Traditionally, the term beer garden (from the German "biergarten") refers to an open-air establishment that serves cold brew, drinks and local culinary specialties. With 80 beers, an enlarged deck and a soon-to-be introduced menu of pub-style food, Bayou Beer Garden (326 N. Jefferson Davis Parkway, 302-9357; www.bayoubeergarden.com) lives up to its name.
Housed in an early 20th-century Arts and Crafts style structure, this Mid-City bar features a porch and outside tables where patrons enjoy libations and the scenery. "There are seats out front, but the hidden gem is out back," says New Orleans Fire Department district chief Dean DiSalvo, who co-owns Bayou Beer Garden with bartender Fiona Delargy. At the venue's rear, a sprawling, shaded deck and patio provide more than 2,000 square feet of space. Flowering plants and tropical greenery surround the deck and a back bar.
During warmer months, patrons use the deck to watch football games and hold business meetings, and within the next month there will be live music on Sunday afternoons. When burgers, Buffalo wings and sandwiches become available this month, DiSalvo expects lunchtime crowds to keep the bar buzzing. Bayou Beer Garden's private parking lot is a rare perk for a neighborhood watering hole.
"The overwhelming response I get is that (the bar) is comfortable and friendly," Delargy says.
When DiSalvo and Delargy bought the former coffeehouse two years ago, they planned a laid-back environment that would give their diverse clientele plenty of ways to unwind. Inside, crimson walls, wooden tables, a glossy oak bar, a pool table and darts offer a pub-style alternative to the deck. House-made sangria is a popular choice when the temperature rises, and more than 150 liquors and daily bucket specials give patrons an array of drink options.
"We're known for a good drink at a reasonable price," Delargy says.