Reservations for beer tents have to be placed well in advance. They are made through the individual beer tents and the cost varies by tent and day. Most of the large tents will be sold out months in advance. Not a great option for most tourists as you probably won’t be planning this far ahead. But you can still get into a tent without a reservation. You just have to line up early. Tents stop allowing guests when they are full. Nearly impossible to get a seat on weekends without a reservation. The tents will often be full by 9-11 AM. Go on the weekdays, where you will be more likely to get into the tents into the afternoon. Or arrive early (before 8 AM) and make a run for an unreserved table asthe ones without the paper) soon as people are allowed in. Remember that tents close during the day as well – you don’t want to leave for a minute only to not be allowed back to your party. October 3rd is a bank holiday in Germany – so treat it like a weekend even if it falls midweek. It can also make the afternoon/evening the day before much busier.
Enjoy Oktoberfest in Munich
For those planning a trip to Munich who didn’t grab an early reservation, try to get one at some of the smaller, lesser known tents that have sprung up. They often have reservations available later than the big 14.
You have to have a seat to get an oktoberfest beer. Except at Hofbrau. Outside of the beer tents, you can also find beer stands that sell half liters of wheat beer.
Waitresses will take your order. Don’t say something silly like “I’ll have a Miller Lite.” You’ll be drinking the beer from Munich. You’ll get a Mass of beer (only tourists call them steins).
The beer is probably stronger than you are used to so be careful not to end up passed out!
You aren’t allowed to bring in your own food or beverages into the tent. They might not enforce the rule if you are caught with an insignificant item, but you certainly can’t pack a feast to save some euros.
Many tables have reserved signs indicating the reservation time. You can usually sit there if it is well before the reservation time. All tents also have a section of unreserved tables.
It’s difficult to find an unreserved empty table. Just choose a table with some free space, ask people if they are free, and sit down.
As long as you keep drinking/eating at an unreserved table, you can stay!
Sometimes possible to find a seat at the tent’s patio when it is full. Tents sometimes open up later in the day/evening after early drinkers leave.
WHEN TO VISIT WITHOUT RESERVATIONS
So you didn’t plan your vacation early enough to get reservations in the tent that you want. You can still have a great time at Oktoberfest as long as you are smart. If you have a choice of days to visit the Wies’n, perhaps
The busiest day of the week at Oktoberfest is usually Saturday. Friday and Sunday are the next busiest days. Since October 3rd is a holiday, October 2nd and 3rd are also usually pretty busy. Monday through Thursday are the least busy.
If it is cold or raining, then the number of available seats decreases because everyone is competing for indoor seating as outdoor seating is unavailable. This will make it tough to get a seat even on the weekdays unless you are there early.
Depends on how much you eat/drink.
Figure about 100 euros a day for 5 steins and food.
We saw someone put the figure at about 40 euros for an evening at oktoberfest of two beers, some food and public transportation.
Pre-drink to save money.
Beer Serving Hours:
Peolple will start lining up well ahead of these times. On the first day and weekends, that can be as early as 7 AM.
Weekdays: 10 AM – 10:30 PM
Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays: 9 AM – 10:30 PM
Tents Close at 11:30 PM.
Kafer Wiesn-Schanke and the Weinzelt serve alcohol until 12:15 AM and are open until 1 AM.
Beer is served in 1 litre glass mugs for around 9 euros. 10 euros is the standard for beer and tip to the waitress.
Lift your glass, clink, look neighbor in eye and say prost.
Don’t take the mugs.
Radler (half-beer, half-lemonade)
water (it’s 7 euros!)
wine (wine tent)
Smoking has been prohibited inside beer tents in 2010 and 2011. Enforcement is expected to get stronger the longer the ban is in place. About 75 percent of the beer tents have a smoking section so that smokers don’t lose their seat to smoke once the tent has been closed because of capacity.
The tents have employees selling souvenirs.
There are 14 large beer tents to choose from on the grounds of the Weis’n. We have put together a short description of each to help you plan your drinking and learn more about the Oktoberfest tents which have made the celebration famous.
Each one has its own reservation system, but since reservations fill up well in advance, tourists who attend Oktoberfest on shorter notice must rely on securing one of the unreserved seats that are first come, first serve. Each tent serves beer from one of the Munich breweries. The Weinzelt is the only one that does not serve Oktoberfest beer – it serves wheat beer along with the wine that has made the tent popular.
Schottenhamel – This is the tent where the opening ceremony is held that kicks off the festival with the tapping of the first keg by the mayor. It started off as a barn/shack/booth in 1867 with 50 seats and now has about 10,000. Rather than the straight benches of other tents, the tables are smaller and seats extend around the table. Spaten is served inside Schottenhamel. The Spaten-Franziskaner brewery, which traces its origins back to 1363, is the oldest brewery in Munich. The tent is favored by Munich’s younger crowd. A portion of the tent is reserved for the studentenverbindung, which could be compared to an umbrella organization for fraternities in the United States.
Augustiner-Festhalle – This is considered the friendliest tent at Oktoberfest even though it has only been a tent for sixteen years. I have also seen it referred to as the best for Bavarian authenticity. It is also one of the most family friendly (before 8 pm). Tuesdays are “kid’s days” with lower prices. Augustiner beer, which was brewed by the Augustinian Brotherhood since 1328 until a company was formed for the brew and sale of the beer in 1803, is served. Its Oktoberfestbier is the only beer dispensed from traditional 200 litre wooden barrels called stags. Seating capacity is about 8500. The crowd is mostly Munich locals.
Fischer Vroni – The place to enjoy grilled fish on a stick. Famous for its smoked mackerel, the tent was started by a Munich fish merchant in 1948. It is one of the smaller tents (seats ~ 3000) frequented by locals. Its cuisine can be purchased outside the tent if you wish to sample the steckerlfisch.
Ochsenbraterei – The Ochsenbraterei tent offers an amazing variety of ox dishes. It started in 1881 with the roasting of an ox on a special roasting machine by butcher Johan Rossler. It is another family friendly tent. It seats about 7500 and serves Spaten beer.
Kafer Wies’n-Schanke – A small (3000 seats total) upscale tent since 1971 with finer cuisine and Paulaner beer. It is decorated to resemble a bavarian inn and run by Michael Kafer, whose family runs a famous delicatessen/grocery store. In other words, no beer benches. It is open later than other tents. This is the tent for foodies and celebrities.
Hacker – Also known as the “Heaven of the Bavarians.” It is one of the largest tents, 9300 seats between the interior and beer garden, and it has one of the most impressive interiors. 13,000 square feet of scenery is painted on the tent ceiling. The tent serves Hacker-Pschorr, which was started in 1417. It is a must see tent popular with both tourists and locals. One guide says that Hacker is one of the tents where the festivities can get the rowdiest.
Lowenbrau – This tent is known for its hospitality and atmosphere! As well as the tower which makes it easily identifiable at Oktoberfest and the lion which roars. The symbol of Lowenbrau is a lion, as lowenbrau translates to “lion’s brew.” Lowenbrau beer has been served at every Oktoberfest since 1810. It is popular with tourists and locals, seating 8500 total. The interior resembles the interior of a keg. Lowenbrau is now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Armbrustschützenzelt – Don’t miss the crossbow competition held between marksmen in this tent. The tent, which was started in 1895 to hold a competition among crossbowmen, serves Paulaner beer and seats about 7400 total.
Weinzelt – Indulge in a different sort here in the wine tent, which also serves Paulaner wheat beer. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful tents, seating about 2000. This gives it a refined and cozy atmosphere to enjoy a glass of wine or champagne.
Winzerer Fähndl – Enjoy a Paulaner in the tent with its huge beer stein atop it. There are nearly 11,000 seats total. It is one of the better tents to spot a celebrity.
The wildly popular party tent Hippodrom has been banned from the 2014 Oktoberfest. Seems the owners ran afoul of German tax laws. The replacement tent is called the Marstall which has a horse racing theme. It is all new and seats 3200 inside and 1000 outside. Hippodrom – One of the smaller tents, it has been around for 110 years (started in 1902). Hippodrom means “an arena for equestrian performances,” and up until 1987 one could see and ride horses inside the tent. It is a popular place for younger singles to flirt and spot celebrities. Spaten-Franziskaner is served. And there’s also a beautiful champagne bar. There’s a total of 4200 seats.
Braurosl – This tent, named for the daughter of its prior owner, Herr Pschorr, was started over 100 years ago. It has been managed by the Heide family since 1936. A yodeler in the tent ensures the Oktoberfest atmosphere. Hacker-Pschorr beer is served here to the nearly 9000 total seats. Back in 1913, this was the largest tent, holding over 12,000 inside (it currently holds 6400 seats inside).
Schutzen-Festzelt – This tent was made world famous by its authentic Bavarian sucking pig. The atmosphere is a bit more subdued than some of the larger tents. It is a bit off the main drag, near the Bavaria Statue, and has a more local, older crowd because tourists frequently miss it. The tent was renovated in 2004 and seats nearly 5500 total.
Hofbrau – It is considered the largest tent at Oktoberfest with 10,500 seats and has a reputation for attracting partiers and tourists. It is the only beer tent that will serve you a beer without being seated. It has been run by the Steinberg family since 1980.
There are now a number of smaller tents on the festival grounds as well, serving everything from specialty cuisine to beer. Here is a list of them:
Able’s Kalbs-Kuchl – Resembling a large Bavarian hut, the Kalbs-Kuchl translates as “calf kitchen” and looks a lot like a large Bavarian hut.
Ammer Hühner & Entenbraterei – Home of the world’s first chicken roaster! Joseph Ammer established this tent in 1885 to sell to Oktoberfest visitors.
Bodo’s Cafezelt – For an escape from all the beer hullabaloo, visit Bodo’s for unusual cocktails, Prosecco, champagne, donuts, ice cream, pastry, and every type of strudel you can imagine.
Burtscher’s Bratwursthütt´n – With the distinction of being the smallest tent of the Oktoberfest, a visit here makes a relaxing change from the larger tents.
Café Kaiserschmarrn – This beautiful tent holds a daily tribute of the wedding of Ludwig I and Therese of Saxony – the event that started the first Oktoberfest.
Café Mohrenkopf – You will find pie and cake at this classic tent that has been here since 1950.
Feisingers Ka’s und Weinstubn – Everything cheese is what this tent is all about!
Glöckle Wirt – Adorned with oil paintings, antique apparatuses and cooking utensils, you will find an authentic Oktoberfest experience here.
Heimer Hendl- und Entenbraterei – Family-friendly, this tent is a favorite of the locals where authentic Oktoberfest traditions are still followed.
Heinz Wurst- Und Hühnerbraterei – Heinz Sausage and Chicken Grill has been serving traditional Oktoberfest foods since 1906.
Hochreiters Haxnbraterei – It’s all about the barbecue here! Classic pork knuckles is the specialty here at the only haxenbraterei at Oktoberfest.
Münchner Knödelei – Dumplings are a traditional Bavarian food. “Preserving and spreading the dumpling culture” is the maxim here.
Poschners Hühner- Und Entenbraterei – Famed roasted chicken and duck is the tradition here.
Schiebl’s Kaffeehaferl – This coffee house tent is a family friendly place to rest from the festivities.
Wiesn Guglhupf Café-Dreh-Bar – At this rotating carousel tent you will find traditional Guglhupf (German Bundt cake) as well an assortment of other cakes and other pastries.
Wildmoser Hühnerbraterei – Munich locals frequent this tent that has only been in existence since 1981. Owned by the Wildmoser family.
Wildstuben – This is the newest tent at Oktoberfest. Decorated in a hunting lodge motif, visitors will appreciate the intricate woodwork.
Wirtshaus im Schichtl – Since 1869, Wirtshaus im Schichtl has been a mainstay of Oktoberfest, this tent has a carnival atmosphere replete with daily public executions by guillotine, frequent appearances from the world’s fattest woman, and showings of the butterfly dance.
Zum Stiftl – Zum Stiftl is famous for its delicious duck and roasted chicken dishes and inviting atmosphere.
Zur Bratwurst – A very new tent, Zur Bratwurst opened in 2007. Traditional bratwurst, a Bavarian favorite, is the specialty here, of course.
Oktoberfest for Ladies