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Best Beer Gardens NYCBrew Ha Ha
Nightlife in New York may have the reputation of one extended champagne pop, but the reality is far more frothy. Once supplying a fifth of the nation’s beer from 45 breweries in Brooklyn alone, the city today wholeheartedly embraces the micro-brew revolution and pours more quality than quantity. Oktoberfest may technically be over, but the hangover continues throughout the month at New York’s best beer halls. Today, pull up a bar stool at five of our favorites.
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
Reason No. 1 for visiting Astoria lies behind the arched wooden gates of the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden. Both New York’s largest and oldest, the massive outdoor area can accommodate up to 2,000 revelers and entertain them with regularly scheduled live music and mugs of classic Czech brews like Staropramen, Krušovice, and Pilsner Urquell. Find the ultimate beery complement in the kitchen’s halušky – potato dumplings soaked in bryndza sheep cheese and bacon.
29-19 24th Ave., 718-274-4925, bohemianhall.com
Radegast Hall & Biergarten
In the hipster haven of Williamsburg, good beer is as essential an accessory as sparse, patchy facial hair. The largest repository is found under the much fuller mustache of the Kaiser at this three-room German-Austrian beer hall, where waitresses with abnormally strong wrists navigate boisterous crowds with trays of liter-sized steins of Haufbräu, Schneider Weisse, and Gaffel Kölsch. If you weren’t hungry coming in, the sizzling aroma of brats and kielbasas on the open grill will change your stomach’s tune.
113 North 3rd St., 718-963-3973, radegasthall.com
This LES bar may be named after a sexy Rhine maiden, but inside, it has a machinery-like feel, with factory spindle tables, aged iron support beams, and few decorative frills. The zeitgeist comes instead from the youthful, energetic crowds drawn from the neighborhood, who suck down brews from 12 taps of strictly German beer. New Oktoberfest additions include the wheaty Schneider Weisen Edel-Weisse to the amber Märzen Spaten.
7 Rivington St., 212-253-7077, loreleynyc.com
Few bars in New York love their umlauts more than this quasi-German hunting lodge in the former Kleindeutschland neighborhood on the Upper East Side. Filling boot steins since 1964, the bar seems to have changed little, serving old-school beer bites like herring with pickles and onions, sausage platters, and plenty of Black Forest bacon. The taps follow suit with Warsteiner, Bitburger, and Franziskaner beers poured by stout fräuleins in full-blown wench-wear. It only takes a few to start swinging in rhythm to the bizarrely entertaining soundtrack of ‘60s and ‘70s German lounge music.
1648 2nd Ave., 212-628-2332, heidelbergrestaurant.com
The Standard Biergarten
After your third pint of the hard-to-find Alpine Altenmünster Oktoberfest at this Meatpacking hotspot, even the steel legs of the nearby High Line might start to look good. Follow those legs up a bit further up and find the naked concrete supports of André Balazs’s ultra-chic Standard Hotel. Look around to spy the hotel’s well-coiffed clientele and aspiring guests surrounding you at the long picnic tables. Much like a country fair, all beer and bites on the Oktoberfest menu are purchased via $8 tickets obtained at the adjacent kiosk.
848 Washington St., 212-645-4646, standardhotels.com
Don’t worry too much if your NYC beer tour costs you a few Benjamins. After all, it was our festive founding father Mr. Franklin who legendarily claimed “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” And so does Galavante.
(Photo: courtesy of The Standard Hotel)