Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Beer Gardens Get an APP

I've love to say the new iPhone APP for New York beer gardens is the direct result of my August NYT round-up of Gotham gardens. But, alas, the creators started working on the thing in June.

Beer Garden Radar
 By Robert Simonson
It seems as if beer gardens are opening around every corner of New York. Now there’s a iPhone app to make sure you don’t miss that turn.
Beer Gardens NYC leads you to 50 different beer gardens, listed by borough, neighborhood, beers and price range. The guide is the work of Raj Moorjani, the owner of the Forest Hills-based Web technology firm Calpaq Interactive, and Hope Tarr, a novelist and travel writer. The couple hatched the idea in June when they were enjoying a couple of frosty ones at Goods, a restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with outdoor seating that serves burgers and dogs out of an Airstream trailer.
“It had just opened that day,” recalled Ms. Tarr. “It was so pleasant. I love outdoor dining spaces anyways. We were just chatting and had a eureka moment.”
Not much later — after determining that there was not yet a beer garden app for New York (the only one they found was for Munich) — they began putting together Beer Gardens NYC. Research was arduous: For five consecutive weekends, Ms. Tarr and Mr. Moorjani did nothing but visit beer gardens. “We went to 11 in one day,” recalled Ms. Tarr. “We did a lot of the information collection during the World Cup, so we got a good sense of the outdoor space because everyone was inside watching the games.”
The result includes descriptions, photos and videos of 50 New York beer gardens, including the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria, Queens; theRadegast Hall and Biergarten in Williamsburg; the Vietnamese beer garden Bia on the Lower East Side; and the newly opened Bier International in Harlem. “The fun thing about this is the diversity of the gardens,” Ms. Tarr said. “You can pretty much find a beer garden for any tastes.” The app, which costs $1.99, also includes a directory of more than 900 beers, searchable by venue and brand, just in case a user is interested in locating not a particular restaurant, but a particular draft. Ms. Tarr and Mr. Moorjani are already considering creating similar sudsy guides to other American cities.
While it’s true that the days are starting to get nippy, making beer gardens less attractive, Ms. Tarr points out that many of the city’s gardens are attached to indoor spaces. Also, fall and beer do go together in one big way.
“We timed it to come out in plenty of time for Oktoberfest,” she said.

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