Our 11 Favorite Beer Gardens
Where better to sip an ice-cold brew than a shaded spot in a classic beer garden? From a Dickensian drinking den in London to beers and brats by the beach in L.A., Rachel Beard rounds up the world's best beer gardens beyond Bavaria
London: The George Inn
Sip a pint where Dickens once propped up the bar at this medieval drinking den off Borough High Street. Referenced in Little Dorrit, this is London's last remaining galleried coaching inn and is owned by the National Trust. Inside it's a split-level warren of creaky floored, wood-paneled rooms with fireplaces but in the summer months, thirsty Londoners spill outside to sit at the wooden benches that line the cobbled courtyard.
What to drink: A pint of the pub's own brew, the George Inn Ale
New York: The Standard Biergarten
This street-level spot under the shadow of the elevated High Line park is a little slice of Bavaria in the heart of the meatpacking district. Staff in quirky dirndl-print t-shirts serve steins of German beer to the rowdy hordes. Park up at one of the long communal tables, play some ping pong or tuck into traditional fare (wurst, pretzels) from a menu created by Michelin-starred chef, Kurt Gutenbrunner.
What to drink: A stein of Licher Weisse, a white wheat beer
Amsterdam: Brouwerij 't IJ
This brewery and beer house is fashioned out of an old bath house and sits next to the iconic De Gooyer windmill near Amsterdam's Eastern Docklands. All beers brewed on-site are organic and you can tour the brewery before hitting the bar to order from an impressive list of draft and bottled beers. Head to the large outdoor terrace and pair a pint of the good stuff with Dutch snacks like ossenworst (raw beef sausage) and skeapsrond cheese.
What to drink: A bottle of organic Zatte, the first beer brewed on-site back in 1985
More club than pub, this open-air hangout sits atop a disused communist-era department store and is accessed by a service elevator (or a graffiti-splattered staircase). On the lower level, DJs spin underground tunes but head to the rooftop terrace in the summer months and you can sink a local beer and scan the city's skyline.
What to drink: A bottle of Dreher Classic, a pilsner-style lager from Hungary’s oldest brewery
Vietnam: Luong Son
This buzzy open-air beer garden in Ho Chi Minh City pairs Vietnamese brews with barbecue dishes cooked on tabletop grills. Squeeze onto one of the communal wooden benches, order a pitcher of Saigon and grill your own marinated meats over a firey clay pot. Play it safe with tangy beef skewers or take your tastebuds off track and cook up some ostrich, frogs' legs or pig's stomach.
What to drink: A pitcher of Saigon
Los Angeles: Wurstküche Venice Beach
For beers and brats near the beach, head to Wurstküche Venice beach (a sister spot to the popular Downtown hangout). Inside, the industrial aesthetic creates a Bavarian beer hall vibe (raw cement floors, exposed brickwork, long wooden communal tables), and the menu is as authentic as they come. Work your way through 24 imported beers on tap and chow down on classic bratwurst, Belgian fries with homemade dipping sauces, or exotic sausages made from crocodile and rattlesnake. There's a patio outside for alfresco drinks if you can nab a spot between Venice Beach's hipsters and hippies.
What to drink: A potent pint of La Trappe, a Dutch beer brewed by Trappist monks
Bruges: Café Vlissinghe
The city's oldest watering hole first opened its doors in 1515 and it's packed to the oak beam rafters with character. Oil paintings dot the walls, wrought iron light fixtures hang from the ceiling and the lively crowd sit at heavy wooden tables around a flickering stove. In summer, grab a strong Belgian brew and head outside to the shaded terrace where you can play petanque in between slurps.
What to drink: A pint of Brugse Zot Bruin, a malty Belgian brew
Texas: Oma Gruene's Secret Garten
New Braunfels, a German settlement between San Antonio and Austin is where the Lone Star State and lederhosen collide. Home to Bavarian restaurants, German bakeries and an annual Wurstfest, this town knows a thing or two about beers and bratwurst. Head to Oma Gruene's Secret Garten to knock back a frothy pint of German ale and a kraut dog in the shaded garden and stick around for some Texan tunes; the bar hosts regular live gigs.
What to drink: A pint of Warsteiner Dunkel
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