- May 16, 2018
After enduring this never-ending winter (snow in April, seriously?) the sun is finally shining and we are seemingly in the clear for beer garden season. Nothing feels better after being cooped up inside during the dark and dreary winter months than sitting at a picnic table, enjoying a warm afternoon, with a pint of beer in hand.
Thankfully we have Spruce Street Harbor Park (SSHP), which has quickly become one of Philly’s most aesthetically beautiful and recognizable beer gardens. Featuring over 50 colorful, handmade hammocks, three landscaped barges and a spate of floating gardens, Heady Times sat down with SSHP’s GM Jackie Lai to learn more about what makes this place such an amazing oasis.
Heady Times (HT): What is it about beer gardens and drinking outside that make people so damn excited?
Jackie Lai (JL): Beer gardens and drinking outdoors have brought an ambiance to the city. They offer almost an escape or an outlet of sorts from a heavily urban environment. It might just be a temporary oasis within a concrete jungle, but taking in a good, low-key atmosphere, while having a drink surrounded by elements of nature, goes a very long way.
HT: The last few years, beer gardens have exploded in Philly. What sets SSHP apart from others in the city?
JL: Our beer garden at Spruce Street Harbor Park is quite literally on the Delaware River, and that very element of floating on a barge in a marina is very special in and of itself. There aren’t too many places where you can wind down and watch ducks, freighters and sail boats passing through, daily.
HT: Other than your own, what’s your favorite beer garden?
JL: I’d have to say the Parks on Tap series. They’re in a new park every week, and they give people a chance to explore all the green space this city has to offer.
HT: Besides sharing beers with friends, beer gardens offer a place for people to come together to enjoy activities and play games. What kind of activities does SSHP offer?
JL: I like to think the activities and games bring out the fun, silly side of adults, which is why they’re so popular. We offer bag tosses, bocce ball, giant Connect 4 and ping pong.
HT: Which beer styles do people gravitate toward when drinking outside?
JL: They seem to go for golden ales, shandies or IPAs. Surprisingly, hoppier beers remain a mainstay throughout the hotter months.
HT: How does weather effect SSHP?
JL: Weather is paramount. Sunny, clear days are our best days, while clouds and rain can shut us down until it clears. We stay open through September, that’s usually when the warmer weather tapers off. The core of the summer, from Memorial Day through Labor Day draws in the most people.
DelawareRiverWaterfront.com • 301 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia • 215-922-2386