Top Taps in Town

Cheers to Philly Breweries & Beer Gardens

Of all the food in the world, bread is my absolute favorite. So it only makes sense that after 23 years, I finally acquired a liking for a product with almost the exact same ingredients – beer. Luckily, Philly is home to dozens and dozens of beer gardens and breweries, all unique in their food and drink menus. While I am still new to the beer game, I have a few favorite places so far.

One of the most well-known beer gardens in the city is Uptown Beer Garden, which often hosts the incredibly popular Center City Sips. Whether you go for an after-work happy hour or begin your night here, Sips hosts $6 cocktails, $5 wine, and $4 beers across all locations. Uptown Beer Garden, located right by City Hall, is a great location to take advantage of this deal. If you don’t like crowds, go early as the place gets packed with city locals and commuters. The garden has amazing views of Center City and features great music, drinks, and a food truck with options like hot dogs and chicken tenders – the preferred food choices for those drinking on a Wednesday night.

Located in Northern Liberties (my home neighborhood) is Urban Village Brewing Co. This brewpub has great beer options that cover many styles (schwarzbier, IPAs, pilsner, cream ale, stout, wheat beers and more) that range in ABV and flavor profiles. (One of their most popular, the Straight Cash Homie, is loaded with citrus, mosaics, and aromatics.) Even better, their offerings change seasonally so can always find a beer to suit your palate. Their food menu is primarily wood-fired pizza (13 varieties with a head-spinning number of toppings) and sandwiches, but I have to give a shout-out to their Village Fries! You won’t find fries like these anywhere else — with big slices of braised brisket and beer cheese. Yes please!

If you’re looking to venture a little more northwest, the PHS Pop-Up Beer Garden at Manayunk is a trendy location among Manayunk locals. This beer garden is sponsored by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, which hosts the annual Philadelphia Flower Show. Of course, the garden is lush with green plants and blooming flowers. The drink menu features high-end cocktails and canned beers, some from local brewers like Victory. For food, you’ve got an extensive list of sandwiches, burgers, and traditional finger food like hummus and Bavarian pretzels. Walk-ins are encouraged and pets are welcome!

In the late 80s, Yards Brewing Co. was created by a couple of college friends. Yards is now a Philly institution, having brewed in Philadelphia since 1994 and, through their founder Tom Kehoe, helped several breweries get their start in the area. Yards originated in Manayunk and spread to a flagship location on Spring Garden Street that opened in 2017. The brewery is quite large (70,000 square feet) and has indoor and outdoor seating. It also has a store where you can buy merch and beer or schedule tours of the brewery. Their ales and lagers are approachable and unique. A favorite of mine is the Pynk beer, a fruity selection brewed with raspberries and cherries to give it its pink hue. Yards has a decently sized food menu, which includes bar classics like tacos, sandwiches, and salads.

I know there are countless hole-in-the-wall or even mainstream locations for me to still check out in my beer journey. I’m eager to get out, explore more of the city’s breweries and beer gardens, and see what else my favorite food has to offer in drink form. Cheers! Follow along on Instagram @GingersLikeToEat.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Now you know we can’t run a beer article without giving a nod to the two excellent breweries within walking distance to The Local….

Wissahickon Brewing Company in East Falls serves award-winning craft beer in a nice cozy “lodge” with a big covered beer garden featuring a different food truck every day of the week. We love how feisty and original these beers are! And we appreciate their convenient takeout fridge: almost all varieties are available in cans to take home and share with friends.

Germantown’s Attic Brewing Company brews classic recipes with local flavor for dangerously drinkable beer in a beautiful brick industrial building. Don’t miss their “hidden” beer garden around back with it’s own funky bar and vibe (plus live music almost every night!). Attic frequently partners with local brewers on special batches to raise money for various causes — and frankly, we like the idea of changing the world, one pint at a time. 🍺🍺🍺✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

BONUS: Like beer? Try our self-guided Brewery Bike tour from the Schuylkill River Trail to Spring Arts, where a host of local breweries and other city fun awaits….

About Eleni Finkelstein 3 Articles
Eleni Finkelstein (aka @gingersliketoeat on Instagram) is a South Jersey and Philadelphia-based food blogger and journalist. She loves traveling, trying new foods, and cheering on Philly sports teams. You can check out her book, "Eat Like a Local: South Jersey" on Amazon.

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