Nestled between the old growth cedars of Millersylvania State Park is a log cabin serving local beer, wine and cider. Lakeside Beer Garden, off the shore of Millersylvania’s Deep Lake, is the first of its kind in a Washington state park. Complete with outdoor lounge chairs and a cozy mood-lit interior, the Lakeside Beer Garden calls for an afternoon of kicking back, enjoying a drink and playing a round of cards with friends.
Although Lakeside Grill & Boats and the Lakeside Beer Garden have been a staple of Millersylvania for the past few years, John and Abigail Smith took ownership of the businesses at the beginning of April, after the previous owners moved out of state.
The possibility of owning these Millersylvania establishments reach back to when John and Abigail’s children had their first summer job at Lakeside Grill & Boats. “My kids worked down here for four years,” explains John. “So, we kind of got familiar with that and got to know the owners a little bit. It was such a cool, phenomenal first job for them and we love the park. It did seem like a good opportunity to do something new that the park was trying out and add a little bit of our own flair.”
At Lakeside Grill & Boats, park goers can get a snack after swimming or rent a pedal boat, paddleboard, kayak or canoe for use on the lake. The concession stand has a variety of summer snacks available including nachos, hot dogs, slushies and ice cream. In her third summer at the stand, employee Makayla, says her favorite part of working at Lakeside Grill & Boats is being a part of the nature and the views of Deep Lake as she greets visitors, and also powering up the stand’s newest installment, a cotton candy machine. “For me, this was my first ever job and I had never worked with food before,” she shares. “I had never done anything of this sort. I think the one thing I fell love with was just the view. It’s beautiful. Even on rainy days.”
At Lakeside Beer Garden, a myriad of beverages sourced from the Pacific Northwest are waiting to quench your thirst. A hazy IPA, Jumbo Juice by Airways Brewing originates from Kent. Also on tap is a range of drinks from Icicle Brewing Company based out of Leavenworth. Perhaps the most popular selection amongst park visitors, selling out a keg every weekend at the beer garden, is the Lemon Basil Cider from One Tree Hard Cider from Spokane. “All people do is have to taste it and that’s what they want,” shares Abigail.
“Abi calls it summer water,” adds John.
As the owner, the most surprising aspect of operating the business is the visitor reaction to a beer garden tucked into the park’s wooded path. Located in a state park, Lakeside Beer Garden is the first of its kind in Washington and a unique experience. “The clientele we have, they are people that are walking their dogs and camping and so it’s a little bit different than going out on a Saturday night,” explains Abigail. “It’s a little benefit to see in the middle of the woods, here’s this little pub and they can sit down and have a drink and then continue their walk.”
With over eight miles of walking trails, a day exploring Millersylvania can be complimented by a stop at the beer garden. “It’s relaxing, like stepping into another world,” explains Abigail. “We actually had a lady, she used to live in Germany, and she said that the beer garden is like you’re in the woods in Germany and all of a sudden, there’s this little pub. She said it totally reminded her of that kind of thing.”
While at Lakeside Beer Garden, John has had the chance to meet many different visitors who pass through the pub for a drink. Between park events, campers and hikers, people from around the world have made a stop. “There were some people here who are French and somebody from the Ukraine,” says John. “Some people are down from Canada, so it’s been cool to meet new people. And they’re all in wonder. People are very supportive and very excited that this is here.”
No matter what brings people to the park, John and Abigail are learning that the Lakeside Beer Garden is a gathering place for friends and family to bond and spend quality time. “It’s a great place where people can come inside and play cards,” explains John. “A brother-in-law was teaching his brother-in-law how to play Texas Hold’em. So, it’s kind of cool. There was a wedding held over here a couple weeks ago, so the wedding party came over and hung out for a little bit. It’s just fun to partner with the parks and meet cool people.”
To learn more about the concession stand, the beer garden and for more information about what’s on tap, visit the Lakeside Beer Garden website.