American Beer Gardens: Hip Summer Hangouts

Americans love summer and summer means heading outside to eat, drink and be merry. Instead of imbibing with friends in a dark and stuffy pub, why not drink your favorite brew at a beer garden? This quintessentially German institution, with its convivial atmosphere, plethora of beer and outdoor seating, is taking the U.S. by storm. Here are our favorites around the country:

Estabrook Beer Garden, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee has strong German roots and once had a plethora of beer gardens. Today, Estabrook Beer Garden, on the banks of the Milwaukee River, is bringing the concept back to life. It’s not a large space but it gets the job done. Sit at one of the picnic tables and enjoy the water view. Guests can order pretzels, German sausage and half liters and liters of beer daily, from noon until 10. Enjoy live music in the early evening but leave the credit card at home. It’s cash only.

Bayou Beer Garden, New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is synonymous with fun. And the Bayou Beer Garden promises a lot of that. Situated on Jefferson Davis street in Mid City, the Bayou is a relaxed place to while away the time, play trivia, watch sports or just socialize with friends and locals. The beer garden offers an extensive list of domestic and imported beer as well as cider, wine and spirits. The open plan concept offers cover when the weather turns rainy during winter month, and a soft breeze during the hot and humid summer.

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Astoria, Queens

No list would be complete without mention of the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Queens, New York. For more than a century, New Yorkers have been heading to this rustic beer garden in the heart of Astoria to drink Czech beer and dine on East European food. But don’t expect your beer in a stein or mass. You can only order by the mug or pitcher, with selections limited to Czech and American brews. The beer garden isn’t just about brews, however. It plays hosts to events such as the Czech and Slovak Festival and dance parties during off-peak hours. Although it has become increasingly popular in recent years, it still has a laid back, almost take-it-or-shove-it vibe. So leave the attitude in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Prost, Portland, Oregon

Portlanders are beer aficionados and most drink local brews. But sticking to that would be a shame. Prost on bustling Mississippi Avenue in North Portland serves only German fare and German beer, the latter in their proper glasses just like in an authentic German beer garden. Prost is packed whenever a German soccer match is televised, with guests spilling over the outside patio. But the bartenders are attentive and the clientele is fun, if a bit rowdy at times. The spot is so popular that the owners opened another beer garden in NE Portland called Stammtisch. The crowd is older and the food more varied. Where else in town can you order hasenpfeffer?

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