I was reading jealously in the NYT this weekend about the new wave of beer gardens in New York when I came something that made me ask what exactly the heck they were talking about:
Beer gardens have achieved such cultural ascendancy that even grand masters are getting into the act. Recently, Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali announced the opening of La Birreria, an outdoor Italian-style drinking establishment, on the roof of Eataly, their Italian food megamall on 23rd Street. The beer garden offers an Alps-influenced menu and craft beers seasoned with fresh thyme picked, by hand, from the hills outside Rome.
Aside from the fact that this sounds extremely precious and pompous and overwrought and likely overpriced, is a garden still a garden when its on a roof? Isn't that a patio? I mean I have been on roof top patios having a beer or two for well over 20 years and I never thought to call it a garden. For me a beer garden has trees and hopefully grass. Like this place in Queens. It's exotic and Teutonic because it's a wooded park where you can get beer. It's also not a beer hall. While big and open and preferably full of oom-pah, that's not a garden. Because it's not outside. Birds should flit about a beer garden, shouldn't they? Chipmunks should make an appearance, low to the ground with a shrub nearby just in case. And a kid sleeping in a stroller in the shade.