Popular for their great community vibe and appealing settings, BEER GARDENS are proliferating around the country. Food is central to many, some with menus extending far beyond traditional German fare. Not only are beer gardens stellar destinations for Oktoberfest (celebrated Sept. 21 to Oct. 6), but with many open year-round, you’ll find them to be great spots to raise a glass any time. Here are just a few of our favorites:
ESTABROOK BEER GARDEN, Milwaukee
At this traditional beer garden, located in a public park and filled with lively music, you can bring your own stein if you like — and your own food. If you do BYOF, save room for a giant pretzel.
FRANKFORD HALL, Philadelphia
With lights strung in trees, fire pits in cold weather and crowd-friendly game tables, visitors get a German-beer-hall ambience. Vegetarian sausage and burger options are a nice touch.
BOHEMIAN HALL & BEER GARDEN; Queens, N.Y.
New York City’s oldest beer garden (on-site since 1910) is still going strong. With a huge outdoor space and communal tables for socializing, drinking and eating (both Slovak and Czech food are offered here), the authentic neighborhood feel is firmly intact.
Complete with trees and picnic tables, not to mention more than 100 types of beer, Sheffield’s is also renowned for an extensive menu that includes great barbecue (we like the pulled pork).
ZEITGEIST SAN FRANCISCO
This hip spot is a unique take on the traditional beer garden and features a large selection of local and imported beers on tap. Patrons also speak highly of the bloody marys and burgers.