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The 8 Best Beer Gardens in the Bay Area

By Virginia Miller
June 23, 2014
Photo by: Virginia Miller

It's no surprise that the East Bay is ground zero for Bay Area beer gardens. Its larger swaths of unclaimed real estate and lower rents make it far easier on up-and-coming brewers, many of whom have opened new outdoor beer-drinking spots in recent months. But there are also several San Francisco gems (we're looking at you, Zeitgeist) and even Hopmonk Tavern up north. So while incredible breweries and beer bars with world-class selections are all over the Bay Area, the ones with great outdoor gardens and patios are less common. Here are eight in the Bay Area that should be on your radar for their brews and outstanding alfresco spaces. 

Lost & Found, Oakland
Just opened in April, Lost & Found features a massive indoor space and a 7,000-sq.-ft. foliage-flanked patio where you can play corn hole and Ping-Pong surrounded by all manner of locals soaking up the sun with beer.
Drink This: Choose from 17 rotating California beers on draft, plus one white and one red wine and root beer for the kids.
Eat This: Playful and tasty, the all-day snacks are the best part of the menu. We love the whispers of lemongrass and spice in Thai curry popcorn ($2) and the warm comfort of instant-ramen funnel cakes ($4), essentially strips of savory funnel cake filled with tender ramen.
Know This: Husband-and-wife owners Christi Vaughn and Tim Martinez showcase Vaughn's love of gardening with the lovely plants in the beer garden, many from their own home.
2040 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; 510-763-2040

Beer Revolution, Oakland
Oakland's Beer Revolution has been a beer-geek favorite since it opened at the beginning of 2010 near Jack London Square. Though often packed, it's refreshingly relaxed, with barrel tables and a festive outdoor patio.
Drink This: Don't get too attached. As the website states, the 50 draft beers change "hourly and daily," which means there's always some exciting new craft beer to taste.
Eat This: They don't serve food, but you can bring in whatever you like from other establishments. 
Know This: Locals and vegans love calling neighboring restaurant Solely Vegan, which delivers food orders straight to the beer garden.
464 Third St., Oakland; 510-452-2337

Perdition Smokehouse, Berkeley
Beer geeks and barbecue fanatics rejoice: Chuck Stilphen — founder of craft-beer temples like Oakland's The Trappist and Mikkeller Bar SF — just opened Perdition Smokehouse on Friday, a barbecue and craft-beer hall with casual, order-at-the-counter service and a picnic table-lined garden.
Drink This: There are 43 taps of rotating American session beers and Mikkeller rarities, plus cold-pressed Blue Bottle Coffee on tap. 
Eat This: Mikkeller Chef Michael O’Brien turns out by-the-pound, dry-rub BBQ: beef brisket, pork shoulder, turkey, hot links, ribs and — our favorite — pulled pork shoulder. There are also rotating pies, like chocolate peanut. The kitchen will also double as production facility for the new Mikkeller Sausage Company.
Know This: Perdition initially opens from 5 PM-12 AM, with plans for lunch service to begin by the end of summer.
2050 University Ave., Berkeley; ‪510-900-5858

photoname

Perdition Smokehouse's back beer garden [Photo Source: Virginia Miller]

Biergarten in Hayes Valley, SF
This Munich-meets-Hayes-Valley beer garden, from the owners of long-beloved German restaurant Suppenkuche, is essentially a parking lot converted into a white light-strewn beer oasis. On a gorgeous day, the lines never seem to end. Once inside the vine-covered chain-link fence, grab a spot at the communal tables and relax the day away. 
Drink This: Any of the six rotating German beers on tap.
Eat This: It's all about juicy bratwurst with sauerkraut and giant pretzels.
Know This: Hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 3-9 PM, and 1-7 PM on Sundays.
424 Octavia St.; 415-252-9289

Zeitgeist in the Mission, SF
All surly bartenders, punk attitude and sunshine, Zeitgeist is a legendary San Francisco dive bar and a longtime favorite among bikers and bike messengers. The inside of the bar is dingy, but the outdoor beer garden is among the city's most spacious outdoor drinking areas, filled to the brim with picnic tables. 
Drink This: There's an impressive rotating list of over 40 beers on draft, many of them local.
Eat This: Cheap burgers from the open grill make it feel like a barbecue party in your friend's backyard.
Know This: Lines to get in are often long, and it's cash only. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 3-9 PM, and 1-7 PM on Sundays.
199 Valencia St.; 415-255-7505

Westbrae Biergarten, Berkeley
With a grand opening just last week, Westbrae Biergarten is the latest outdoor beer garden to hit the East Bay. Owners Linda and Carl Lasagna come from the family who founded next door Westbrae Nursery.
Drink This: Beers and ciders are NorCal-based and rotate often. Check the latest here.
Eat This: Food is available from two rotating vendors, including the beloved tri-tip sandwich and fun, Latin-inspired menu from Pedro's Brazil Café.
Know This: This is ground zero for all Brazil World Cup games, turning the biergarten into one big, Brazilian party.
1280 Gilman St., Berkeley

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Brotzeit Lokal's waterside beer garden [Photo Source: Brotzeit Lokal Facebook page]

Moxy Beer Garden, Berkeley
Opened last spring, Moxy Beer Garden is situated on a big lot with a fire pit and plenty of outdoor seating.
Drink This: 14 taps focus on local producers, including SF favorites like Almanac and Thirsty Bear.
Eat This: Moroccan lamb burgers and truffle fries.
Know This: Vegans, never fear. They serve vegan Buffalo wings.
3136 Sacramento St., Berkeley; 510-547-6699

Brotzeit Lokal, Oakland
The waterfront beer garden from a Chop Bar alum leans heavy on German beers and a sausage-heavy menu. Waterside tables are the draw. 
Drink This: Check out the ever-rotating tap list of German and US craft beers.
Eat This: Go for fish 'n' chips, mussels or the bratwurst and house sausages, like jalapeño chicken, served on a bun with sauerkraut, pickled red onions and jalapeños.
Know This: They serve beer in a boot.
1000 Embarcadero, Oakland; 510-645-1905

Places Mentioned

Lost & Found

Bar • Oakland

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Biergarten

German • Hayes Valley

Food21 Decor21 Service20 Cost$19
 
 
 
Westbrae Biergarten

Bar • Berkeley

Atmo.- Decor- Service- CostI
 
 
 
Perdition Smokehouse

Barbecue • Berkeley

Food- Decor- Service- CostM
 
 
 
Zeitgeist

Bar And Grill • SoMa

Atmo.25 Decor17 Service18 CostI
 
 
 
 
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