineup. Talea is looking to explore a diverse range of brewing potential. Talea explains that their beers are “at the intersection of high quality and low-bitterness with fruit-forward flavors; beers that you can comfortably share with your hard-seltzer and wine-drinking friends, or open with the most discerning beer connoisseur.”
Talea’s outdoor area is a beer garden in its own right offering covered street seating and a shaded courtyard. When it comes to exploring which brew is right for you, their beer flights are the way to go. If you’re looking to try a few of Talea’s brews, but still want to be able to walk in a straight line afterward, this is a great option. Talea also offers “beer cocktails,” like the “Beermosa” and the “Pink and Stormy” for even more variety.
Everyone loves a theme
Especially in New York, you can find at least one bar that suits any theme you can imagine – that’s kind of a threat and a promise. Beer gardens are no exception to that rule. For a unique evening out enjoying the creativity the city has to offer, choose a beer garden with a compelling theme.
Perhaps the most “New York” of them all is the Brooklyn Street Art Beer Garden. Not only does this spot support several local breweries – Coney Island Brewing Co. and Brooklyn Cider House among them – but it also commissions local artists to create the street art that defines its atmosphere.
And, once a week, BSABC runs an art workshop for the area’s youth for the purpose of teaching street art techniques to children, keeping the traditions of this craft alive. When you support this business, you’re supporting local and independent breweries, artists and even children’s art education. Cheers to that.
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