(Photo by Albert Lee)
Update: Per a July 9 announcement, Independence Beer Garden now plans to open Tuesday, July 15.
A beer garden right across from Independence Mall? Yes, please.
On Tuesday, July 15, the 20,000 square-foot outdoor area of One South Independence Mall West will open as the Independence Beer Garden, a new venture from celebrated chef Michael Schulson of Sampan in Midtown Village, the mobile IBG Truck and Izakaya in Atlantic City.
The new beer garden is more awesome attraction than regular restaurant, and sure to become a top Old City destination, situated on the ground floor of the building just across the street from the Liberty Bell Center at Sixth and Chestnut streets, which is currently home to Dow Chemical.
Read on for what to expect from Independence Beer Garden, and stay tuned for more once the new space opens its doors to the public.
Update: For our guide to visiting the now-open Independence Beer Garden — click here.
With layouts from the talented David Fierabend, principal of Groundswell Design Group, the space feels well-planned, lushly landscaped and very cool.
Groundswell has plenty of experience transforming spaces, as the folks responsible for such awesome alfresco spots as Waterfront Winterfest and Spruce Street Harbor Park, which just opened on Friday, June 27.
The sweeping 20,000-square-foot beer garden wraps 360 degrees around the base of the the Rohm & Haas building, but Fierabend has carved out the extensive square footage with nearly half a dozen distinct seating areas — or “moments,” as Fierabend has said — to accommodate more than 300 guests and make the garden feel welcoming, even intimate.
An open-air seating area right out front will be populated with a central bar made of a repurposed shipping container, pergolas, planters, picnic tables and custom seating — and the muted industrial tones will be punctuated with pops of color and greenery from trees, ivy and bushes.
Situated in a breezeway, the second bar employs lovely reclaimed timber and gives way to a large covered area with seats at the bar, moveable picnic tables and a 10-foot projection TV. Just behind the breezeway bar, a game area offers up entertainment including ping pong, giant Jenga and more.
Wrapping around the building, informal seating will come in the form of everything from large granite boulders in a rock-garden area to bright orange Adirondack chairs along the south side of the building.
A private dining area and outdoor bathrooms are made of repurposed shipping containers — nine total shipping containers are used in full on the site — and are air conditioned.
According to Fierabend, the casual layout aims to encourage a free flow of guests throughout the space and make the beer garden accessible and appealing to diverse groups of diners. We’re sure enticed.
For more on Independence Beer Garden, see below.
Food & More
As for the eats and drinks, Top Chef alum chef Travis Masar will be handling the food, with plans for all-American fare that will be prepared in a refashioned shipping container — yes, the kitchen is in a shipping container, too — and served outside.
Though food and beverage menus aren’t available yet, Chef Schulson has said the all-day menu will consist of casual and affordable American offerings and the bar will serve American-only brews, with 40 taps total, as well as 18 bottled beers and 14 canned brews.
This new destination adds to the handful of alfresco eating and drinking options already on the mall, including the Independence Visitor Center’s seasonal outdoor cafe and the Red Owl Tavern at the Hotel Monaco’s sidewalk patio seating.
Plus, the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series will make two stops at Independence Beer Garden this summer. Look out for the happy hour series to pop up in Old City on Friday, August 8 and Friday, August 22.
Don’t miss toasting summer within America’s most historic square mile.
Independence Beer Garden Opening
When: Thursday, July 10 ***Update:Independence Beer Garden now plans to open Tuesday, July 15
Where: One South Independence Mall West
Cost: Pay as you go
More info: www.phlbeergarden.com