The Beer Garden That’s Kid- and Parent-Friendly: Parks on Tap Returns for the 2018 Season
This family friendly traveling pop-up is starting its longest and most expansive season yet.
Spring has finally sprung, Philly! The streets are being blocked off for festivals and 5K runs, nature is in bloom, bubbles and chalk have returned to your diaper bag, and day drinking has returned outside! Parks on Tap — the brilliant creation of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the Fairmount Park Conservancy, and FCM Hospitality — begins its tour of pop-up beer gardens this week, running through September, in what will be its longest season yet.
Rosé all day? More like rosé all 23 weeks!
Each Parks on Tap spot highlights a different corner of the city, and showcases a different park, often adding special activities to complement that particular week’s setting — for example, tours of historic mansions when they are the chosen sites.
With locations like the Belmont Plateau, the Strawberry Mansion Bridge, and Shofuso, the pop-ups provide unparalleled views of the city and plenty of room for kids to run around. With a lengthened calendar, they also added seven new parks, including Lovett Park in Mt. Airy and Pleasant Hill in the Northeast. Proceeds from the events go to support Philadelphia’s park system.
In thinking back over the program’s success and beginnings just two years ago, Avram Hornik, owner of FCM Hospitality, explained what a bold concept it was at the time.
“Parks are for looking at nature, they are a place for quiet contemplation. Over the years we’ve shown that is true, but they’re also a place where neighbors can come together.” Hornik described how the program expanded from the parks of Fairmount to include neighborhood parks like Clark Park. “I’ve seen more Instagram and Facebook posts than I ever thought possible of communities enjoying the parks.”
At each weekly spot, Parks on Tap will build an elaborate beer garden, complete with hammocks, twinkle lights, a barbecue smoker, taps (obviously) featuring beer and cider from local makers (there’s wine and cocktails too), lawn games, and lots of seating to kick back and enjoy the fact that it’s not winter anymore.
It’s also a great way to have a (relatively) adult outing with friends, without calling the babysitter. There’s even a beer on tap called #Adulting, so you know you’re doing it right!
Parks on Tap is so kid- (and dog-) friendly that it brings a stockpile of toys to each event (somehow, we always gravitate towards the hula hoops). New for this year, there’s even more toys and games! We’re talking giant chess and checkers, badminton, bubble wands, and more. Your kids can also grab some crayons and Parks on Tap coloring sheets to occupy themselves.
Also new this year: a brunch menu! On Saturdays and Sundays until 4 pm, there will be breakfast sandwiches, pastries from Lost Bread Company, and even Reanimator cold brew iced coffee. That joins the regular menu offered the rest of the time, which includes sandwiches, sides, and even a whole beer can chicken with all the fixings made right on site in the mobile smoker! Come hungry, is what we’re saying.
The lines get long, but just do like us and send one parent as tribute for the whole friend group (buy this brave soul a beer as a thank you while you’re at it).
The program is continuing with last summer’s Barks on Tap events as well. In addition to the main Parks on Tap schedule, a mini version of the traveling beer garden will be popping up at rotating dog runs all summer. Like last summer’s Barks on Tap, these events will take place Thursdays from 4—8 pm, and will rotate between Seger Park, Schuylkill River Park, Mario Lanza Park, and Pretzel Park over and over. The first one will be on June 7 at Seger Park, a favorite spot for dogs and kids alike.
Parks on Tap will be every Wednesday through Sunday (plus some extra Mondays on national holidays) from now until the end of September. The location changes every week, so consult your schedule and explore all our Philly parks have to offer!
Photographs by Laura Swartz.