On Thursday, May 14, the German-style beer garden Studio Square—also known as S2—officially opened to the public, adding its abbreviated name to the list of open-air bars worth turning to when the temperature climbs. With 30,000 square feet (!) of combined indoor and outdoor drinking space, 18 beers on tap and a nicely priced grill menu, the Long Island City summertime haven is practically its own colony of beer, sausages and sunshine.
Digs: A super-sized, L-shaped space invites communal boozing and can accommodate 1,000-plus thirsty patrons. Jumbo, handcrafted dark pine picnic tables, vintage-style street lamps and a huge central fire pit set a classy summer-camp vibe, while birch trees and plenty of ivy add to the sensation of drinking in the great outdoors—although those who prefer a more urban vista can move to the cavernous interior space (splashed with work from noted graffiti artist KR.One) or to the front patio bar area, which features a view of...the street.
Drinks: It's a German beer garden so German beer is, obviously, king. You'll find 18 varieties on tap, including familiar favorites like Hoegaarden (and Sam Adams and Blue Moon) alongside the slightly harder-to-find Weihenstephan Hefe-Weiss, Franziskaner and Spaten. Prices are nice: Half-liters cost $7, liters are $13, and pitchers are $18—and they're all served in heavy-duty, German-style glassware. If beer isn't your thing, Studio Square also offers wines and spirits, along with three varieties of homemade sangria—also on tap. No, we've never heard of sangria on tap either, but we'll run with it. (Fruit is added to your glass after the pour.)
Food: Meat! S2 serves up casual BBQ classics like juicy pulled pork sandwichs, Black Angus burgers and barbecued chicken breast sandwiches—all for $8 a pop (sides of fries, jumbo pretzels and sauerkraut go for $3 each). Other snacks include oversized Weisswurst sausage (a lighter, herb-flecked variety), bratwurst and kielbasa—but if all-American hotdogs are more your style, you can also score two locally produced, Schaller & Weber franks for $8. While it's all affordable, make sure to bring plenty of cash, since credit cards aren't accepted (three ATMs are available on site, however).
Extras: If outdoor drinking merriment isn't enough entertainment for you, S2 also plans to schedule a variety live music acts this summer. Stay tuned! —Alexis Korman
35-33 36 St. between 35th and 36th Aves.