Forget polka music and corny lederhosen; the freshest beer gardens are accessorizing with elevated cuisine.
Boulder | FATE Brewing Co.
Cornhole-tossers and day-long drinking sessions keep this brewery/bistro/beer garden casual, but the food’s serious: Even the BLT boasts a layer of cold-smoked salmon. Local ingredients and beer brewed on-site collide in dishes like ale-soaked paella and salads tossed in stout-pepper vinaigrette; 30 faucets pour house winners like Parcae Belgian Pale Ale and guest beers.
Nashville | Pharmacy
Only a year in, and this East Nashville craft beer and burger spot has already renovated its kid-friendly beer garden—and won major kudos for Tennessee beef masterpieces like the delightfully gooey Stroganoff Burger (mushroom beschamel, onions, Swiss and sour cream). Save room for house-made pop, including an honest-to-goodness cream soda.
Silicon Valley | Steins
Using local ingredients, chef Colby Reade makes even the house burger (a short rib/ sirloin/brisket mix topped with a fresh egg on a brioche bun he baked earlier) seem healthy in that way only Californians can. The rest of the food changes seasonally—not quite as fast as 30 geekworthy taps. Bask in the fireplace and alternate rare pours from High Water with session beers from Calicraft.
Brooklyn | Greenwood Park
Upcycled cargo containers, bocce courts and 60 taps turned a former auto repair shop into Brooklyn’s chillest beer garden; a panini menu (think meatball-marinara with house-made ricotta) and the occasional pig roast give it culinary cred.
Philadelphia | PHS POP Up Garden
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society transformed an empty South Broad Street lot into a lovely (but temporary!) landscaped garden pouring Philly-made brew. Iron Chef Jose Garces’ goodies like short-rib sandwiches and blueberry-lemon pie-in-a-jar are around till the garden closes in October.
Berkeley | Moxy Beer Garden
This rustic (and covered!) patio has something for everyone: Moroccan lamb burgers for carnivores, vegan “Buffalo wings” (beer-battered cauliflower) for the veggie set, and 24 California crafts the likes of Almanac and Line 51 for beer pros and novices alike.
Minneapolis | Butcher and The Boar
The 2013 James Beard Award “Best New Restaurant” semifinalist now has table service in the gigantic beer garden, which means you don’t have to lift a finger for a Surly Furious, rooster terrine or house-stuffed boar sausage—or all three.
Oakland | Brotzeit Lokal
Bring friends to this boat-in beer garden and build sandwiches from the do-it-yourself Wurst Platter, or wait an hour for a whole braised chicken served with spaetzle, seasonal veggies and salad. Pass the time with pints of German classics and the house altbier by neighbor Linden Street Brewery.