Westchester has long had a reputation as a county that prefers wine to beer. But about 10 years ago, the drinking landscape started changing with the rise of craft breweries and craft-brew retail outlets such that beer now matches — and perhaps even eclipses — wine in county popularity.
One area, however, that has lagged behind in the Westchester malt-and-hop arena is the presence of beer gardens: outdoor areas with communal tables, music, and robust beer offerings.
With the closing of Port Chester’s Heartland Black + Gold (prior to that it was Port Chester Hall & Beer Garden), the county was left with a dearth of quality beer gardens — namely, Birdsall House in Peekskill and Bridge View Tavern in Sleepy Hollow.
Fortunately, the owners of nearby Rye House have stepped in to open Village Beer Garden in the Heartland space, a 200-seat, open-air German biergarten with communal butcher-block tables beneath red patio umbrellas, a ping-pong table, and dartboards, all bounded by steel-glass framing and green shrubbery.
“We want people to be up and moving around and visiting other parts of the space and friends at other tables,” says GM Jeffrey Skiba. “Some of [the tables] are big and long and invite communal seating.”
Expect a classic Oktoberfest-style menu with selections such as house-made pretzel nuggets, sweet/spicy/dill pickles, German meatballs, fried cheese curd, German cucumber salad, crispy chicken schnitzel, kielbasa, bratwurst, sweet and hot Italian sausage, boudin blanc, and house-made krauts and slaws. Almost all food items are priced under $10.
A wide-ranging list of local craft and imported beers (24 on draft) is offered, including Pilsner Urquell from the Czech Republic and Schneider Aventinus and Bitburger Pilsner from Germany, plus a trio of original punches (e.g., Southern Lemonade with Old Forrester Bourbon, lemon juice and mint).
Village Beer Garden
3 Broad St, Port Chester