No, hops, wheat and barley plants don’t grow in a beer garden. Actually, nothing does, except perhaps your impending hangover. The term identifies a space in which brews are consumed rather than cultivated, and since the first beer gardens were developed in 19th century Bavaria, a lot of people have gotten on board.
A traditional beer garden, according to visitbavaria.com, is “an open air area, which usually is the garden or a spacious place belonging to a pub or restaurant.” The German tourism website also explains that, while the spaces have changed, today’s beer gardens serve the same purpose their ancestors did in the 19th century: “to give pleasure, to have a good time, cultivate traditions, enjoy the sun and Bavarian lifestyle.”
That’s a mission statement we can get behind. So with that in mind, here are a few of the beer garden options currently available in Las Vegas.
•Hofbrauhaus: The Las Vegas outpost of the Bavarian restaurant chain is a perfect reconstruction of the company’s flagship beer hall in Munich, and the German tradition doesn’t end there. The beer is imported directly from the Bavarian capital, and you’ll find at least three of the brewery’s best on draught at any given time. So celebrate Oktoberfest (Hofbrauhaus observes the holiday daily) and enjoy a stein in the biergarten—complete with shrubbery, water fountain and checkered tablecloth-covered picnic tables.
•Chateau: Overlooking the Strip, the Paris nightclub’s beer garden is set in a landscaped terrace with spectacular views of the Bellagio fountains. Chateau gets props for its viable fauna, but it’s the beer that’s really well covered: The garden serves 20 brews on draught and 10 in the bottle (though that includes Smirnoff Ice and O’Doul’s). The hop spot opens daily at 10 a.m.
•Lavo: This nightclub recently amped up its terrace, a Strip-side, garden-esque seating area adorned with potted plants and shrubs. Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights from 5-8 p.m., Lavo’s beer garden offers $5 beers (and bellinis), along with a small-plates menu. With two brews on tap and 11 in the bottle, Lavo’s patio is more about sitting outside than sipping an exotic ale, but it’s still a lovely place to have a drink.
•Beauty Bar: The Downtown watering hole just redecorated its backyard, and has redubbed it the Beauty Bar beer garden. Find Sierra Nevada on draught and five brews in bottles or cans at the cozy, outdoor space nightly starting at 6 p.m.