Summer 2018 Exclusive

Philadelphia’s Outdoor Oases

A beer garden is the perfect place to while away a summer day.

Snow in April, seriously?

It’s been a rough winter, but the sun is finally shining. Nothing feels better after a dreary cold spell than sitting at a picnic table, enjoying a warm afternoon, with a pint of beer in hand.

Thankfully, beer gardens have been popping up in just about every Philadelphia neighborhood. Hell, even the New York Times took notice in 2015 when they called Philly, “an urban outdoor oasis” and named it #3 on their list of 52 Places to Go – okay, not just because of our beer gardens, but you have to admit it’s a draw!

The 2018 outdoor drinking season appears mighty promising, so Draught Lines profiled our favorite beer garden hot spots for you… just in time for the next balmy day.

PHS Pop Up Gardens

With two beer gardens to their name, one at 15th & South, the other at 36th & Filbert, the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society (PHS) Pop Up Gardens pair beer with landscape design, thanks to their greening teams. Beer events are on the menu, but so are garden workshops.

“Our beer gardens are so rich in glorious flowers, vines and plants, you truly feel transported,” says PHS’s Suzanne O’Brien. Among the classes and workshops offered are, how to make succulent

South Street Beer Garden

gardens and water conservation, plus a healthy dose of everyone’s favorite beer garden activity: Corn Hole! “Oh and then we rent a giant shark you can ride on for our end of the Summer Splashdown party,” says O’Brien.

As the summer progresses, so do the workshops and programing, including Oktoberfest yodeling contests and bratwurst-eating competitions. “It’s like taking a mini-vacation out of the city, into the country.”

Communal Tables at 15th South Pop Up Garden

Parks on Tap & Morgan’s Pier

“Beer gardens have a more casual vibe than other bars and almost make you feel like you’re in your own backyard,” says Rose Brownell who oversees the mobile beer garden Parks on Tap, as well as Morgan’s Pier, which sits in the shadow of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Though vastly different, both beer gardens have left their mark on Philadelphia. “Parks on Tap sets itself apart in that it is the only traveling beer garden [in Philadelphia]. We’re in a new park every week, so Philadelphians get the chance to explore all the green space this city has to offer.”

Parks on Tap honors those green spaces, not only by creating a unique communal space for Philadelphians to relax, but also by donating a portion of their proceeds to the Philadelphia

Parks on Tap
Photo Credit: Albert Yee

Park system. “A beer at Parks on Tap is a beer you can feel really good about drinking,” says Brownell.

While Parks on Tap is portable, Morgan’s Pier is a beautiful and sprawling operation that also happens to be one of the city’s largest beer gardens. “It can be hard to break free from the everyday hustle and bustle of the city, but Morgan’s Pier provides an escape,” says Brownell. And with its unique location, Brownell asserts that “you won’t get a view like that from any other beer garden.” On any given night in the summer, Morgan’s Pier is bustling with activity, whether it be live music, DJs, game nights, beer festivals or succulent workshops. As Brownell puts it, “The list goes on and on.”


Morgan’s Pier At Night

Spruce Street Harbor Park

With over 50 colorful handmade hammocks, three landscaped barges and a number of floating gardens, Spruce Street Harbor Park (SSHP) has quickly become one of Philly’s most aesthetically beautiful and recognizable outdoor oases.

“We are quite literally on the river, and the very idea of floating on a barge in a marina is very special experience,” says Spruce Street’s GM Jackie Lai. “There aren’t too many places where you can wind down, watch ducks, freighters and sail boats passing through on a daily basis.”

The nearby boardwalk at SSHP features swings, bocce courts, ping pong and shuffle board. “I like to think the activities and

SSHP Comes Alive at Night
Photo Credit: Matt Stanley
Bocce Ball at SSHP
Photo Credit: Douglas Bovitt

games bring out the fun, silly side of adults, which is why they seem so popular.” The three bars located at Spruce Street are constantly pouring local brews like Dock Street, Evil Genius and Sly Fox. “People tend to go for a golden ale, shandy or IPA,” says Lai. “Surprisingly, hoppier beers have remained a mainstay even through the hotter months.”

So if the sun is out and you have the day free, do yourself a favor… kick back with some friends at one of these outdoor sanctuaries. As Lai puts it, “It might just be a temporary oasis within a concrete jungle, but drinking a beer, surrounded by elements of nature, goes a very long way.”


SSHP Bocce Courts and Boardwalk
Photo Credit: Matt Stanley
Hammocks Perfect for Two
Photo Credit: Guy Ginn

Web Extra: Hanging at a beer garden? Snap a photo and tag #DLBeerGarden to be entered to win some summer beer swag!

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Draught Lines is a seasonal magazine dedicated to the craft beer experience.