Beekman’s, a beer garden with a view in New York City

When most people think of places to drink with a view they automatically think of rooftop bars. For those who are interested in great shots of the New York skyline without the outrageous prices and swanky atmosphere of a rooftop venue, Beekman’s Beer Garden should be your next stop.

While the beer selection is limited, at $7 a pint it is reasonably priced, especially when immersed in the laid-back atmosphere, brew in hand, right on the water. Choices include Magic Hat #9-Not Quite Pale Ale, a drier beer with a crisp flavor, Six Point Crisp Lager, a soft honey malt with peppery hops, Blue Point Toasted Lager, a copper brew made from six different malts, and Ommegaang Witte Ale, the companies take on a Belgian-white.

Want some food to go along with your brew? Beekman’s menu features perfect pub-type grub, such as sausages, burgers, chicken tenders, and cheese fries. And, because you are on the water, a selection of seafood such as fish and chips and shrimp cocktail can also be ordered.

While the tented area full of picnic and pool tables is open to the public, there is also a man-made beach section which is the VIP area of the beer garden, complete with sand and beach chairs for those who want a little more luxury.

At 6PM on Fridays patrons can enjoy “Fest Fridays”, with a different all-you-can-eat party-theme each week, such as Chili Fest, Pig Fest, and Seafood Fest. Sundays offer “Brews, Blues, and BBQ” at 1PM featuring various musicians and shows.

The best part about Beekman’s is, hands down, the view of the Brooklyn Bridge at night. With the bridge being adorned with small lights as well as being a stone’s throw away from the bar, the setting is a bit surreal and a great opportunity to take photos.

Beekman’s Beer Garden is located in South Street Seaport at Beekman St. and South St. on the North side of Pier 17. It is accessible by the A,C,J,M,Z,2,3,4,5 at Fulton St.

Hours of operation are Wednesday-Sunday, 12PM-3AM.

Arriving at Munich’s Oktoberfest 2010

Direct, no muss no fuss and much simpler than flying, I arrived into Munich, the capital of Bavaria, on the evening train from Budapest. It was easy — buy a first class ticket, get on the train a couple of minutes before embarkation, stow your bags, and away we go. I traveled through eastern Hungary, bucolic and somewhat scenic, then the entirety of Austria. The train passed green hamletted hills, little towns, tall steeples, the occasional factory, windmill farms and fleeting glimpses of the Austrian Alps thrown in for postcard measure. I ate from the dining car, bought a beer, read, played games and slept in comfort. After a 7.5 hr. journey, the train reached Bavaria and soon stopped at the Munich Hauptbahnhof or main train station.

I came to Munich primarily to experience Oktoberfest in this, its 200th anniversary. The historic festival originally began as a celebration of the marriage between Crown Prince Ludwig and Therese, Princess of Saxony back in 1810. Parades, games, music and (of course!) beer flowed at the huge wedding party. In 1818, Oktoberfest became an official beer festival and has been going strong ever since. Today approximately 1.5 million people show up to Oktoberfest each year in the capital of Bavaria.

I started out from the hotel, took the U Bahn’ (the efficient subway system) to the Theresienwiese — named after Princess Therese — the Oktoberfest area. Walking two blocks, I encountered a rocking’ carnival. Brilliant lights, screaming rides for kids and adults, food stalls, games of skill (in one you had to kick a soccer ball past a live goalie and hit a bull’s-eye), and everything else you’d expect at first rate amusement park. Thousands enjoyed the fun.

Then I saw the beer gardens…

%Gallery-7103%… which are mainly massive tents sponsored by different breweries. Open from 11 AM to 11 PM, the 13 beer tents can hold around 10,000 people each — all eating, drinking, talking and singing. I chose one, the Pschorr Brewery and walked in. Wow, what a raucous scene. Throngs of happy locals and tourists were enjoying the fresh Pschorr brew sold in big, heavy 1-liter glasses. It was a friendly though pushy crowd with virtually every seat taken. Numerous men were wearing traditional German lederhosen and women in sexy dirndl skirts. Many were not wearing the traditional outfit, which was no problem, but hey, if you can get your hands on the clothes you’ll feel right at home. I was lucky enough to find an empty seat and ordered a beer, a soft pretzel and some hensl — or rotisserie chicken. Typically German, the whole operation runs like clockwork — servers dash back and forth taking orders and returning in minutes. My beer and food quickly arrived (hot and delicious) as I conversed with some locals. “These 16 days are the best in Munich, it’s a time to see and be seen,” said local man Uvo Neigenfind.

A band at the front played all kinds of music inducing the crowd, many standing on benches, to sing along in unison. The tunes included “Sweet Caroline,” Take Me Home,” and a “traditional” old German disco classic, “I Will Survive.” Some thought this was an old German song but, ha, I recognized it immediately.

And the beer kept flowing…


Bob Ecker is a Napa, California based travel writer/photographer providing worldwide magazines and newspapers with compelling travel, hospitality, wine, culinary, skiing, film and innovative feature content. He is constantly on the go, traveling the world, unearthing new stories and uncorking emerging regions. He is current Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) member and former President of the Bay Area Travel Writers (BATW).

Lose your phone? Go to Munich!

Scott Carmichael wrote about a great spot for a bit of pre-flight relaxation – and a cold beer – in Munich. Well, if you have the chance to hit it, you may run into a celebrity.

Have you heard of Gray Powell? Well, he’s the guy from Apple who lost the latest-and-greatest-top-secret iPhone at a bar while being seduced by German beer and celebrating his birthday. It’s all gone downhill for him since then, but Lufthansa’s offering some relief. The airline has offered Powell a free business class roundtrip ticket to Munich … because it seems like he needs it.

In a letter to Powell, Nicola C. Lange, Lufthansa’s Director of Marketing and Customer Relations for The Americas, writes: “We all know how frustrating it can be to lose personal belongings, especially when it is such a unique item.” Well, I don’t think we know quite how frustrating it is to reveal your entire company’s future.

But, moving on:

We thought you could use a break soon – and therefore would like to offer you complimentary Business Class transportation to Munich, where you can literally pick up where you last left off. [I’m sure that’s exactly what he wants] Upon arrival in Munich, feel free to check out our new Bavarian Beer Garden business Lounge, and experience the best Germany has to offer.

Never has one’s “passion for German beer and culture” been so richly rewarded!