A brief typology

Which beer tent is the right one for me?

Oktoberfest: 16 days of celebrations, 6,3 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

Coronavirus

Due to the coronavirus major events cannot take place until at least 31 August. The Oktoberfest has also been cancelled for this year. All important information about the coronavirus and your stay in Munich can be found here. See you soon in Munich!