Paris has pavement cafes, London has pubs and Barcelona has tapas bars, but for beer lovers, Munich is the place to go for beer halls and beer gardens. That is not to say that beer is Munich’s only attraction. Far from it. There is much to see in this elegant southern German town but it’s beer for which Munich is really famous. But where to get a beer in Munich? Where is the best beer in Munich? Should you only go during Oktoberfest? Hopefully this beer drinker guide to Munich helps!
Quick Look at the Contents
Where to Get a Beer in Munich?
The Munich Oktoberfest is a massive celebration of beer brewing, but for some it can be an over-the-top festival, with too many tourists, too much noise and far too much booze. The Oktoberfest dates from 1810 and since then it has become almost a place of pilgrimage for serious beer drinkers and a high octane venue for revelers. Despite its name, Oktoberfest actually takes place in September. Getting a place in a tent can be difficult, but you can find tickets here–> Munich Oktoberfest Tickets and Tour.
Beer Halls and Beer Gardens in Munich
For those who prefer to enjoy a few steins of beer in quieter months, there is no lack of venues in which to enjoy Munich’s traditional drink. In summer the beer gardens of Munich are a true taste of Bavaria, but in the autumn and winter tourists can still sample the same wide range of beers but in massive, celler-like beer halls that are warm in both temperature and ambiance .
Munich Beer Halls
Top of the beer halls has to be the Hofbräuhaus. It is also one of the oldest breweries in the world, dating from 1598. The Hofbräuhaus is situated close to the Marienplatz, and it is huge – up to 5,000 people can be served here and believe it or not, it can be difficult to find an empty table during the tourist season. The beer is sold by the litre or Maß, the food is hearty ( pork knuckle with potato dumplings for example), the staff wear tradtional Bavarian costumes and an oompah band plays boisterous Bavarian folk songs.
If you like to converse with your companions over a quiet drink or avoid other tourists, the Hofbräuhaus may not be for you, but it certainly has plenty of atmosphere and energy.
Augustiner Keller, Munich
The Augustiner Keller, situated on the Arnulfstrasse is another LARGE Beer Hall, and an open air Beer Garden. Just as large as the Hofbräuhaus inside, and reputed to be the largest city beer garden in the world, the Augustiner Keller first appeared on the Munich city map in 1812, and was given permission ot serve food in 1842. By 1996, both the Hall and the Beergarten were in operation. The tables are arranged under shady chestnut trees and despite its size the Augustiner Keller has a spacious, relaxing atmosphere and is an excellent example of a traditional Bavarian beer garden.
The beer served here is pretty good too – it’s the brewers’ own beer, Augustiner , and it comes straight from freshly tapped wooden barrels. It’s a light beer which is low in carbon dioxide and the perfect drink for a hot day. The Augustiner Keller also serves great food, and some of the best pretzels in Munich.
Fair warning, the beergarten can be very crowded in the summer, but there is no better place to be on a warm Munich evening, with a stein of Edelstoff and a basket of salty, soft and crunchy pretzels.
Best Beer Gardens Munich
You can find a few Beergartens in the Englischer Garten at the centre of the old city. Called the ‘English’ Garden because of its informal landscape and Capability Brown (an English Landscape designer) style layout, the gardens cover 3.7sq.kms and provide a relaxing green space for Munich citizens and tourists. Among the many attractions are a Japanese garden and Tea House; an 86,000 sq metre lake – the Kleinhesseloher See, and the Schönfeld Meadow, a popular nudist area.
The Seehaus in the English Garden
The Seehaus is a 2500 seat Biergarten on the Kleinhesseloher See, an artificial lake in the middle of the English Garden. Popular with young people, as well as the older generation and tourists, the Seehause is the perfect stopping place on a walk through the garden. The beer and traditional Bavarian foods can be purchased from self-service from stands around the tables. Fair warning, the Paulaner beer served at this garden is a bit pricier than in other Beergartens…. you pay for the view.
Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) Beer Garden Munich
An even more popular Englischer Garten attraction is the Chinese Tower (Chinesischer Turm) beer garden. The tower is actually a pagoda and was built in 1789, and extensively restored after being damaged by Allied fire bombs in WW2. It is a 25 metre high, 5 storey wooden structure overlooking the beautiful gardens. The Chinese Tower beer garden can accommodate up to 7,000 beer drinkers on a mid- summer evening. It is a big tourist attraction and also a favorite meeting place for students from the university which is located close to the gardens. Brass bands play traditional Bavarian folk music at weekends, as the customers sit beneath the chestnut trees enjoying the Lowenbrau beer.
The Chinese Garden is the second largest Biergarten in Munich, seating with 7000 seats in the self-service area and another 500 in the full service area. Traditional food stalls serve Steckerlfisch and Schweinshaxn, as well as Obatzda. And there is WiFi!
Outside the Englischer Garten… The Kugler Alm Beergarten
For a change of scene and pace, the Kugler Alm beer garden is a pleasant cycle ride out of Munich in the southern suburb of Deisenhofen, on the edge of the Perlacher Forest. It is (according to Münchners) the birthplace of the refreshing beer and lemonade drink known to the patrons of the Kugler Alm as a ‘radler’ (much like an English Shandy). Apparently in 1922 the then owner, Franz Kugler, was confronted by several hundred cyclists and a temporary beer shortage. Rather than turn away custom, Herr Kugler diluted the beer with lemonade, and called it a Radler or bicycler’s beer. From then on Radler became a popular drink throughout Europe. (And it’s one of my favorite drinks!)
The Kugler Alm has parking for 400 cycles in addition to the car parking, and seating for 3,000+ customers in either self- service or waitress – served areas. An in- house specialty is roasted suckling pig, but there are also plenty of fast-food stalls selling good quality Bavarian snacks. The best drinks are Radler (of course), Spaten Hell lager or a Masskrug of Franziskaner – Munich’s famous wheat beer. A masskrug is a one- litre beer glass, and those in the know simply order a ‘mass’ of whatever beer they want.
There is a big screen for sporting events in the Kugler Alm as well as a newly opened play area for children, so there is plenty of entertainment for young and old.
Be they beer gardens or beer halls, most venues offer traditional Bavarian food such as roast pork, hearty beef stews, Munich’s own special wieswurst – a veal and pork sausage eaten with lashings of sweet mustard – or sliced leberkaese ( a type of sausagemeat loaf ) topped with a fried egg. Perfect food to accompany the beer.
And if you want to bring your own, you can. Just make up some of your favorite dishes, and bring them along!
Why Visit Munich? To See a Beautiful City while Enjoying the Beer
Munich is a beautiful city, but for beer lovers the beer halls and gardens are the main attraction, which some would say is a pity, but it is a genuine delight to be able to enjoy an evening at a beer garden after a hard day’s sightseeing. Munich really offers the tourist the very best of both worlds.
Beer Tours Munich
There are many different Beer Tours in Munich… and they are all a great way to see and experience the beer and the city.
7 Day Tour
7-Day Beer and Breweries Tour by Bike and Train from Salzburg to Munich
Hop on and Off Tour
Munich Super Saver: Brewery and Beer Tour plus Express Hop-On Hop-Off Tour – $45.21
Private Tour with Beer and Food
Private Tour: Bavarian Beer and Food Evening in Munich – $47.43
Behind the Scenes Brewery and Beer Tour
Behind-the-Scenes Brewery and Beer Tour in Munich
Beer and Brewery Tour with SAMPLES
Munich Beer and Brewery Tour Including Samples
Private Walking Tour
Private Munich Walking Tour: City of Beer
Guided Oktobefest Tour and place in the Tent!
Guided Oktoberfest Tour and Evening at the Hofbräu Tent Including Beer and Oktoberfest Museum Tour
Private Full Day Tour
Private Full-Day Munich History and Beer Culture Walking Tour Including Munich Old Town, Hofbraeuhaus or Beer & Oktoberfest Museum Visit and Weisswurst Breakfast
More About Munich’s Beer Halls and Beer Gardens
Find your way around Munich’s Beer Gardens and Beer Halls… and learn a bit more history… with these great guides.
Easy Related Posts
What is Federweisser? All you Need to Know About this VERY Young Wine
When people think about traveling to Germany in the Fall, they often think Oktoberfest. BUT, ...read more
Things to See in Frankfurt Germany- It's more than just an Airport!
Frankfurt has the somewhat unfair reputation of being a dull, rather stuffy city, there are ...read more
Gifts for a German Host Family- American Gifts Germans Enjoy Getting
I think the question I get most often is one that many of us have ...read more
Things to See in Trier Germany- Trier Roman Ruins and MORE
A few years ago I had the chance to spend a week in the Mosel ...read more