“The first reaction stepping off the elevator is, wow. It’s all about our guests. The ones in jeans and the ones in. yup, a wedding dress and tux,” said Skygarten owner, Lou Kochman. She was referring to the craziness of Oktoberfest on the 51st floor and a private wedding on the 50th floor and across the hallway. The best of Philly’s newest beer garden can cater to beer lovers, coworkers going out to happy hour and a wedding at the same time.
SkyGarten opened its doors to the public in June of 2016 offering an authentic German biergarten where diners can enjoy spectacular views of Center City and beyond from the 51st floor of the 1717 Arch Street Building in Logan Square. Reputably known as “Philadelphia’s first beer garden in the sky,” you can’t help but feel total disbelief when you first approach the ground level, shiny brass doors because not too many Philadelphians would expect there to be a real biergarten 51 stories high operating on top of a luxurious business building. Owner Lou Kochman has been successfully running Top of the Tower since 1995. It was specifically designed for corporate events and wedding venues.
Just late last year, Kochman and her business partner expanded and opened another dining hall next to the biergarten for business meetings and weddings. Folks can enjoy being eye-level with William Penn with a beer in their hands. Even though SkyGarten puts forth an open-to-the-public front, they can definitely hold a private table for guests within the beer garden. In this case, there was a wedding across the hall at the same time as Oktoberfest. Lou and her business partner will go out of their way for the comfort of each guest providing the wedding with privacy and security from patrons at Oktoberfest.
“Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been very cooperative, but we have been able to get people on the balcony this evening,” said Kochman when asked about the gusty winds blowing drinks out of guest’s hands and dense fog that was preventing everyone from seeing the busy streets and buildings from down below.
First time gazing upon the unique menu of Top of the Tower SkyGarten, you’ll recognize the fact that each of their specials has a German twist to the plate and everything, of course, comes with a beer on tap. Starting off with pretzel sticks, cheese sauce and a beer for six dollars and ending with the people’s favorite on the menu, which is the Bratwurst Sandwich on a hoagie roll with sauerkraut and spicy mustard.
“Our food reviews are five stars, we cook from scratch here. It’s not the standard, said Kochman.”
Two friends, who joined in on the fun after already tending to another Oktoberfest in Frankford, took a liking to the food and beverage menu from SkyGarten.
“It’s ashame the weather isn’t all that great, but this Oktoberfest is just incredible. I was ordering drinks for me and my buddy, and I turned my head and I was like oh, that’s cool, there is a bride and groom. No big deal,” said JP Czernawski.
When asked what makes Philly SkyGarten different from the other Philly beer gardens, Kochman didn’t hesitate to mention the height.
“We’re the highest beer garden in Center City, Philadelphia. 676 feet and no one can claim that and we have the only outdoor space this high up in the city, and we have the best views.”
After meeting Lou Kochman and attending Oktoberfest, you realize that it’s possible to enjoy some German beer 51 floors high up in a wedding dress.