A Beer Garden in the Clouds, SkyGarten

A beer garden is the perfect place to unwind after a hard day’s work.  Luckily for those who work in Philadelphia, the number of beer gardens in the city exploded in 2016.  The most unique offering the city has produced is SkyGarten, located on the 51st floor of Three Logan Square on Arch St.  Open Wednesday through Friday from 5-10 PM and Saturdays 6-11 PM, the beer garden offers a change of pace from the usual establishments at street level.  Currently the city’s highest beer garden, Skygarten is a creation from the team at Brauhaus Schmitz and offers stunning vistas of the city that stretch into the suburbs.

View from the west balcony
Those visiting the beer garden for the first time will walk out of a centrally located elevator bank into a hallway stretching the length of the building.  The first stop should be the main ‘beer hall’ area located to the right of the entrance.  Long wooden tables fill the room and are topped with various games to enjoy.  At the rear, beverages are food are available from separate counters.

The beer hall at SkyGarten
Despite the inviting atmosphere, the real draw comes from the views on both the east and west balconies.  Beers in hand, patrons can choose to take in the views, which are truly spectacular, standing along the railing on the balconies or sitting at wooden tables a few yards back from the edge.

A Double Nickel Pilsner on the east balcony
Visitors may choose to enjoy the views while sipping one of the four beers on draft.  Currently, these include three German offerings and one local, the Double Nickel Pilsner from Double Nickel Brewing in Pennsauken, NJ.  Beers by the can, wine, and mixed drinks are available as well.  To keep stomachs satisfied, bar snacks such as pretzel bites and potato pancakes are available.  SkyGarten is a participant in the annual summer, city-wide happy hour on Wednesday evenings known as Sips.  Sips runs through September 28th and SkyGarten offers $3 Double Nickel Pilsner drafts, $4 rotating rose wines, and $5 Irish Goodbye cocktails from 5-7 PM.  Following the conclusion of Sips, SkyGarten plans to roll out its own happy hour.  This will include $3 craft cans, $4 German draft beers, $5 wines, and $6 signature cocktails and also run 5-7 PM.

Philadelphia from the 51st floor
SkyGarten has separated itself from other new beer gardens in 2016 by winning the title of Best New Beer Garden in the annual Best of Philly awards.  It truly does offer some of the best views in the city paired with German beers and snacks.  In a city with surprisingly and disappointingly few rooftop bars, SkyGarten brings hope for an increased number of options in the future.  A word of caution for those wishing to enjoy the views later in the evening: the bar does become crowded due to its level of success.  As each balcony has a capacity limit, lines may form for patrons wishing to go outside, potentially increasing the wait time for larger parties to use either of the balconies.   Those who wish to bring a large group of friends or simply want uninhibited access to the balconies are advised to visit earlier in the evening for maximum enjoyment.

Altogether, SkyGarten is an excellent creation from a team that has already graced Philadelphia with many successes.  The rooftop beer garden in the heart of center city that delivers excellent views and German fare, should be a stop for everyone this fall for happy hour or on an evening out.  It offers the perfect environment to relax, enjoy a beer, or simply escape the hectic life of the streets below.

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