Beer Garden Opens to Crowds

By on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 8:10 am

Friday night saw the opening of the Zeppelin Beer Hall, a massive German style beer garden in the base of the Zenith, a luxury rental tower in the newly opened neighborhood of Liberty Harbor North on the south side of the downtown. The beer hall has a capacity of 800 and claims more than 144 taps, though the total number of available beers is much lower than that.

The main beer hall features two separate rooms with bars, as well as a food service station. Within the hall are picnic tables that match those outside, and in the secondary room is a small bandstand, though no musicians performed over the weekend.

Friday service opened to a beautiful summer afternoon interrupted only briefly by a sudden downpour. But the beauty of Zeppelin Hall is the large capacity inside as well as out, and until the rain passed, there was plenty of room indoors. After the rain cleared, the outdoor tables quickly filled.

The staff seemed unprepared Friday to deal with the crush of people. The two indoor bars were both overwhelmed and the outdoor bar did not open Friday. The bartenders flipped a stack of credit cards representing open tabs like a pile of playing cards. Customers could choose from a half liter ($5), liter ($10), or pitcher ($15), and the sheer number of orders simply slowed service to a crawl.

The garden abuts against the light rail track, and the train sounds an air horn as it approaches a grade crossing and Jersey Avenue station, also adjacent to the garden. Saturday night patrons began cheering each time a train passed to the chagrin of residents of the Zenith rental building prompting noise complaints.

Sunday afternoon brought out a family crowd, and by late afternoon the garden was again filled with everyone seven to seventy. The installation of umbrellas provided shade Sunday too. By Sunday, the long lines for beer seemed to have abated, and the outdoor taps were turned on.

The beer hall has plenty of room indoors and out. There is plenty of space between tables to walk, and enough open areas where groups of people can gather.

The kitchen serves a variety of burgers and German style sausages. By Sunday, they had sold out of most of the sausage varieties, with only a kielbasa available, served with fries and sauerkraut. The burgers are passable; some interesting combinations are available, including burgers with kielbasa, but the beef isn’t terribly high quality. The fries were fresh, crisp and everything you would want.

Parking is available at a lot on Jersey Avenue, about a block away from the beer hall. But with easy access to public transportation, and the quantity of beer flowing from the establishment, its probably better not to drive. The Jersey Avenue light rail station is a block away and trains run every ten minutes. The location is also just 6 blocks from the Grove Street PATH station, making the beer hall about 15 minutes door to door from lower Manhattan, a far easier trip than the hour to Astoria. See the Google Map for how to get there from the PATH and Light Rail.

After an early rain storm, crowds fill up the garden on Friday night

A mock German style building inside the beer hall adds to the whimsy

The floors inside the beer hall add to the German feel

Sunday afternoon was a family friendly crowd

Umbrellas were installed Sunday morning

Yes, that’s the window of a luxury rental apartment 10 feet above the beer garden

By Sunday, the outdoor bar was operating too



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