Beer Gardens Take RootSeptember 16, 2009 By: Donna Hood Crecca
While Bohemian Hall may be the last of the original beer gardens in New York City – at one time there were 800 in the city – a new crop appears to be springing up, undoubtedly tapping into (pun intended) consumers’ growing interest in various beer styles, not to mention beer’s appeal from a value standpoint. The tradition of enjoying beer outdoors in a festival-type atmosphere may be experiencing a revival.
While no lederhosen or cuckoo clocks are to be found at Studio Square in Long Island City, which opened in May, bratwurst, sauerkraut and pretzels are readily available along with 19 beers on tap, ranging from Spaten Oktoberfest and Lager to Samuel Adams selections. Hamburgers, pulled pork and, interestingly, a range of sushi offerings round out the food menu. The 18,000-square-foot space boasts an outdoor cobblestone patio with picnic tables and a fire pit. The patio’s perimeter is partially covered so the party continues in inclement weather, or guests can hit the indoor bar. Private spaces are also available for rentals for large and small gatherings.
While Studio Square has made a big splash in the metro area, and the indoor bar should allow it to continue hopping through the colder months to come, it’s not the only beer garden taking root in the Big Apple. Michael Huynh of Bao fame (BarBao, Pho Sure and Baoguette) debuted Bia Garden in September (bia is Vietnamese for beer), with a unique spin: not only does the menu feature Asian brews exclusively, but patrons order by the six- or 12-pack or case, and pay for only what’s consumed.
Opened late this summer in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, Berry Park may seem like simplicity personified – picnic tables on the 3,000-square-foot rooftop patio and concrete flooring – but simplicity stops there. Fifteen worldly beers are on tap for guests to enjoy while watching the oversized screen (soccer matches are popular); downstairs the space is slightly larger and features a full bar and space for live music performances. Reports are that the food menu and kitchen plan are still in development.
Open but not quite ready for prime time are The Standard Beer Garden (adjacent to the recently debuted Standard Grill) in lower Manhattan and Der Schwarze Kölner, opened in late August with 18 beers on tap and a menu of German dishes; the patio should open shortly.
Apparently, a new day for brews is dawning in New York.