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June 1, 2012

The Summer Of The Beer Garden Has Returned For 2012 – A Roundup Of Where To Find Breezy Outdoor Beer Gardens In Philadelphia

With the opening of Morgan's Pier last weekend and the return of the With Love Beer Garden slated for this Monday, we're prepared to declare Beer Garden season in Philadelphia officially open for business. (Photos clockwise from top left: courtesy Morgan's Pier; courtesy Frankford Hall; photo by M. Edlow for GPTMC; courtesy Frankford Hall)

Remember when last summer we declared 2011 the Summer of the Beer Garden? Well, we’re wisely doing the same for summer 2012 and we’re doing it early this year on the first of June so you can take full advantage and plan accordingly.

The presence of breezy outdoor dining spaces in Philadelphia has only grown since last year. And with the opening of Morgan’s Pier last weekend and the return of the With Love Beer Garden slated for this Monday, we’re prepared to declare Beer Garden season in Philadelphia officially open for business.

Beer gardens are the perfect spaces to kick back with a cold craft brew and enjoy a summer breeze with some good company. You can lose yourself for hours when the weather is just right, the beers keep coming and the food is lip-lickingly tasty.

So it’s only natural that we help you find your way to the best beer gardens in Philadelphia, especially now that Memorial Day ushered in, unofficially, the summer season… and we’re happy to proclaim that 2012 is, once again, the summer of the beer garden.

Below, you will find our revisited top picks for beer gardens in Philadelphia. We’ve taken a magnifying lens to last summer’s best beer gardens list, supplemented it with a few additions, and made a few tweaks.

As always, let us know in the comments where your favorite place is to go for an alfresco beer.

Happy (unofficial) summer.

***UPDATED 7/25/12.

Opa’s Drury Beer Street Garden: Opa’s addition of their backyard Drury Beer Garden in Midtown Village is in full swing for the summer. Open Monday-Saturday at 5 p.m. until last call, the outdoor city space offers a playful, nostalgic environment providing ping pong, picnic tables, colorful seating and a vintage dresser from the 70s that’s been converted into a unique bar boasting boombox tunes. Dish on chili garlic fingers; crab boil served with corn on the cob, sausage and potatoes; rotating dessert options; spiked lemonade, iced tea and punch poured in $6 pint and $55 cooler sizes; wine, drafts and over two dozen cans and bottles.

Llama Tooth: Across the street from Union Transfer on Spring Garden Street sits an unsuspecting tropical oasis called Llama Tooth, featuring a brightly painted Tiki Bar, Christmas lights hung from the ceiling, bright murals and locally made art all outside in a giant beer garden.

Morgan’s Pier: This new backyard beer garden concept, located right on the Delaware River waterfront within a stone’s throw of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, has pretty much nailed it. Great vibe, great setting, great food and great beer. Morgan’s Pier offers an awesome view of the river and the Ben Franklin Bridge, plus a spacious seasonal setting for hanging out backyard style with a top notch selection of craft beer — both local and national — and delicious summer fare. The man behind the grub, Chef David Katz of Mémé, has created a fun seasonal menu serving bites of fried shrimp, corn and blue crab fritters, pineapple-ancho chicken wings, fried Jersey tomatoes, snack bacon, fried chicken tacos and a selection of salads all coming in just below the $10 mark. (Don’t sleep on the tomatoes. Or the fried chicken tacos for that matter.) Just up the street from the awesome Race Street Pier — last year’s crucial waterfront addition — Morgan’s Pier is quite possibly already our new favorite hangout.

• Frankford Hall: Our love affair with Frankford Hall has continued from last year right through today, and rightfully so: Stephen Starr’s Fishtown beer garden has continuously upped the ante with delicious new food offerings, great happy hour deals, ping-pong tables, table games and an outdoor setting that’s hard to beat. Frankford Hall boasts indoor and outdoor seating for 400, complete with exposed brick walls, reclaimed industrial materials and multiple bars. Classic German foods (think pretzels, bratwurst, curry fries, sauerkraut, schnitzel and spaetzle) plus burgers are available at a walk-up counter, as is a hefty beer menu that includes everything from traditional German beers to craft specialties available on nine taps.

• The With Love Beer Garden at The Four Seasons: The With Love Beer Garden makes its triumphant return to the Four Seasons outdoor courtyard starting this Monday, June 4. All week long from 5-9 p.m., you can enjoy a nightly rotating selection of local brews, freshly grilled food and and an awesome outdoor setting. Make sure to stop by for Opening Night, June 4, to pick up a super special beer-themed giveaway when you check in with Foursquare or Facebook.

Check out the rest of our picks below.

• Memphis Taproom: ‘Tis the season for dining and drinking outdoors, and Memphis Taproom has brought back its popular beer garden. The narrow picnic table-clad spot serves up gourmet hotdogs, fried pickles and canned craft beers.

• Hop Angel Brauhaus: This German-themed restaurant and beer bar in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia also opened a beer garden last May. German style beer, imported, local and national, is the main focus, but other styles are also featured. Also, the bratwursts are legit. Friday is Hoppy Hour from 4-6 p.m. with $3 pints and free appetizers.

• Silk City: The setting at the Silk City Beer Garden is part island oasis, part eclectic junkyard. It’s filled with colorful wooden tables, empty-kegs-turned-chairs, string lights aplenty and garden ornament-like objects likely salvaged at many a yard sale. And to that an awesome beer selection, favoring local brews, and you have a recipe for a great summer outing.

Stay tuned for a lot more to come about summer in Philadelphia.

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