In the late 19th century, New York City was drenched in beer: Brooklyn alone boasted 50 breweries and Queens offered 300 leafy beer gardens. But post-World War I anti-German sentiment, followed by Prohibition, put a serious damper on Big Apple beer culture and nearly all the breweries, beer gardens, and beer halls permanently shuttered.
Fortunately, all that’s quickly changing. New York is, once again, swimming in beer gardens, offering a welcome reprieve from the summertime Gotham heat and humidity. Here are the 13 best beer gardens in NYC.
Founded in 1919, Bohemian Hall was likely the lone surviving beer garden and beer hall after World War I anti-German sentiment dried up and closed the hundreds of other bibulous establishments in and around Queens. Probably because Bohemian Hall is actually Czech.
Adoringly referred to as “Bohemka,” by local Czechs, this plus-sized beer garden is one of the best places to sip a frothy pint of beer. They have some excellent Czech brews on tap. There’s also a menu of hearty Central European fare to fill up your stomach to add some longevity when visiting one of the oldest beer gardens in NYC.
Located across the street from McCarren Park on the Williamsburg/Greenpoint border, Spritzenhaus33 is 6,000-square-foot hall and garden. They offer a plethora of beers on tapped (including the hard-to-find Czech lager, Staropramen). A wood-fired oven turns out better-than-average pizzas, plus there are big soft pretzels and Belgian fries to help pad the stomach during a night of imbibing.
Located right across the street from Green Wood Cemetery, this beer garden is very much alive with beer-swilling Brooklynites. This leafy spot is, in fact, one of the biggest beer gardens in NYC at over 13,000 square feet.
Greenwood Park offers a whopping 60 different beers on tap, most of which are of the American craft varieties, and the menu goes deep into detail on the taste characteristics of each. The food menu is very beer friendly with variations on the theme of pizza, plus sandwiches, nachos, chicken wings, and fish tacos—basically the things we crave after a beer or four.
Insider’s Tip: Looking for more watering holes? Don’t miss our post on dive bars in NYC!
When speaking about beer gardens, it’s hard to ignore that city just across the Hudson River (and easily accessed by the PATH subway train), Jersey City.
Hudson Hall claims to be an “Eastern European” beer hall and garden (Psssst, it’s really Central European but what are maps for anyway). It serves up a hearty menu of Polish pierogies, plus-sized pretzels, as well as typical American pub grub, all to complement the 20 beers on tap which range from Brooklyn to the Czech Republic and everything in between.
Santiago’s Beer Garden
Refreshingly, a beer garden with a Latin theme, Santiago’s is housed in a former alley in Spanish Harlem. Walls are bedecked with colorful murals and mosaics. There are about a dozen brews on offer, including Presidente from the Dominican Republic and Red Stripe from Jamaica, but the real draw is the festive atmosphere. And, of course, the pan-Latin fare.
Evil Twin Brewing
Located in Ridgewood, Queens, this small-but-excellent brewery also has an on-premises beer garden. Choose between al fresco or sitting in the glass-enclosed atrium at this NYC beer garden. There are always about 20 different beers on tap at the Evil Twin taproom, so be sure to come thirsty.
Loreley Beer Garden
This long-time Lower East Side beer garden is modeled after the beer halls and gardens of Cologne, Germany. Not surprisingly, Loreley offers a Teutonic-leaning menu of beer garden favorites like pork schnitzel, pan-fried cheese spätzle, and beer-bacon-cheese dip to go along with 12 beers on tap (all of which hail from Germany).
Gowanus Yacht Club
It’s all about the hipster irony at this Carroll Gardens outdoor drinking spot. Even all the way down to the name, which takes its moniker from the uber-polluted, super-fund site, Gowanus Canal, about a block and a half away.
Nor is it a yacht club. Instead, GYC is a fun, ramshackle, sun-bleached spot where local hipsters sip cheap cans of PBR and eat decent hot dogs and hamburgers. Because Gowanus Yacht Club only has an outdoor space, its opening times are limited from mid-April until late October.
Zeppelin Hall & Beer Garden
One of the beer gardens in NYC with an Old-World feel, Zeppelin is located in Jersey City. The outdoor space boasts a myriad of long communal tables for those warm-weather afternoons sipping one of the handful of German and American beers on tap. Naturally, the food menu is loaded with meaty goodness, including oodles of sausages, barbecued pork, smoked wings, bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, and soft pretzels. Prost!
A local brewery in Long Island City that is unfortunately off the radar more than it should be, ICONYC offers a lovely beer garden, large tent seating, and tables in the tap room. There’s also a pedestrianized street adjacent to the brewery where patrons will often have impromptu parties.
There are usually about 10 beers on tap at this NYC beer garden. Cross your fingers that the day you visit they’re pouring “Sushi Grade,” a refreshing beer made with Japanese rice.
Torch & Crown Brewing Company
Located on a quiet street in west SoHo, Torch & Crown opened in October 2020 as the only small brewery in Manhattan. The name is a reference to the Statue of Liberty and the 200-seat outdoor space is a lovely place to flaunt your beer-drinking freedom. The homemade beer selections include a crisp Italian pilsner, a cream ale, a sour ale, and, of course, way too many versions of IPA.
Tucked under the High Line in the Meatpacking District, the Standard Biergarten is connected to the scene-y Standard Hotel next door. The vibe is traditional with long tables and bench-style seating, as you might find at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, for example.
The beer is poured into traditional mugs and steins. There are five German brews on tap and a menu of beerhall cuisine that includes pretzels, sausages, and, of course, sauerkraut. During weekdays, there’s a 4-to-6pm happy hour, where you can get 25-cent chicken wings and discounted cocktails.
Radegast Hall & Biergarten
Radegast is a Czech beer and a Slavic god of hospitality. This Williamsburg beer hall and garden is likely named for the latter. With a retractable roof, Radegast Hall & Biergarten is a rustic, fun place to pound a few pints.
There are nine German beers on tap and a slew of bottled brews from Belgium, England, and the Czech Republic. Like many other beer gardens in NYC, the food menu is similarly Central European leaning with Hungarian goulash, schnitzel, various grilled sausages, and currywurst, that iconic Berlin street snack.
David Farley is a West Village-based food and travel writer whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, National Geographic, BBC, and Food & Wine, among other publications. He’s the author of three books, including “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town,” which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel. You can find Farley’s online homes here and here.