Parks on Tap: Traveling Beer Garden to Pop Up in Fishtown and Port Richmond
Summer beer gardens have been popping up across the city in increasing numbers in recent years — and a dozen more will be making the rounds in the coming weeks.
Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation recently launched their Parks on Tap program, a mobile beer garden that will travel to parks across the city through October.
Parks on Tap kicked off June 29 at the Schuylkill Banks at Walnut Street Bridge, and Shofuso Japanese House and Garden the following weekend.
Upcoming local events include:
Aug. 19-21 at Penn Treaty Park, 1341 N. Delaware Ave.
Sept. 21-25 at Powers Park, 2987 Almond St.
Parks on Tap runs from 1PM-11PM Fridays and Saturdays and noon-10PM. Sundays, with evening weekday hours at some locations.
Parks and Rec commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell said the program grew out of the building popularity of pop-up public spaces, such as The Oval, which features a beer garden, live music, movie nights and more each summer at Eakins Oval. That effort, also a joint venture of Parks and Rec and Fairmount Park Conservancy, was slated to run for three years but is now in its fourth year.
“The Oval was insanely successful,” Ott Lovell said, noting officials wanted to parlay that idea into a travelling effort to encourage Philadelphians to utilize city parks. “We thought mobile pop-up beer gardens could be a great way to activate our parks; active parks are safer, healthier and better-stewarded by the people using them.”
Officials met with park groups from around the city in the last year to generate their buy-in.
“We have worked with the Conservancy on a number of projects,” said A.J. Thomson, president of Penn Treaty Park. “They are such great supporters of our park and all parks. It was an exciting opportunity to bring a new experience to the Delaware waterfront, so we jumped at the chance.”
While the beer garden deviates somewhat from PTP’s typical programming, the park has hosted events that include alcohol in the past, such as its annual Champagne in the Park, which is coming up Sept. 16.
“[Parks on Tap] is a good way to show that responsible drinking is a feature that can be a part of our parks and another way to get together with friends and family in our unique environment,” Thomson said.
At each venue, guests will have the opportunity to partake in five draft beers while noshing on sliders and snacks crafted by Mitch Prensky of Global Dish Caterers and Scratch Biscuits. Program organizers will provide activities at each locale, including live music, games and Saturday yoga, the latter of which is offered at noon on a pay-what-you-can basis. Each park will also offer its own activities.
“It’s a unique experience that innovates the traditional park picnic and also helps you get to know your city,” Ott Lovell said of Parks on Tap. “A lot of these parks aren’t places you might normally go on your own, so it’s almost like a curated tour of city parks.”
Powers Park Conservancy will finalize the lineup for its event later this summer, but group president John Kalicki said they’re considering outdoor games like cornhole, as well as a karaoke night.
Throughout the year, the park hosts family-friendly activities like an Easter egg hunt, movie nights, concerts and a Christmas tree-lighting.
Kalicki noted Parks on Tap is a good opportunity for new residents in the neighborhood, which he noted has been undergoing changes in recent years, to get to know both their neighbors and their park.
“We seem to be the only park on the Parks on Tap program that’s right in a residential neighborhood; we’re surrounded by houses on three sides and a library on the other so we really want to give this a neighborhood vibe,” he said. “All the changes that have been happening to Fishtown are pushing north so we have a bunch of new people who may not know their neighbors. [Parks on Tap] is a good opportunity for people to come out, have a beer and meet their neighbors and see all that the park has to offer.” •