by Matt Kelchner
What better way to celebrate the summer solstice than by opening a brand new beer garden? SugarHouse Casino unveiled their new outdoor dining and drinking destination Wednesday evening with a small preview party before it officially opens today. Located directly along the riverwalk and behind the casino itself, Fishtown Hops offers some of the best waterfront views in the city. Pair that with the craft cocktails, local brews and tasty new menu items, and it’s safe to say that this new beer garden is prime for outdoor hangouts.
Walking down the entrance path located next to the casino, two things quickly caught my eyes. First were the incredible views of the Ben Franklin Bridge and Delaware River. Second was the stunning landscape and design. Adirondack chairs and fire pits make it easy to forget that you’re in the middle of the city as you look out onto the water. The surrounding trees, bushes and flowers put an emphasis on the garden part of the beer garden.
The beautiful scenery and layout is courtesy of Groundswell Design Group. When you read through the list of the group’s past projects like La Peg and Talula’s Garden, it’s easy to see why SugarHouse Casino tapped the local company for their work.
If you can pull yourself away from the outdoor space, then you are in for a real treat as you head inside into the bar. I was more than pleased to see an emphasis on supporting the local beer scene at Fishtown Hops. Draft selections included some of our city’s favorites such as Victory Brewing Company’s Summer Love and St. Benjamin Brewing’s Wit or Witout. Canned beers include the latest offerings from the likes of Dogfish Head and Dock Street Brewing. Yards Brewing even created a special beer for Fishtown Hops- Philly’s Winner.
If beer is not your thing, the cocktail menu should be more than enough to satisfy your thirst. Drinks like the Fishtown Gin and Juice and Watermelon Cucumber Margarita make for perfect summertime sips. And just as with the beer offerings, there is also a focus on local distilleries. New Liberty Distillery’s Dreadnaught White Rum makes a few appearances on the menu, along with their Kinsey Rye Whiskey and Philadelphia Distilling’s Bluecoat Gin.
As I sat around one of the tables, surrounded by board games and shuffleboard, I munched previews from the brand new food menu. The sausage sliders, strawberry salads and deviled eggs make you feel like you’re at a backyard barbecue. The menu is loaded with various small plates that are great to share with friends. Don’t expect anyone to be generous with the pulled pork fries or mac n cheese crab bites, though. Both dishes were my favorites and I could not get enough of them!
All in all, Fishtown Hops is a pleasant addition to Philadelphia’s decorated food and drink scene. On top of the amazing views, games and menus, there will also be live entertainment with DJs and bands along with a rotating schedule of local food trucks Thursday through Sunday evenings. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here at RowHome, but by the end of summer, don’t be surprised if we name Fishtown Hops our new favorite place in the city.
Fishtown Hops opens to the public today! Throughout the week it will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 10 pm, Fridays from 4 pm to 2 am, Saturdays from noon-2 am and Sundays from noon-8 pm all summer long. Seating accommodates approximately 150 guests, with no reservations required. Happy hours with half-price pitchers occur daily from 5-7 p.m.