Old News Department: Oculus Beer Garden

The Oculus Beer Garden has been open since fall 2020 and I have been meaning to get there all this time — sometimes weather got in the way, sometimes their quirky seasonal schedule. Now I have been twice and despite the fact that it’s a beer garden with no draft beer, the cocktails are served in plastic glasses and their version of cheese is Velveeta, I really like this place. The vibe is casual, the crowd is mixed and lively without being rowdy (largely post-work from the World Trade Center and thinned out by 7p) and the setting is pretty majestic under the Oculus’ spine.

The soundtrack was solid on our first outing: Abba and Tears for Fears, just right for the 50-something crowd. Last time it was more “Eye of the Tiger” so I guess you take your chances with the music. But for early evening beers, there’s lots of shade and tons of seating at the picnic tables and great barstools along a ledge facing south. There’s also a giant Connect4 for kids.

Now as to the food: My date explained the yellow goo on the nachos was not in fact Velveeta — that would be an upgrade. “This is skating rink nacho cheese, similar to amusement park cheese but better. It comes in a bag in a box and you put it in this heating vessel and turn it. I grew up on this stuff and I love it.”

There’s a grilled cheese, bratwurst and a BLT — also packaged pita chips with hummus. The beers are all in cans and there are about 20 9f them. I like the low(er) alcohol Coney Island Merman IPA, if anyone is asking. There are wines by the “glass” in the $14 range and cocktails for $17. Beers are $9 or $10.

Hours definitely change with the weather, so have a backup plan.

Oculus Beer Garden
2 World Trade Center Plaza
11a to 10p
Through Oct. 31


1 Comment

  1. Shout out for the bratwurst. I was surprised at how good it was. It is a great spot for people watching.