Sep 10, 2013

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The Oktoberfest beer tents

The Oktoberfest beer tents

Even if you’ve never been to the Oktoberfest before, you’ve probably heard of the Oktoberfest beer tents. After all, they’re not just optional features: if you want a drink at the Oktoberfest, you’ll need to find one because there is no beer served anywhere else on the Wiesn; and even if you can get food next to the fairground rides or at kiosks and stands, the best bites are to be had in the tents, too.

There are three categories of tent – and note that we write “tent”, because not all of them are beer tents! In fact, the first category is coffee-and-cake tents, often more aimed at families or less party-orientated Fest-goers – but nonetheless great for a filling, starchy breakfast or a break from the beery-madness. In one of them, Café Kaiserschmarrn, they even cut a new wedding cake every day to remember the reason why the first Oktoberfest was actually held.

Category number two are the smaller beer tents, most of which could actually be better described as food tents since they tend to specialise in one form of Oktoberfest food such as roast chicken, roast duck, or sausages; the most famous is Hendl- und Entenbraterei Heimer. A couple like Wirtshaus im Schichtl also offer special entertainment in cabaret style, but you’ll need great German to really get the best out of that.

What most of us are really interested in, of course, are the fourteen large-scale beer tents. Well, one is in fact a wine tent (Knufflers Weinzelt), but the other thirteen are where you can really experience that unique Oktoberfest atmosphere.

And here they are: Hippodrom, Armbrustschützen, Hofbräu, Hacker, Schottenhamel, Winzerer Fähndl, Schützen, Käfer’s Wies’n, Löwenbräu, Bräurosl, Augustiner, Ochsenbraterei, Fischer-Vroni.

The last two, Ochsenbraterei and Fischer-Vroni, are also food specialists – oxen and fish, as the names suggest; the real party tents – “Festzelte” – meanwhile, are Hacker, Hofbräu, Löwnbräu, and Schottenhamel.

But wherever you end up: after a couple of litres of beer, you’ll be convinced that it was the best tent ever!

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