Graham Kilmer

Beer Gardens Open With Social Distancing

County Parks reopen five beer gardens, with many changes to protect patrons' safety.

By - Jul 1st, 2020 01:04 pm
Beer garden in Humboldt Park. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Beer garden in Humboldt Park. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

As Milwaukee County continues to open its beer gardens, the parks department has been taking steps to ensure patrons can maintain social distancing.

Nearly all of the beer gardens are already open. Whitnall Park, Estabrook Park, Hoyt’s Landing, Humboldt Park and the county’s traveling beer gardens are all open. And South Shore Terrace will open Monday July 6.

The beer gardens are a source of revenue for the perpetually strapped county. They generated $1.5 million in revenue for the County Parks Department in 2019. And, according to the department, revenue from food and beverage sales, golf, special event permits and rentals make up approximately 60 percent of the parks operating budget.

Like many restaurants and retail stores, the parks department has made changes to its beer gardens to ensure social distancing can be maintained.

“With so many festivals and events canceled in Milwaukee, the beer gardens will be a welcome taste of summer and a safe way for friends, family and neighbors to come together,” said County Executive David Crowley in a statement.

Joe Mrozinski, assistant chief of recreation and business development at the parks department, said that in places where there once were one or two lines for beer, there will be four or eight. And all tables in the beer gardens have been spaced to be at least 10 feet apart, he said. And whenever possible, the parks department wants to encourage patrons to use contactless payment methods.

All employees will be wearing masks and gloves and there will be plexiglass barriers separating patrons and employees at the service counters. There will be a dedicated sanitation person at each garden that sanitizes each table after it is used with a garden sprayer filled with sanitizing solution. All bathrooms and tap handles will be sanitized every hour.

There is also a system in place to show patrons whether a table has been sanitized or not. There are bricks on the tables with a red side and a green side. When the red side is up, it means the table has not been sanitized yet, when the green is up it has. And all beer will be served in single use disposable cups.

Another change, unrelated to COVID-19: the beer garden at Humboldt Park that has become The Vine Humboldt, a craft beer and wine garden. Along with the addition of wine, Triciclo Peru will be selling empanadas.

Traveling Beer Garden Stops can be found here.

South Shore Terrace: Opens Monday, July 6. Hours will be 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday,  Friday 11 a.m to 10 p.m and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Whitnall Park: Already open. Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Estabrook Park: Open. Monday through Sunday the garden opens at noon.

The Vine Humboldt: Open. Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Landing at Hoyt Park: Open. Wednesday through Friday 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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