Great American Beer Gardens

Not Just in Germany: Great American Beer Gardens for Celebrating Oktoberfest

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Great American Beer Gardens


Beer gardens got their start in 16th-century Germany, but you don't have to travel to Bavaria to find big outdoor patios, long communal tables, good food, and superb beer. Here are some great beer gardens across the United States offering thirsty patrons a taste of the old country — just in time for Oktoberfest, which kicks off September 18 this year. 

While the official celebration in Munich is canceled this year due to the pandemic, many locations across the U.S. are still celebrating, just in a more restrained fashion. Be sure to call ahead to check for any COVID-19 precautions that might be in place.

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Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Garden
Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Garden

Wirtshaus and Rasselbock

Los Angeles

This popular trio of German restaurants and beer gardens — Wirsthaus, Rasselbock Mar Vista, and Rasselbock Long Beach — will kick off their annual Oktoberfest celebration on September 18 at 3 p.m. with a ceremonial keg tapping at each location. Revelers who are seated and dining will be able to drink for free from the special keg until it runs dry. During the six weeks of festivities, all three spots will feature rotating beer and food specials, live traditional German music on weekends, and plenty of Oktoberfest-themed giveaways and decor. Attendees are encouraged to don their finest lederhosen or dirndls for costume contests and stein-holding competitions on weekends as well.

Frankford Hall, Philadelphia
Dasle K./Yelp

Frankford Hall

Picnic-table-style outdoor seating is one of the allures of Philadelphia's Frankford Hall. The restaurant, in a renovated industrial space featuring reclaimed materials and exposed brick walls, offers classics including sausages, spätzle, and $5 German drafts during happy hour. Revelers can munch on $5 Bavarian pretzels around fire pits between games of table tennis.

Gemüt Biergarten
Tim Tc A./Yelp

Gemüt Biergarten

Columbus, Ohio 
Located in the heart of Columbus' Olde Town East in a former firehouse, Gemüt is a brewery, beer garden, and restaurant combo. The menu includes plenty of wurst, schnitzel, and a host of other dishes inspired by southeastern European countries. Gemüt also offers delivery and carryout.

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VBGB Beer Hall & Garden
Nicole M./Yelp

VBGB Beer Hall & Garden

Charlotte, North Carolina
VBGB serves 30 types of craft beer and imports on a huge patio. A "frost rail," a 5-inch block of ice, runs the length of the bar — perfect for keeping those brews cold. The restaurant has weekly specials (including $3 12-ounce beers on Tuesday) and often posts deals on its social media accounts. 

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Killmeyer's Old Bavaria Inn, Staten Island, New York
Anthony M./Yelp

Killmeyer's Old Bavaria Inn

Staten Island, New York
Killmeyer's has been around a long time — it was already in business when Nicolas Killmeyer bought it (and changed its name) around 1855. In addition to a traditional restaurant, there's a pretty awesome beer garden along with a steady roster of live entertainment.  

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The Bauernhof at Grant's Farm
Michelle W./Yelp

The Bauernhof at Grant's Farm

St. Louis
Grant's Farm (free admission; $15 for parking) was bought by the Busch family — as in Anheuser-Busch — from former president Ulysses S. Grant. It has rides, baby goats to feed, and other children's attractions for a small fee and also a courtyard beer garden. Guests of age can sample Anheuser-Busch products for free with lunch.

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Greenwood Park, Brooklyn, New York
Mike R./Yelp

Greenwood Park

Brooklyn, New York
Greenwood Park is a family-friendly beer garden built out of an old gas station and mechanic shop. It boasts 60 beer lines, bocce ball courts, and a menu with traditional bar fare as well as vegetarian and vegan options. Guests are currently required to mask up. 

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Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh
Stacey V./Yelp

Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh

The legendary Bavarian beer garden and restaurant in Munich, Germany, has lent its name to about a half-dozen franchises stateside. Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh offers hearty German fare and classic Bavarian beers brewed according to the over 500-year-old Purity Law of 1516.

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The Rathskeller, Indianapolis
Tony B./Yelp

The Rathskeller

The Rathskeller in downtown Indy is known for live music as well as for its Bavarian-style food and brews. The venue has reopened to full capacity. The historic building's beer garden has its own walk-up bar for beer and pub food.

Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden
Steven S./Yelp

Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden

Austin, Texas
The Easy Tiger is not only a creek-side beer garden but a bake shop famed for its pretzels. On the menu are several house sausages, but the beer garden isn't limited to German fare, scheduling specials like Tiki Tuesdays with an emphasis on tropical drinks.

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Estabrook Park Beer Garden, Milwaukee
Kate P./Yelp

Estabrook Park Beer Garden

Estabrook is a truly public beer garden — it's within Milwaukee's Estabrook Park, near a waterfall. Managers say visitors arrive to enjoy imported German beers by foot, bike, car, kayak, and canoe. There's food for purchase, but customers can also bring their own food and soft drinks.

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Bohemian Biergarten
Zdenek S./Yelp

Bohemian Biergarten

Boulder, Colorado
The Bohemian Biergarten has an extensive menu of traditional German and Czech foods and brews. Guests can wash their giant pretzels and pretzel sausage down with beers like Paulaner, Pilsner Urquell and Hacker Pshorr.

The Handlebar
Jolene M./Yelp

The Handlebar

Tempe, Arizona
Handlebar Tempe, touted as a bike-friendly beer garden, offers 20+ beers on draft plus a huge selection of can, bomber, and bottle options, along with loads of specials. They take drinking seriously here — but there are hand-cut fries, burgers, freshly baked pretzels, and local sausages to nosh on, too.

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Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant, Mountain View, California
Steins Beer Garden/Yelp

Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant

Mountain View, California
Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant is a modern American take on the traditional German biergarten. It has more than 30 craft and import beers on tap and a comfort-food menu. Happy hours make this high-end spot more affordable, but diners who sample the ghost pepper hot sauce might be happy to pay any price for a beer to put out its fire.

Short North Pint House, Columbus, Ohio
Short North Pint House/Yelp

Short North Pint House

Columbus, Ohio
At the Short North Pint House, revelers can order what the pub calls a Gusto — a respectable 32-ounce beer for $13 — or the $8 beer sampler, which includes three beers from the draft list. A happy hour offers patrons half off selected food and drinks, with options changing daily.

Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden, Austin, Texas
Ricky S./Yelp

Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden

Austin, Texas
Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden is just what it sounds like: a satisfying mix of sausage and beer. It cranks out more than 2,000 pounds of sausage every week, stages live music two to three times a week, and even has a dog park where pets can eat dog-friendly sausages.  

Lowry Beer Garden
Aveeda G./Yelp

Lowry Beer Garden

For a beer garden with a real Oktoberfest kind of feel, there's Lowry — a massive 9,000 square feet of outdoor garden area, vast open-air seating, and a covered pavilion to escape the scorching mile-high sun. With a family-friendly atmosphere, Lowry offers a straightforward menu of brats and dogs, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and a kids' menu. It has around 16 beers on tap, and 30 or so bottled and canned varieties. The 3-6 p.m., Monday-Friday happy hour offers $4.50 drafts, well drinks, and wine. Finally, with seating for around 500, it's unlikely you'll ever have to wait for a table.