While there are many reasons to go to the Beach Chalet, first and foremost is location. The Beach Chalet overlooks the Pacific Ocean along the Great Highway on the western edge of Golden Gate Park. It’s located right next to the Dutch Windmill, built in 1902, and Queen Wilhelmina’s Tulip Garden. If you can choose when to visit the Beach Chalet, go in March or April, when thousands of tulips and Icelandic poppies are in flower.
The Golden Gate Park Visitors Center, a Spanish Revival building constructed in 1925, had been empty and falling into ruin for seventeen years before Gar and Lara Truppelli took over the space, completely renovating it in 1996. Downstairs, it was restored to its former glory, including more than 2,000 square feet of murals created by Lucien Labaudt in the mid-1930s. Labaudt was a French artist who relocated to San Francisco in 1906 and founded the California School of Design. During the Great Depression, FDR’s administration funded a number of large-scale art projects in an effort to stimulate the economy through the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The Beach Chalet murals were the last of the great WPA projects.
Come to the Beach Chalet for the history, and stay for the beer and food. Take the stairs to the second floor and you’ll find the brewpub, with spectacular views of the ocean across the street. The extensive menu consists of American fare and includes a wide selection of appetizers, making it a great place to just sit, drink, and nibble.
Brewer Aron Deorsey makes a wide selection of beers right behind the bar. He always has a few beers available year-round that you can count on, but brews a dizzying number of seasonals and one-offs, just because he can. You never know what exciting discovery you might find whenever you stop by for a beer. He’s been the Beach Chalet’s brewer for years and knows that system like the back of his hand.
Deorsey also makes the beer exclusively for several other restaurants owned by the Truppellis. Right next door, or technically behind the Beach Chalet, sits the Park Chalet. Surrounded by the park, it features an open-air dining area, an outdoor patio, and lawn seating, with a smaller menu that includes lots of small-plate dishes and pizza. You can find all of the Beach Chalet beers here, too, along with a few that Deorsey brews just for the Park Chalet.
Across the Bay in Oakland, the Truppellis opened the Lake Chalet in 2009. This seafood bar and grill is located on Lake Merritt, Oakland’s recreational lake, in a former pumping station building originally constructed in 1909. For the Oakland restaurant, Deorsey has created several house beers, such as Lake Merritt IPA, Regatta Red, and Lady of the Lake, which he describes as a “crisp domestic style ale with just a hint of hops sneaking in at the end.” Also in the East Bay, Deorsey brews beer for the Honor Kitchen and Cocktails on Powell Street in Emeryville. So to try all of the Beach Chalet beers, you’ll actually need to go to four different places. Happily, they’re all good restaurants with their own unique beers, making the quest a worthwhile one.
Whether you are a Big Kahuna or a grommet, a short or long boarder, a regular or goofy foot or simply a soul who appreciates our beautiful park and ocean… Join us where the surf meets the turf!