NYC’s best beer gardens

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

Between 1820 and 1860, 1.5 million immigrants arrived in America from Germany, bringing with them their own cultural traditions — ¬ among them outdoor beer gardens. Unlike the bars in Irish neighborhoods, the German beer gardens catered to whole families, and public drinking was just one of their attractions. Although many of New York’s historic beer gardens have disappeared, this summer you can still enjoy a cold one at any of these authentic beer gardens around the city.

BROOKLYN

Gowanus Yacht Club Garage-sale chic meets Gilligan’s Island at this kitschy beer garden with a beach-shack feel. Sit outside on wooden benches and chow down on their 10 types of hot dogs while you drink wine or cheap, frothy beer in Styrofoam cups. Homemade and broken-in, with frat boys mixing politely with children and city-folk, the Yacht Club feels like a family picnic. (Open Memorial Day through Halloween; 323 Smith St., at President Street; 718-246-1321)

The Gate With an extensive selection of beers on tap, knowledgeable staff and the option of indoor and outdoor seating, The Gate is one of Park Slope’s best summer watering holes. The eponymous gate surrounds a packed patio, with tables perfectly situated for intimate conversation, or observing 5th Avenue passersby. It sometimes gets a little too crowded on the weekends, but you¹ll still enjoy throwing darts and listening to classic rock tunes on the jukebox. The outdoor patio is especially inviting for dogs and their owners. (321 Fifth Ave., between 3rd and 4th Streets; 718-768-4329)

MANHATTAN

Loreley This old world German restaurant offers a taste of Bavaria on the Lower East Side. Modeled on brewhouses in Cologne, it focuses on the beer, not the bling. A darkened bar and indoor seating area in front leads to six large pine tables on the outdoor patio in back. Come hungry and order a half-liter of German beer (don’t worry, you¹ll finish it) and hearty plate of Wiener schnitzel. (7 Rivington St., between Bowery and Chrystie Streets; 212-253-7077)

Zum Schneider Owner Sylvester Schneider missed the all-are-welcome atmosphere of the biergardens back home in Bavaria, so he created his own in the East Village. The cash-only indoor/outdoor beer garden has a great selection of draught and bottled German beers, communal wooden tables and fake trees, and authentic German food and desserts. Almost all of the staff is fluent in both German and English, as well. (107 Avenue C, at 7th Street; 212-598-1098)

Hallo Berlin “New York’s wurst restaurant,” the Hallo Berlin menu proudly proclaims. In fact, the wurst is tops at one of Manhattan’s best German restaurants. They’ve created an authentic indoor beer garden in Hells Kitchen, complete with long picnic tables and umbrellas, so even in cold weather you can enjoy a taste of summer in Berlin. A great place for large groups, with affordable beers and food. (626 Tenth Ave., at 44th Street; 212-977-1944)

QUEENS

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden Arguably New York’s oldest and most famous beer garden. The Bohemian Hall was built in 1910 as a haven for the traditions and culture of Czech immigrants, and has remained the most authentic European beer garden in the city. Inside is a charming old dive bar, but outside is another world — a green, spacious expanse Manhattanites only dream of, with picnic tables under trees where folks sip cold Czech and German beer and tackle plates of hearty Czech food. (29-19 24th Ave., between 29th and 31st Streets, Astoria)

THE BRONX

Charlie’s Inn opened in 1935, when Throggs Neck was still home to the German Stadium, which housed many German-American League soccer matches. After changing hands several times, this carriage house-turned-German restaurant and weekend beer garden has hasn¹t changed much. Customers enjoy island BBQs and live entertainment in the summer in the outdoor garden, and the Bier Garden tradition is kept alive on summer Sundays. (2711 Harding Ave.; 718-931-9727)

STATEN ISLAND

Killmeyer’s Also known as the “Old Bavarian Inn,” Killmeyer’s has been a part of Staten Island history since the mid-19th century. Plan a small get together in the private party room, feast on an authentic German dinner in the main dining room (adorned with Bavarian artifacts), or choose from over 150 beers and listen to music in the large outdoor beer garden. (4254 Arthur Kill Rd.; 718-984-1202)

Nurnberger Bierhaus The extensive menu includes all the German staples, such as several different types of schnitzels, Schweinshaxe and potato dumplings. This bustling and warm German restaurant serves eight German beers on tap, plus two American brews, German wines and all varieties of Schnapps. The outdoor Biergarden at Nurnberger Bierhaus opens May 4, with live bands and four additional beers on tap. (817 Castleton Ave.; 718-816-7461)

This article was published in the May 11-13, 2007 weekend issue of amNewYork.

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