Philadelphia’s Traveling Beer Garden: What You Need to Know

The traveling beer garden and pop-up lounge “Parks on Tap” is appearing at 14 different parks this summer, following in Philadelphia’s long tradition of finding creative loopholes in the state’s restrictive alcohol laws. The traveling beer garden is spending a few days in each location, and brings a cool vibe to diverse neighborhoods and parks during these sweltering and sticky Philadelphia summer nights. Offered in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and Avram Hornik of FCM hospitality,the Parks on Tap temporary beer gardens offers guests open-air seating areas decked out with umbrellas, twinkle lights, and a host of activities beyond Instagramming yet another low-light selfie. The pop-up lounges will grace various parks in the city until fall rolls into town and the beer garden offers its last call at Lemon Hill on October 2nd. Part of the program’s proceeds will go straight back into Philadelphia’s park system, so go right ahead and order that second pint.

Not just for happy hour.

The traveling beer garden’s original hours of operation were Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 10 p.m. But due to wildly popular demand, at certain locations, you can head out after work Wednesday and Thursday evenings until 10 p.m.

Come for the food, stay for the yoga.

Each location will be catered by the same outfit. Global Dish Caterers and Scratch Biscuitswill offer picnic-friendly fare such as pulled pork or BBQ mushroom sliders and on-the-go items like pasta salad with basil pesto, summer squash, and tomatoes. You’ll also have your pick of wines and several local craft beers from Dock Street Brewery, and, of course, native son Yuengling. Programming at each location varies, but includes live music, games, and pay-what-you-can weekend yoga sessions from Maha Yoga Studio. In some locations, such as Jefferson Square Park, you can enjoy a game of night glow bocce, or partake in an Instameet to make some new friends and take a guided tour through the surrounding neighborhoods.

Where to next?

You may have missed the inaugural and wildly popular Parks on Tap Schuylkill Banks, which drew scores of people to the foot of the Walnut Street Bridge through the first week of July, but you still have time to make it to any number of the beer garden’s other locations through the end of September. The beer garden has also already travelled to to Jefferson Square Park, but next up is at the base of the graceful “Playing Angels” sculpture at Kelly Drive, then on to Penn Treaty Park and Franklin Paine’s Park, and a few other park locations around the city. The park will ultimately alight at Lemon Hill, the 19th century mansion that boasts killer views across Center City and the Schuylkill River. The mansion, which happens to play a leading role in bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert’s most recent novel, “The Signature of All Things,” also holds a special place in Philadelphia park history, becoming the first parcel of land to be acquired in the creation of now-expansive Fairmount Park. It will be a fitting conclusion to what is sure to be a special series of weekends this summer.

With any luck, “Parks on Tap” will fall in line behind popular pop-ups such as Spruce Street Harbor Park and the South Street Philadelphia Horticultural Society pop-up, and keep returning year after year.

Learn more, and get going!

For detailed information on each location, including exact address, history, previews of programming, and special extended hours, visit the Parks on Tap website.

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