Forget the oompah bands; these four beer gardens are sleek, with style and sun to spare.
Butchertown Hall, 1416 4th Ave. N., Nashville, Tenn.
The details: With minimalist touches like polished concrete tables and planter boxes filled with succulents, the garden at this elevated beer hall reads 21st-century sleek. But the new spot (opened in February) was conceived as an homage to its namesake neighborhood’s German immigrant past, firmly rooting it in local history.
Have a drink: Tennessee’s best brewers contribute to a “private selection” menu created just for Butchertown; look for the latest from Jackalope and Black Abbey.
Explore the grounds: The experimental nature of the beverage program has already distinguished this spot as a beer makers’ darling, so keep your eyes peeled for dignitaries of the regional brewing scene.
Lost and Found, 2040 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, Calif.
The details: At 6,000 square feet, this sprawling and stylish beer garden, opened in spring 2014, offers ample space to stretch out and savor mild Bay Area evenings. And if parking it on a picnic bench isn’t your bag, never fear: There are ping-pong tables and bean bag toss games to keep you occupied.
Have a drink: A 20-strong draft list highlights NorCal brews, like Fieldwork’s Timberline, an IPA that delights with pine, grapefruit and mango hop flavors.
Explore the grounds: Owner Christi Vaughn helped found a vocational gardening program at San Quentin Prison, and the beer garden’s landscaping is tended by former inmates who completed the program prior to their release.
Scout Beer Garden, 28th Street and Division St., Portland, Ore.
The details: Portland publican/nanobrewer/former bakery owner Joe St. Martin hitched his wagon—er, repurposed vintage trailer—to Tidbit, a well-appointed food cart “pod” that debuted in mid-2014. The pod’s patrons share ample seating, giving this spot an extra dose of the convivial vibe that defines a great beer garden.
Have a drink: A dozen handles showcase local brews, including St. Martin’s own; look for yummy releases like the house Peanut Butter Porter.
Explore the grounds: An international fleet of food carts awaits, perfect for when you’re craving a wood-fired pizza but your buddy’s on a Scandinavian flatbread kick.
Dacha Beer Garden, 1600 7th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
The details: A desire to escape the corporate lifestyle drove Russian émigrés Ilya Alter and Dmitri Chekaldin out of finance and into the bar game in 2013. Their resulting seasonal beer garden, in D.C.’s emerging Shaw neighborhood, takes its name from the Russian word for summer cottage, a fitting moniker for this cozy retreat.
Have a drink: Go traditional with a Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, the silky, zesty, spicy brew that defines the style.
Explore the grounds: The three-story image of Elizabeth Taylor that presides over the garden (by muralist G. Byron Peck) pays tribute to Taylor’s activism during the AIDS epidemic that rocked D.C. in the 1980s.