While most people head, not unreasonably, to the Hofbrauhaus, this provides a typically local experience smack bang in the city centre. Not to be confused with the Augustiner-Bräustuben or the Augustinerkeller (who sell the same beers), it manages to be both enormous and cosy and has traced its beery origins back to 1328. In the style of Munich's Art Nouveau period, it's a vast sprawling beer hall (including the gorgeous domed Mussel Hall) that stretches way back to a gorgeous courtyard - the Arcade Garden - that's particularly pleasant in summer. Service is ultra efficient and the beer is - appropriately enough for a pub linked to an abbey - heavenly.
Neuhauserstrasse 27, 80331 Munich
+49 89 23 183 257
Google map: bit.ly/QuzsTY
All S-Bahn lines to Karlsplatz/Stachus or Marienplatz
Underground: U4 + U5 to Stachus/Karlsplatz and U3 + U6 to Marienplatz.
Yes, it's a tourist trap and every guide book recommends a visit, but the Hofbrauhaus in Munich's old district is wonderful. It is indeed unmissable because the atmosphere is great and the beer is even better. It has room for hundreds of people in a vast set of chambers originally built in 1896. The food is good and served promptly but bear in mind that the beer, Hofbrau naturally, comes in quantities of a litre or more - there are no half measures!
One's fellow drinkers are good humoured, ready to talk and have a good time, and there's even a traditional Bavarian 'oompah' band which strikes up every five minutes or so, but curiously fails to play a complete set. Perhaps the players need regular topping-up with Hofbrau and that interrupts their performance.
Oktoberfest is the single greatest display of drinking the world has ever seen. Over 16 days, 6 million people drink over 6 million litres of beer. What a party!
To help you get the most out of your experience, we've assembled a list of 5 inside tips to help you get the most out of your trip to Oktoberfest.
Why should you listen to us? We lived and worked in Germany for years, and have attended the festival many times. When it comes to Oktoberfest, we are experts.
Tip #1) Know what you're drinking
The following are the types of beers you'll find at Oktoberfest:
- Märzen / Oktoberfest: This beer is brewed solely for Oktoberfest and is the most common brew sold there.
- Bavarian Lager/Helles: If you walk into any traditional beer hall in Munich and simply order a beer, this is what you’ll get.
- Hefeweizen / Weißbier: The state of Bavaria is famous for this refreshing wheat beer. This beer is unfiltered, hence its cloudy appearance.
- Dunkelweizen: Same concept as the Hefeweizen, only brewed with the addition of some darker grains.
- Dunkel: Means “dark” in German. If you take a Helles and brew it with darker Munich malts, this is the result.
- Pilsner: Referred to as Pils in Germany, this style of beer originated in the former Czechoslovakia.
- Radler: A combination of Pilsner beer mixed with lemonade or lemon-lime soda.
Tip #2) Know what you're eating
The following are the types of food you'll find at Oktoberfest:
- Bratwurst:What you’ll find at the festival is usually a short and fat variety, or the long skinny version called the Thüringer. Whichever you get, it is traditionally served on a roll called a Brötchen with mustard.
- Rindswurst: Not as common as bratwurst, this sausage is made primarily from beef and most often served with ketchup rather than mustard.
- Hänchen / Hühner: Rotisserie chicken sold by the quarter, half, or whole.
- Shweinehaxen: Pig’s knuckle roasted and/or grilled, and often served with some form of potato and sauerkraut.
- Knödelei: Traditional Bavarian dumplings.
- Schnitzel: The classic Vienna style (Wiener) is made from a fried veal cutlet.
- Sauerkraut: Fermented cabbage that comes in many varieties and colors.
- Spätzle/ Knöpfle: Egg noodle pasta that usually accompanies entrées and is often topped with gravy.
Tip #3) Tip your waitress!
You get great service at Oktoberfest the same way you do anywhere – by tipping well. 10% is a pretty standard and even healthy tip in Europe. With beers costing just under 9 EUR each, giving the waitress 10 EUR and telling her Stimmt so (shtimpt-so) is just fine.
Tip #4) Leave the bags and wallet at home
A beer-soaked Oktoberfest table is no place to set a $500 designer bag. Sure they’re cute and really match your outfit, but ladies, leave the nice bags and purses at home. There’s just too likely a chance they’ll be ruined or stolen amongst the drunken masses. Take a purse small enough that you can keep it in your lap or over your shoulder without getting in the way.
Guys, invest in a money clip or small wallet that can fit into your front pocket. Bring only what you need - cash, emergency credit card, and directions back to your hotel. This deters pickpockets, and also minimizes the damage if your drunk ass loses it.
Tip #5) Visit the ATM/Money Machine before you get to the festival
They only take cash inside of the tents! While there are ATMs at the festival, they charge exorbitant fees and often have a huge line of people waiting to use them. Be smart and get your cash before you arrive at the festival, and carry an emergency credit card just in case.
Following these 5 inside tips will help you make the most of your Oktoberfest trip.
Brewery in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, owned by the state government. The Hof (court) comes from the brewery's history as a royal brewery in the Kingdom of Bavaria.
Munich is a mecca for beer-drinkers, at least for lager or Weiss (wheat) beer fans. Some of Germany's most famous breweries are based here: Hofbraeu (most notably in the Hofbraeuhaus, but try the Hofbraeukeller too if you get the chance), Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Spaten and Loewenbraeu - most famous of all, and thought by many, including me, to be the least good.
But the locals don't drink any of those, they drink Augustiner. Either Helles (the Munich word for standard lager) or even better, Edelstoff.
Augustiner has also looked after its breweries and pubs, they are all worth a visit. The Bierhalle has its own tip here, but the Augustinerkeller near the station is recommended, the brewery itself on the opposite side of the tracks, and any pub at all displaying the blue and white Augustiner sign.
Excellent beer (first brewed at the monastery in 1455) and traditional Bavarian food in magnificent surroundings. You can even roam around the local countryside (including the nearby Amersee lake) to work off the extra calories.
A short trip on the S5 train south from Munich to Herrsching and then a walk (or bus/taxi) up to the monastery.
It's a beautiful pub with friendly service. It serves Bitburger, does a brilliant plate of Eisbein (pig's trotters) and, on the occasions I went, wasn't used by too many tourists. One thing worth remembering is that if 1860 Munich are at home, the place is packed and can be a bit unnerving. That's the only downside though
Just off Marienplaz in the city centre.
Huge, rightly famous, beer hall. People packed together on benches at tressle tables to drink excellent beer in vast quantities, served and kept in order by formidable, efficient hospital matron style waitresses.
Hofbräuhaus am Platzl
Platzl 9 (behind Marienplatz);
tel: 089 290136 10;
Two things recommend Freising, both beer related:
One, a beer garden called Plantage which is in the forest behind Freising. It is just really lovely with great food and plenty of opportunity to get lost on the way back to the train, when one has sampled too much of the beer.
Two, the oldest continually operating brewery in the world, Weihenstephan. Apparently there was once a quarrel between the Brewer (a monk) and the Bishop (there is a cathedral here too) about the bishop taxing the beer. The beer is still there and these days is part of the University of Munich in Weihenstephan(Freising) where one can study to be a master brewer. About as traditional an atmosphere as it gets but much more laid back than the Hofbrauhaus in Munich.
Feising is the last station on the S1 north of Munich.
Meander through this peaceful public park with its huge green spaces and shady trees to a fabulous beer garden where you can choose food and beverages from different booths: sausages, fish and chips and beers or if in recovery mode, tea and huge sugary doughnuts.
U-Bahn lines 3 and 6, alighting at Universitat or Giselastrabe
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