Outdoor bars have become popular in recent years, as the concept of the beer garden has taken hold.
The map below wraps up some of the better outdoor drinking venues, both permanent and pop-up. Note that this is not a guide to "outdoor dining," per se. It's a guide to bars.
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's annual pop-up beer gardens are big draws. This year, the South Street location (near 15th Street) will open May 5 and will be operated by Cantina Los Caballitos. The opening party -- appropriately on Cinco de Mayo -- will feature a mariachi band, special drink discounts on Corona and Pacifico, and giveaways. New this year -- opening the third week of May -- will be a second pop-up location at UCity Square, on a vacant lot at 36th and Filbert Streets in University City. PHS is going for an open-air, European-style garden. Jet Wine Bar will operate the garden, with food by sibling restaurants Rex 1516 and Café Ynez.
The season's big newcomer, due sometime this spring, will be Tria Wine Garden, set up on a new patio outside the United Plaza (31 S. 18th St.). It will be a partnership between the popular Tria and Four Corners Management, which oversees several local bars, including the outdoor destination Morgan's Pier.
The other major undertaking is a second season for Parks on Tap, the "mobile" beer garden -- sponsored by the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and FCM Hospitality -- that spends a few days in various verdant locations. Opener will be May 17 at the Azalea Garden in Fairmount Park. See info here. Burholme Park is on the list this time, marking another foray into Northeast Philadelphia by local cultural institutions -- viz, the Night Market stopping at Five Points in Burholme on May 11.
Also new this year is the Cira Green Beer Garden, a Friday night pop-up starting April 29 above the Cira Centre South parking garage in University City (129 S. 30th St.; take the parking garage elevator to the top floor and walk up a staircase to the rooftop). World Cafe Live will run the 21-and-over venue, which will sell beer, cider, wine, and a cocktail. For free, you get some spectacular views of Center City from 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays, through June 21.
Some warm-weather highlights:
SkyGarten (now open): The 51st-story views from Three Logan Square (1717 Arch St.) really jazz up this indoor/outdoor beer garden. New this year: a slushy machine for frozen cocktails and pagers that buzz when patrons' food orders are ready.
Morgan's Pier (now open): Chefs Michael Griffiths and Kevin D'Egidio of Helm and South Helm are at the stove this summer at this massive playground under the Ben Franklin Bridge. Menu includes puffy, pizza-like "fatbreads" by baker Alex Bois.
Conshohocken Beer Garden (April 28): The beer garden at Ash Street and the Schuylkill, marking Year 2, will run Fridays from 5 to 10 p.m. through June. After a break, it will return Sept. 8 and run into October. The GPS address is 2 Ash St., Conshohocken.
Evil Genius Brew Garden (May 6): The Fishtown brewpub's outdoor setup springs to life.
Uptown Beer Garden (May 11): The pop-up outside BNY Mellon (1735 Market St.) will add a fourth bar this season.
Spruce Street Harbor Park (May 12): The hot venue along the Delaware at Penn's Landing will have 25 more reasons to chill this year -- as in, 25 new hammocks, bringing the total to 50. The park also will add eight draft lines to the beer garden -- two of which will be dedicated to a selection of rotating draft cocktails. The restaurant lineup includes Chickie’s & Pete’s, Federal Donuts, Franklin Fountain, Frozen Delights, and Garces (serving new boardwalk-style pizza).
The Deck at the Moshulu (May 17): The floating restaurant at Penn's Landing, whose decks offer incredible views of the river, the city skyline, and Ben Franklin Bridge, opens its bars from 3 to 10 p.m. weekdays, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for Sunday brunch, followed by 3 to 11 p.m. for dinner.
Bok (May 25): The pop-up bar on the roof of the former Bok High School in South Philadelphia will operate Wednesday to Sunday. Format is to be announced.
The Creamery (May 26): Kennett Square gets into the swing with a second season of this setup, open Thursday to Sunday with beer, wine, music, and food from trucks.
Also note that Point Breeze will not have a beer garden from John Longacre this year. His "beer itch" is being scratched by his ties to Second District Brewing Co. at McKean and Bancroft Streets.
Know of a bar/lounge with a great outdoor scene? Email me.
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