NYC's newest beer gardens

We rate 'em-food, drink and ambience.

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  • Der Schwarze Klner; Photograph: Bobby Lapointe

  • Studio Square; Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

  • Berry Park; Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

  • t.b.d.; Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

  • Berry Park; Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

  • The Sixth Ward; Photograph: Diana Sonis

  • Bia Garden; Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

  • The Standard Biergarten; Photograph: Boston Globe/Yoon S. Byun/Landov

Der Schwarze Klner; Photograph: Bobby Lapointe

Der Schwarze Klner
710 Fulton St at South Oxford St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (347-841-4495)
THE BEER Vast, impressive all-German list—Einbecker Pils, Lammsbru Dunkel—with the appropriate glassware to match. But this is 2009, Der Schwarze! Drinkers want some craft brews from their biergarten.
THE FOOD So-so, with a traditional short list of Bavarian snacks like brats and currywursts (both $4) and the bland $7 obazda (a spread of Brie, cream cheese and butter) served “mit” radishes and a decent soft pretzel. But what’s with the Styrofoam plates?
THE LOOK A corner spot done up almost Fhrer-style in sleek black, red and white, with wrap-around windows for a pretty peek at the pocket park on Fulton Street.
AUTHENTICITY Not much garden here: Despite plans for sidewalk seating, you still can’t sit outside and most windows don’t open.
PRICE Small (0.3L) $3; medium (0.5L) $6--$7; really, really large (1L) $10--$16.
HIPSTER QUOTIENT Surprisingly low thanks to a remarkably diverse crowd mirroring the Fort Greene ’hood.
OVERALL RANKING 2 Steins

Studio Square
35-33 36th St between 35th and 36th Aves, Long Island City, Queens (718-383-1001)
THE BEER The draft list is long, and we like what they’re pouring: a mix of German classics and local/craft newbies like New York’s Captain Lawrence Brewing Company and California’s Bear Republic Brewery.
THE FOOD Basic pub grub (eight-ounce burgers) plus Schaller & Weber kielbasas and brats, all $8 or $10 with fries, best ordered with a $3 side of kraut. Wild card: There’s a sushi station.
THE LOOK Spare and modern on the inside and on the covered terrace (where you order your food and booze cafeteria-style), Studio Square ups the ambience on the massive patio, with long, dark wooden tables and an ivy-covered wall.
AUTHENTICITY Stick with the communal patio seating and things are pretty damn beer-gardeny here.
PRICE Small $7, large $13, pitchers $18
HIPSTER QUOTIENT It’s cool, but it’s Queens. It’s got years to go before things get obnoxious.
OVERALL RANKING 4.5 Steins

Berry Park
4 Berry St at North 14th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-782-2829)
THE BEER The list leaves something to be desired for the most cutting-edge suds lover, though its stock of glassware is impressive. Most of the 15 drafts are German, with a few nods to Austria, Belgium and, oddly, Ireland and Scotland.
THE FOOD Very little, unless you count the free pretzel rods at the bar.
THE LOOK Warehouse modern, down to the massive screen for sports on the ground level and the poured-concrete floor on the roof. Our wish: that the rooftop bar faced the water, so we could at least belly up for the East River view.
AUTHENTICITY The picnic tables and blue Hofbru umbrellas (donated by a German beer company, perhaps?) are plentiful, but you can barely see the view when seated.
PRICE Pints are $5--$8.
HIPSTER QUOTIENT It’s within crawling distance of McCarren Park. In other words: hipster quotient, high.
OVERALL RANKING 2.5 Steins

t.b.d.
224 Franklin St at Green St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-349-6727)
THE BEER A baker’s dozen of nicely priced craft brews including Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold, Sixpoint Sweet Action and Goose Island IPA.
THE FOOD On most evenings they fire up the grill in the garden, where the outdoor chef makes better-than-decent banh mi, burgers, and mac and cheese, each for under $10.
THE LOOK Spacious and slightly 1990s on the inside—with a central space dedicated to a Ping-Pong table, thank you—and the fenced-in backyard is deep, quiet and full of communal tables. There’s even a stretch of grass on which to lie on warmer afternoons.
AUTHENTICITY Backyard banh mi and picnic-table perches more than make up for the lack of any German ambience.
PRICE $6 a pint, $3 at happy hour.
HIPSTER QUOTIENT Significant. This place is located on Greenpoint’s fastest-gentrifying main drag, after all.
OVERALL RANKING 3.5 steins

The Sixth Ward
191 Orchard St between E Houston and Stanton Sts (212-228-9888)
THE BEER Nothing special here, folks, other than a watery proprietary brew.
THE FOOD Do your stomach a favor and pass on the sad bangers and mash ($10.95) and fresh-out-of-the-bag frozen apps like jalapeo poppers and chicken strips (combo $14.95).
THE LOOK Modern Irish pub with some backyard picnic tables.
AUTHENTICITY Not much (see above).
PRICE Most pints are $6.
HIPSTER QUOTIENT Fair to middling; often a mix of postcollege coeds.
OVERALL RANKING 1 stein

Bia Garden
154 Orchard St between Rivington and Stanton Sts (212-780-0010)
THE BEER A dozen Asian brews in bottles and cans—like the Filipino San Miguel or Singaporean Tiger—all brought to your table by the six-pack, dozen or case in aluminum tubs. You pay for what you drink.
THE FOOD Well-executed Pan--Southeast Asian plates (like mussels in coconut curry broth, or a nicely spicy green mango salad topped with chilies, dried shrimp and salted fish) from Bar Bao chef Michael Huynh (plates $5--$16).
THE LOOK Supersecret garden: Walk past the takeout window, through the beer cooler and kitchen to the tiny belowground backyard outfitted with candles, a clutter of tables and tropical plants.
AUTHENTICITY The small space doesn’t channel Germany, but who cares? This Asian beer garden is awesome on all counts.
PRICE Beers are $4.50--$6.
HIPSTER QUOTIENT They arrive later; the earlier dinner hours are still tech-media geeks on expense accounts and cutting-edge foodies.
OVERALL RANKING 4 steins

The Standard Biergarten
848 Washington St at 13th St, entrance on Little W 12th St at Washington St (212-645-4646)
THE BEER There are plenty of bottles—and cocktails, too—plus three Bavarian brews on draft: a Bitburger pils, a wheat beer from Munich and a dark beer from eastern Germany.THE FOOD Austrian chef Kurt Gutenbrunner does the food, serving Schaller & Weber sausages (like weisswursts and cheddar wursts), as well as massive pretzels, served by beer-hall maidens in full costume.
THE LOOK Tucked under the High Line, this is industrial chic (iron columns, brick floors) at its prettiest, especially at night when the lovely bar is backlit by flickering light. Plus, there’s Ping-Pong.
AUTHENTICITY An amazing space, but even with plenty of plants it’s still more urban hangout than garden cloister.
PRICE $6 for bottles.
HIPSTER QUOTIENT It’s haute, not hipster here—think fashion execs with money to burn.
OVERALL RANKING 4 steins

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