Sidewalk cafes are all the rage among those who advocate an urban landscape attractive to the "creative class." But what about the beer garden? Is that not cosmopolitan enough?
It is in cities like Berlin, where it's possible to blow an entire day at a beer garden, tucked away like a leafy oasis in the middle of the city. Under the trees, small groups gather around tables playing games, chatting, listening to live music and, of course, partaking in cool, malty beverages.
That German tradition translates well in Madison, where we're obliged to get outdoors in the summer months and soak up as much fresh air before the winter drives us back inside. Beer is nice, but it's much nicer when you're drinking it outside, right?
And while lots of joints in town claim they have beer gardens, too many are glorified parking lots and smoking decks. So we dispatched Robin Shepard, Isthmus' own beer man, to identify his favorites. Then we mapped them for you on one convenient, bookmarkable page.