As the weather becomes increasingly summer-like, people are awakening from their winter hibernation and embracing the outdoors. In Germany, this signals the beginning of the beer garden season, when the masses flock to these outdoor oases and unwind with a refreshing beer. Unfortunately, we all aren’t lucky enough to be in Germany.

Fortunately for New Yorkers, everything that is beloved abroad ends up finding a prominent place in the city, and German-style beer gardens are no exception. Unsurprisingly, the city puts its own spin on it and these spots can’t really be called German anymore – they’re in a new category altogether – they’re New York City Beer Gardens.

While they’re a somewhat recent phenomenon with most being established within the last five to ten years, New York’s multiple beer gardens have emerged as many local’s favourite way to spend a pleasant day in the city. With that, here are my top picks for New York City beer gardens you shouldn’t miss:

Zum Schneider

New York City Beer Gardens: Spätzle mit Pilzen @ zum Schneider
Zum Schneider was opened in NYC long before beer gardens were cool by a real-life Bavarian. As such, most aspects of this spot are über traditional, from the regular oompah band to the steins of Bavarian beer to the communal seating. The food is a highlight, representing the quintessential Bavarian beer garden cuisine including sausages, baked pretzel, and pork shank.  Zum Schnieder is the unofficial cultural community centre for German expats, evident throughout all of the well celebrated national events including Karneval, World Cup and, of course, Oktoberfest.

Berry Park

New York City Beer Gardens: Berry Park - D Wang
This Williamsburg haunt features a large indoor drinking area, but the main draw is the rooftop beer garden which seats 100+ and offers fabulous views of the Manhattan skyline. Regulars sip a diverse beer selection which is mostly German but also features some Belgian and English brews and nosh on a good mix of German influenced pub food. Berry Park is the place to catch most international soccer games and is the premier spot in the area to watch the World Cup & Euro Cup matches on their giant projection screen. Other perks include daily brunch until 4pm and weekday happy hour from 2 to 7pm where select drinks and snacks are an affordable $5.

Spuyten Duyvil

New York City Beer Gardens: Spuyten Duyvil - Buzz Andersen
This hotspot in Northern Williamsburg is a favourite with beer lovers due to its large and eclectic beer list, of which anyone should be able to find something to their tastes. With rotating draughts and a diverse selection of international beers, Spuyten Duyvil is a great spot to be adventurous and sample some unique styles and brewers. The highlight is the backyard garden – an expansive oasis of mismatched tables and chairs, which is always busy when the weather is pleasant, with majority of the drinkers leaning on the trees, on the look out for a spot to become free. Inside is quite small and narrow but also has its charms, until it becomes too jammed up to move comfortably as the night goes on. The garden closes at 11:30pm every night so put this near the beginning of your evening’s itinerary.

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

New York City Beer Gardens: Bohemian Hall - Chris
This Astoria institution has been catering to Queens’ locals since 1910 and is still one of the city’s best beer gardens. The Bohemian was established as an offshoot of the Bohemian Benevolent Society, a Czech & Slovakian group which still runs the hall and beer garden today. As you would expect, the food is traditional and delicious, such as Slovakian sausages, potato pancakes, and beef goulash, all hardy enough to soak up the steins and pitchers of the 20 or so beers on tap. The rows upon rows of communal tables encourage drinkers to socialize with the old world traditionalists and Astoria hipsters, both of whom are usually present yet coexist quite peacefully.

Loreley Restaurant and Biergarten

New York City Beer Gardens: Loreleys - Young Sok-Yun
This Lower East Side gem was opened in 2003 and built to resemble a traditional ‘Brauhaus’ typical in Cologne. The draught beer list is exclusively German and features a variety of styles including Kolsch, Weissbier, Schwarzbier, and, of course, Pilsner which are available in 0.3L glasses or 1L masses, perfectly enjoyed cozied up to strangers in the bustling beer garden. The food is everything you would expect from German biergarten fare such as Bratwurst, Schnitzel, and, my favourite, Käsespätzle but a few dishes attempt to fuse the traditional with the trendy including wurst tacos with guacamole and beef sliders on pretzel buns.

The Standard Biergarten

New York City Beer Gardens: The Standard - Shawn Hoke
While the Standard Hotel’s take on the biergarten is without question the least traditional, it is definitely the trendiest. Thanks to its central location overlooking the High Line, the Standard Biergarten attracts the well dressed professionals who haunt the Meatpacking district. Hop in line at the grill for some classic German fare such as giant pretzels, bratwurst with sauerkraut, and currywurst at quite reasonable rates for the Standard. On tap are several German brews which are popular in litre steins but if beer isn’t your thing, there’s also a full bar. If you can’t make it in the summer, don’t fret. The biergarten is covered in the winter and has heat lamps to keep you warm.

Radegast Hall and Biergarten

New York City Beer Gardens: Radegast - Bob
This massive spot tucked away on an unassuming Williamsburg street is more beer hall than beer garden, but is certainly worthy of this list. The long communal tables, dark wood interior, and lingering sausage aroma truly evoke a sense of being in a beer hall in Germany. Squeeze yourself into any available space on the benches and grab a stein of one of the several beers on tap including German favourites Hofbrau, Weihenstephaner, and Radeberger. Finished your first litre and craving another? Best fill up on sausage, the ultimate German beer food, which comes with sauerkraut and a wide variety of grainy mustards.

Photos of New York City beer gardens courtesy of Flickr, Monica Müller (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0); Shawn Hoke (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0); D Wang (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0); Buzz Andersen (CC BY-NC 2.0), apollonia666 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0); Young Sok Yun 윤영석 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0); Shawn Hoke (CC BY-NC 2.0); break.things (CC BY-ND 2.0)


Lauren Barth

Lauren Barth

Lauren Barth co-founded Departful in 2012 and is the Managing Director of Departful Media. Since then she has worked between North America and Europe and has published content in partnership with a variety of tourism boards and businesses based around the world. Lauren is currently based in Toronto, Canada.

Departful is a travel magazine that provides accessible, relevant, and thoughtful travel tips and ideas to inspire people to explore the world around them. We feature travel articles, travel tips, and photography based on our own experiences from over 100 countries covering all things adventure, culture, food and drink, technology, and gear. Made with ❤ in Toronto.


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