A brief typology

Which is the best beer tent for me?

Oktoberfest: 16 days of celebrations, 6 million visitors, and 14 tents, where the beer – and the sweat – flows freely. Getting in is tough; but once you’re in, the fun never stops. Instead of just tumbling into any old tent, you must address the key question: Is this the right beer tent for me?

Schottenhamel Festzelt

 

The guest

I’m here... to network
I like... constructive conversation, my home town
I drink... three steins of beer, on company expenses
I eat... half a chicken with a knife and fork
I buy... ten shots at the shooting gallery

 

The tent

Customary greeting: In the oldest beer tent on the Wiesen, the mayor of Munich opens the first barrel of beer at noon on the first day of festivities, declaring: “O'zapft is!” (“It’s tapped!”)
Your tablemates: Your neighbouring drinkers know all the ins and outs of daily politics – but also how to celebrate after a hard day’s work
90% of guests wear: Blouse, chinos, sports jacket, a shirt with no tie or a linen shirt, long Lederhosen
The toast: “Oans, zwoa, g’suffa” (“One, two, down the hatch!”)
Song you’re most likely to hear: “Tage wie diese” by Die Toten Hosen
A definite no-no: Spelling Schottenhamel with a double ‘m’ – “hammel” is a German word for the type of idiot who grabs Dirndl-wearing women by the blouse
Alternative venue: Löwenbräu, Winzerer Fähndl

Hacker Festzelt

 

The guest

I am... the first to arrive in the tent. I stay until the bar closes at 10:30 p.m. without taking a single toilet break
I like... partying with my friends
I drink... shandy that I mix myself
I eat... a Kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancakes), shared with my friends

 

The tent

Customary greeting: “Seeervuuus!” (an informal salutation in Bavaria)
Your tablemates: Standing on the benches beneath the ceiling painted with white clouds and golden stars, these patrons sing to “Himmel der Bayern” (“the heavens of Bavaria”)
90% of guests wear: Vintage Dirndls, trainers, wreaths of flowers, Lederhosen without braces, checked shirts, trainers
The toast: “Prost!” (Cheers!)
Song you’re most likely to hear: (All day long) Brass band music. (In the evening) “Angels” by Robbie Williams, played by the house band on the rotating podium
A definite no-no: Jumping from the bench onto the table – the doormen show no mercy
Alternative venue: Schützenzelt, Bräurosl

Hofbräu Festzelt

 

The guest

I come... from Italy or further afield
I like... other countries, other customs, bodily contact
I drink... plenty of cool Bavarian beer
I eat... a giant 250g pretzel
I buy... Wiesen souvenirs
I travel... back to my hotel in a bicycle rickshaw at the end of the night
Written on my gingerbread heart is... I ❤ Oktoberfest

 

The tent

Customary greeting: Throwing bras at the Angel Aloisius figure
Your tablemates: 10,000 party animals
90% of guests wear: A mini Dirndl that they’ve bought online, ballerina flats, T-shirt with a Lederhosen print, a felt hat, flip-flops
The toast: “No ain Mahß Beer, biete” (A tourist’s attempt at “Another litre of beer, please”)
Song you’re most likely to hear: “Skandal um Rosi“ by Spider Murphy Gang: „In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus...“
A definite no-no: Leaving the tent to pee – you’ll never get back in
Alternative venue: None. This tent is unique.

Käfer Wiesn Schänke

 

The guest

I am here... to get a selfie with some FC Bayern players or other celebrities
I like... attention
I drink... no beer
I eat... duck
I travel... by taxi to P1, when the champers runs dry at 1 a.m.
Written on my gingerbread heart is... “Wiesn Prinzessin” or “Mein Prinz” (Wiesen Princess or My Prince)

 

The tent

Customary greeting: Air kiss to the right, air kiss to the left
Your tablemates: They all look vaguely familiar
90% of guests wear: Designer silk Dirndl, black lace blouse, high heels, brand new deerskin Lederhosen, an embroidered velvet waistcoat in royal blue, sunglasses
The toast: “Prösterchen!” (“Chin Chin!”)
Song you’re most likely to hear: “Atemlos” by Helene Fischer
A definite no-no: Laughing loudly – so common
Alternative venue: Marstall, Weinzelt

Augustiner Festhalle

 

The guest

I’m here... to mingle with other true Munichers in their colourful traditional dress
I like... folk dancing, folk festivals, my family
I drink... Augustiner beer from traditional wooden tankards
I eat... a delicious lunch before I head home at 2 p.m.
I buy... there’s nothing you can flog me
I travel... to the fairground to ride the Krinoline carousel and Wilde Maus rollercoaster

 

The tent

Customary greeting: A silent nod
Your tablemates: Fellow drinkers contemplate life, in silent companionship over their beers
90% of guests wear: Traditional dress passed down from their great-great-great (Bavarian) grandparents
The toast: Nodding silently along with the traditional drinking song “Prosit der Gemütlichkeit”
Song you’re most likely to hear: A traditional Bavarian marching song
A definite no-no: Don’t try to get in here wearing any old polyester costume – it’s all or nothing
Alternative venue: Oide Wiesn, Armbrustschützenzelt

Ochsenbraterei

 

The guest

I’m here... because 100 oxen and half a million chickens need polishing off
I like... eating, cooking, cookery shows
I drink... to sharpen my appetite
I eat... anything here, it all tastes good
I buy... roasted almonds, fruit kebabs and Magenbrot cookies for the way home
I travel... nowhere, otherwise I’ll puke
Written on my gingerbread heart is... “There’s none left!”

 

The tent

Customary greeting: “Mahlzeit!” (“Bon Appetit!”)
Your tablemates: Huber, Korbinian or Max will be being served to your companions – the blackboard names which ox is currently being served up
90% of guests wear: A napkin tucked in like a bib – they’re hungry!
The toast: “Mahlzeit!” (“Bon Appetit!”)
Song you’re most likely to hear: “Lebt denn der alte Holzmichl noch” by De Randfichten
A definite no-no: Not leaving enough space for dumplings and vanilla sauce from Café Kaiserschmarrn
Alternative venue: Fischer Vroni

 

 

Text: Nansen & Piccard; Photos: Frank Bauer