May 13, 2016
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, what has in many ways become the gold standard for pop-up beer gardens in Philadelphia for the past few years, finally announced where and when you can get a brew with a view this summer.
Coming back is the PHS Pop Up Garden at South Street, sprouting up for its third go-'round at 15th and South streets. It will be operated by Khyber Pass Pub and feature — in addition to obvious craft beers and cocktails — sweet potato summer rolls with chipotle-hoisin sauce; Italian charcuterie and cheese with roasted olives; artichoke salad; pickled mushrooms and fig toast; and bacon guacamole and fire-toasted salsa with spicy corn chips.
Events programming through the week includes the following:
• Margarita Mondays, with day-specific Mexican treats)
• Brewsday Tuesdays, highlighting local breweries, chef collaborations and live music
• South Street Gulps on Wednesdays, with sangria and cocktails made with Tito's vodka or Hendricks gin
Tallulah & Bird designer Karen Regan has again designed the space, this year with the promise of a "magical retreat" with the cityscape as a backdrop. Aged woods, planters and antiques will mix with use of roses, a canopy of pink crape myrtles, climbing vines of hops, fragrant herbs and a multi-textured perennial mix will make up the aesthetic.
To boot, Victory Brewing Company will again create a PHS Beer exclusively for the pop-up gardens. Expect an American wheat ale with notes of orange blossom honey.
The South Street location opens Wednesday, June 1 at 5:30 p.m.
The second pop-up, meanwhile, is the all-new PHS Pop Up Garden at the Viaduct Rail Park. Located at 10th and Hamilton streets, the pop-up garden — a rather poorly kept secret — is meant to highlight the efforts of Friends of the Rail Park to develop the three-mile path into a recreational cultural connector. The purpose of the pop-up garden is to allow Philadelphians to reimagine Reading Viaduct as a revitalized industrial park, as well as take in the history of the three-mile stretch. The pop-up garden is partly supported by a grant last year from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and includes partnerships with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, to name a few.
For that reason, expect the design — put together by Oakland, California, landscape artist Walter Hood — to be a leading factor in your trip to the Viaduct pop-up. The design will take inspiration from old railroad cars and from a previously abandoned (but unspecified) space along the three-mile path. It will merge the overhead rail structure with green urban space and, in that sense, be a hybrid of what Friends of the Rail Park envision for its final Viaduct ecology and PHS's own botanical vision.
Plant life currently slated to be on display: red cedars, staghorn cumac, serviceberry trees and viburnum and several varieties of perennials.
A site-specific sound installation, created by Philadelphia native Abby Sohn, will recall the once-upon-a-time industrial bustle of the rail park, adding an art-installation element to the pop-up. Equipment will also be set up for visitors to play the bocce-like Philadelphia-created game "Philly Stones."
In terms of food & drink, here's what we know:
• "Top Chef" alum Jason Cichonski, alongside Chef Sylva Senat (Dos Tacos), will open Bun Box, a menu of various steamed buns. For those just seeking comfort foods, you'll also find on the menu Buffalo Chicken Nugget Boa, which is crispy chicken with hot sauce, Bayley Hazen blue cheese and celery, as well as warm churros made with ginger-cinnamon sugar and sweet sesame dulce de leche. A Tikka Masala Curry is also in the works.
• The bar boasts six taps and canned beers, plus a wine list and cocktails like a Pimm's Cup and a blood orange margarita.
• Themed dinners are on the way, including a ’90s night with live music
The Reading Viaduct's pop-up garden opens Friday, June 10 at 5:30 p.m. Photos of both gardens will be available in the weeks ahead, according to a PHS representative.