The air is warm, the birds are chirping, and the sun is shining – it’s finally summer. When the weather is this nice, the last thing you want to do is spend your time indoors. Luckily, Philadelphia has a huge selection of outdoor restaurants and bars where you can sit back, grab a drink, and work on your tan. To narrow down Philadelphia’s massive selection of beer halls, pop-up bars, courtyard restaurants and BYOBs with outdoor seating, we’ve put together a list of our favorite outdoor restaurants from across Philadelphia.
Frankford Hall – This beer garden in Philadelphia’s hip Fishtown neighborhood offers bratwurst, schnitzel, and massive Bavarian soft pretzels with German braus and local beers served by the liter. Grab one of the outdoor, beer-hall style picnic tables with a group of friends and spend the day in the sun playing ping pong or Jenga (Frankford Hall has sets available for every table.) At night, fire pits are lit in the center of the exposed-brick courtyard, and when the temperature starts to cool later in the year, the beer garden is kept open and warm with space heaters for every table.
Memphis Taproom – This East Kensington taproom specializes in Southern comfort food with a modern spin, with a beer selection that is out of this world. Featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, Memphis Taproom is known for its vegetarian and vegan options and its outdoor beer garden. The beer garden serves food and beer from the restaurant’s signature baby-blue food truck, with an extensive selection of gourmet hot dogs and brats as well as about a dozen different types of canned craft beer. To complete the Philly summer time cookout vibe, movies and Phillies games are projected onto the beer garden’s wall.
PHS Pop Up Gardens – Starting in 2011, every summer The Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS) has transformed a neglected, vacant lot in Center City into a temporary garden and green space that pairs outdoor art, plants, and landscaping with great beer and food. Last year’s pop-up garden, located in a lot at 14th and South Streets, was such a success (over 52,000 visitors frequented the garden) that PHS is opening three pop-up gardens from June until October 1 across Philadelphia for Summer 2015:
- The East Passyunk location will be in a South Philly lot across from the famous Pat’s Steaks at Ninth and Wharton Streets and will feature a design heavily relying on bicycle parts and reclaimed wood, with tobacco plants and honey locust trees among the foliage. The menu will include vegan options and will be devised by Cantina Los Caballitos and Royal Tavern, with 12 beers on tap along with cocktails, wine and frozen punch.
- The pop-up garden in Logan Square will be in the courtyard of 3 Logan Square at 18th and Cherry Streets, and PHS has said the atmosphere will be “Philly beach-meets-Hamptons.” Expect a beach, palm trees and tropical plants with wooden decks and cabanas. City Tap House has signed on to run a tent with a bar and food.
- The site of last year’s pop-up garden on South Street West at 14th and South Streets has been redesigned with a Bohemian vibe, with vines, large palm and banana trees, and clusters of container gardens. Barren Hill Brewery will offer a rotating draft list throughout the summer, and sponsor Dietz and Watson will serve an array of sandwiches and summer eats.
Talula’s Garden – This upscale, outdoor restaurant with a distinct farmhouse-chic design is a favorite brunch spot in Philadelphia’s Washington Square West neighborhood. The outdoor, summer garden seating matches the restaurant’s farm-to-table menu, featuring locally sourced, seasonal, fresh ingredients. The restaurant is an offshoot of owner Aimee Olexy’s wildly successful Chester County BYOB Talula’s Table, named the “Toughest Table in America” by Portfolio.com, with reservations in such high demand that they must be made one year in advance.
Spruce St. Harbor Park – In its second year, this pet- and kid-friendly outdoor park on the Delaware River is open May 22 through September 27. The park features 50 hammocks available for anyone to lounge in, two bocce courts, shuffleboard, a life-sized chess board, kayaks, an outdoor roller rink, and more. The park features a number of our favorite outdoor restaurants, with 3 bars with boardwalk seating over the water, and a rotating draft list that includes Lazy Hammock IPA, Spruce Street Harbor Park’s own beer made in collaboration with Yards Brewery. Philly favorite Federal Donuts operates a stand at the park, serving their signature fried chicken and donuts. Philly restaurateur Jose Garces’ Peruvian-Chinese pop-up restaurant Chifa serves pork belly bao buns and garlic-ginger chicken wings on the park’s floating barge, and Garces’ University City Mexican restaurant Distrito is sending their Taco Truck to the park every weekend.
Little Nonna’s – A stay at The Independent wouldn’t be complete without a meal at Little Nonna’s, conveniently located on the ground-level of the hotel. Little Nonna’s serves amazing, authentic Italian cuisine in their 40-seat outdoor patio space, and the restaurant sources fresh bread, pasta and sausage from Philadelphia’s Italian Market. The slightly kitschy décor and family style meals will make you feel like you’re back at your grandmother’s house for spaghetti and meatballs. Little Nonna’s is a can’t-miss outdoor restaurant, and is the perfect place for a summer date or romantic dinner.