Did you know that Castle Clinton in Battery Park is said to be the first ever beer garden in America? The structure—now a national monument—has had many incarnations (most overlapping), including a theater, an exhibition hall, an immigration station (predating Ellis Island), and a public aquarium.

Its life as a beer garden—then called Castle Garden—began on July 3rd, 1824, coming alive inside of the former Army fort, which shuttered a few years earlier. These illustrations showing the beer garden (also a theater at the time) appeared in Harper's New Monthly Magazine in the 1800s. Do you think any of these people walked over a frozen East River to get there during winter months? While the garden was open air at first, a roof was eventually added.


On July 22nd of this year, a new beer garden will open just down the street from America's first, and they tell us they'll be paying homage to Castle Garden. Stay tuned for more details and photos on Clinton Hall.