Four beer gardens to visit this weekend

Photo courtesy of New Holland Brewing.

After the schizophrenic spring we’ve endured (warm one day, cold the next), I thought I’d remind our readers which beer gardens offer good springtime options for enjoying Grand Rapids’ favorite beverage outside.

The Knickerbocker, 417 Bridge St NW
It’s early spring. Sometimes days are deceptively sunny, merely masquerading as summer ones. And let’s face it, while in most parts of the lower 48 it’s March that comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, here in Michigan that month is May. If the light streaming in the window is making you hanker for a day on the deck, but the mercury says otherwise, New Holland’s Knickerbocker has you covered, er – uncovered, actually. A retractable roof installed last fall makes beer garden drinking accessible without the sting of the chilly spring breeze at your back. My personal favorite springtime swill from this brewer is Tangerine Space Machine. A Knickerbocker blueberry gin and lemonade is a refreshing beverage that also hits the spot!

The Holiday Bar, 801 5th St NW
The Holiday Bar makes every summer day feel like you’re “on holiday,” as the Brits say. If you haven’t been to the bar since its renovation, make it a priority this summer. They classed it up, quite a bit. An outdoor bar and patio out back is surrounded by a privacy fence that keeps windiness in check. During the daytime hours, the place doubles as a proper outdoor restaurant, with menu items like calamari, escargot, bahn mi and pork belly tacos. At night it takes on a general party atmosphere. With the twinkly lights overhead and some delicious booze infused slushies, it could be mistaken for Cabo, depending on the number of slushies consumed, of course).

Harmony Brewing, 1551 Lake Dr SE
This place reminds me of a famous Louis Armstrong song. With its south facing line of tables, the sun, if it’s out, is almost always beaming on the outdoor tables at this delightful brewpub.  With some of the most interesting, flavorful and daring beers in town (do you like hints of vanilla and lavender in your beer? I do), the food menu, with items like shitake “bacon” pizza and summer salads to die for, is the bees knees. Thursday’s yappy hour, where your dog gets a treat, too, makes this easily one of my favorites in town. Any place that pampers my pooch is a place I’m sure to return, so “grab your coat, get your hat, leave your worry on the doorstep. Just direct your feet to that sunny side of the street.”

Joey’s Tavern, 1125 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids
This established west side casual joint is another one with a full sun patio. Known for its burgers and a big selection of pub fare, from some funky house made egg rolls to nachos, sandwich baskets, and more, this neighborhood bar is full of locals and, in the summer, baseball fans. Every Sunday that there’s a Tiger’s home game, the bar hosts a potluck where folks can win all sorts of swag and goodies and free mystery shots (for any Tiger home run). In May and June, the Tiger’s home game potlucks are on May 14, & 28 and June 11 & 25. The fun starts at 1 p.m.


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