Munich is well-known for its beautiful beer gardens. While in other cities people sit at pavement cafes, when the sun comes out in Munich you'll find the locals in a beer garden enjoying a Mass of beer and a bite to eat. We know the best places to go.
The beer garden in the Hirschgarten (park) is proof that even with 8,000 seats, a place can be cosy. The park in Munich's west dates back to 1780 – nobility used to hunt here before that, and it then became a destination and a local recreation area. The Hirschgarten is today just as popular with the locals as it is with tourists. In addition to Bavaria's largest beer garden, visitors to the Hirschgarten will find all manner of play areas, meadow areas and even deer – albeit not running free but in the game reserve.
Königlicher Hirschgarten München, Hirschgarten 1
We also recommend: Wirtshaus am Bavariapark
Up to the late 1980s, Hofbräu beer was still brewed in Haidhausen. While production has now moved to a different quarter, the welcoming inn and popular beer garden on the Wiener Platz (square) remain. Inside the inn, it's a lot cosier than in the Hofbräuhaus (beer hall) – so there's a little secret tip for tourists. The beer garden is especially popular in high summer because the many chestnut trees afford plenty of shade on hot days. Parents love it too thanks to the large play area.
Hofbräukeller at the Wiener Platz, Innere Wiener Strasse 19
We also recommend: Taxisgarten
The Englischer Garten (park) has a few fine beer gardens to offer, but the most popular of them all is the one at the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower). The tower was constructed in around 1790 in the style of an Asian pagoda; it was sadly destroyed in the Second world War, but subsequently rebuilt. Today, it is the emblem of the English Garden and home to traditional Kocherlball (folk dance event).
Beer garden at the Chinesischer Turm, Englischer Garten 3
We also recommend: Seehaus
The beer garden at the Viktualienmarkt is not only the city's most central – being right at the heart of Munich's food market – it's also the only one that doesn't belong to a particular brewery. So the city's six large breweries take turns to serve their beer here. Sometimes it's Hofbräu, sometimes Augustiner, and sometimes Löwenbräu. Although the beer garden is so centrally located and popular with tourists, plenty of Munich locals call in after work for a Mass of beer and a bite to eat.
Beer garden at the Viktualienmarkt, Viktualienmarkt 9
We also recommend: Beer garden at the Nockherberg
The Isar river also has some beautiful beer gardens to offer, and the cosiest of them all is the Zum Flaucher beer garden. It sits a little off the beaten track in the green floodplains. It's best to come by bike, or combine your visit with a walk beside the Isar. If travelling by public transport, get off at the Thalkirchen or Brudermühlstrasse U-Bahn (underground train) stop. The Zum Flaucher beer garden also has a small stage where young musicians perform when the weather's good, generally on Tuesdays.
Zum Flaucher beer garden, Isarauen 8
We also recommend: Beer garden at the Muffatwerk (event area)
Close to the Hauptbahnhof (central station) are the grounds of the Augustiner-Keller. Here, not only will you find an enormous beer garden with over a hundred chestnut trees, there's also a lovely inn that offers a good alternative in a sudden summer shower. The Augustiner-Keller is in fact Munich's oldest beer garden – and still a meeting place for lots of people today. Locals sit beside tourists here, businessmen beside students. There's also a lovely play area for the little ones.
Augustiner-Keller, Arnulfstrasse 52
We also recommend: Aumeister
It doesn't get more idyllic than this: on the outskirts of Munich, close to the Klinikum Grosshadern U-Bahn station, there's a beautiful beer garden hidden in the middle of the forest. Cyclists in particular enjoy taking a break at the Waldheim, with locals calling in for lunch. It's incredibly beautiful sitting beneath the green trees, lit by chains of lights in the evenings. At weekends, the beer garden also serves Steckerlfisch (smoked fish) and suckling pig.
Waldheim beer garden, Waldheim 1
In the spring and summer, Munich locals cycle along the Isar to drink a well-deserved Mass of beer at the Waldwirtschaft, also known as the Wawi. But the beer garden close to the Grosshesseloher Brücke (bridge) is also perfect for a bike excursion: it's a comfortable ride of around 45 minutes from the Reichenbachbrücke (bridge). Experienced walkers hike to the beer garden from Thalkirchen – or you can use public transport and get off at the Grosshesselohe S-Bahn (suburban train) station, or the Grosshesseloher Brücke tram stop. The Wawi is particularly great when jazz musicians take to the stage.
Waldwirtschaft Grosshesselohe, Georg-Kalb-Strasse 3
The River Würm flows from the Starnberger See (lake) to rise in the north of Munich. On its way, it crosses the Obermenzing quarter of Munich, and with it the Insel Mühle beer garden. You can sit right by the water and enjoy a Steckerlfisch and cool Mass of beer, plus the beer garden is wonderfully cool and shady. If you're travelling by S-Bahn, get off at Untermenzing. Or you can combine a visit to the Insel Mühle beer garden with a bike ride through the Nymphenburger Schlosspark (Nymphenburg Palace Park).
Insel Mühle, Von-Kahr-Strasse 87
More on the subject: Still a beer garden novice? You need our ten tips for survival in How to Biergarten. Read all about the sort of people you might might come across in Munich's beer gardens in our Typology.