Imbibing alfresco at one of New York’s best outdoor bars is one of our favorite things to do in summer, especially at a top-notch beer garden in NYC. Booze away a sunny day with cold brews and summer drinks, then cozy up inside spacious craft beer bars when it gets cold. For every type of brew lover out there, here are the best beer gardens and beer halls in New York City.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do outside in NYC
Every beer garden NYC has to offer
Beer lovers and German expats from all over the city flock to this Bavarian party house, where the most hotly contested seats are out on the sidewalk under blue umbrellas. This prime people-watching spot—smack in the middle of Alphabet City—is tough to beat, especially when you’ve got a liter stein of beer in hand. Choose from a dozen German brews on tap plus more than ten bottles. After knocking back a few, you too will be shaking a tail feather.
This authentic Czech beer garden offers plenty of mingle-friendly picnic tables, where you can sit while you sample cheap platters of sausage and a solid lineup of European and domestic beers (pints $7, pitchers $18). Though the huge, tree-canopied garden is open year-round, summer is the prime time to soak up some rays over a pint. Prost!
Instead of ordering a sit-down meal of schnitzel under the retractable roof, hit up the grill guy for a fat kielbasa loaded with kraut and steer your brood toward one of the wood tables in the rustic hall. Imaginative youngsters just might believe they’re in Bavaria rather than Brooklyn. On a weekend afternoon, savor any of the Czech and German draft beers, like the Schneider Weiss. You’ll want to leave by early evening, before the bar is infiltrated by revelers chugging mammoth steins.
Wait, a desolate stretch of Fourth Avenue isn’t your ideal location for a gorgeous, alcohol-soaked afternoon? It doesn’t matter; after a few pints at this airy converted auto shop, you won’t want to leave. Canines and smokers are welcome in the courtyard. And the craft-beer labels—primarily American, with some European cameos such as Gaffel Kölsch—are uniformly excellent.
This 5,000-square-foot bar/brewery powered by Sycamore cofounder Justin Israelson, tech entrepreneur Josh Stylman, and lawyer Andrew Unterberg does double and triple duty, boasting a coffeeshop and an event space to go along with the suds operation. The rotating tap list includes Wandering Bine, a melon-infused saison and Three Unintentional Fallacy with Mountain Dew and White Mystery Airheads dispensed from 30-keg tanks behind a bar that's built atop reclaimed rolling library ladders. The upstairs coffeeshop, serving Ninth Street Espresso and Balthazar pastries, converts to a private party room at night and offers exclusive views of the brewing facility not seen from the main level.
In a beer scene dominated by hoppy, high-alcohol brews, credit this madcap watering hole for championing session beers (most $7–9), a family of brews whose lower booze content makes them ideal for extended drinking. Unlikely picks such as the four-percent-ABV Baba Black Beer (Budweiser, by comparison, is 5 percent) will keep you buzzed but standing through an evening of rubber ring quoits in the back garden.
Encompassing 30,000 square feet of outdoor space and with a capacity well above 1,200, Studio Square is more of a beer city than a beer garden. Patrons pack the sprawling yard, all guzzling half liters, liters and pitchers of mostly German and American brews. Shiner Bock dark lager is a solid all-season refresher. Clouds or not, brats, burgers and other bites are in order.
See the best beer gardens in America
Kings County Brewers Collective
In the late 1800s, Bushwick was known as Brewer’s Row, thanks to its 14 local breweries and thriving beer scene. Kings County Brewers Collective hopes to bring that back. The first to set up shop in the neighborhood since Schaefer closed in 1976, this brewery, warehouse and taproom brews all its suds on the premises. The selection of beers changes seasonally, but on a recent visit, bartenders were pouring the Beggar’s Gold Belgian Ale ($5), Formula Check American Pale Ale ($5), Full Contact: Raspberry Sour Ale ($5), IPA ($6), Marble of Doom Sour Ale ($6), Monsieur Maniac ($5), What We Don’t See Imperial Stout ($5) and Rainmaker Stout ($5), plus Descendent Succession Cider ($6). Want to drink it later? You can buy one of the collective’s 32-ounce crowlers—a cross between a growler and an aluminum can—to take most of the brews on tap to go ($10-$14, depending on the beer).
Venue says: “What's the scariest part of a drink & draw? Figuring out what to draw, of course. So Thursday the 20th we'll take the fear away! $1 off beer”