BEER FESTIVAL TENTS
The Inselkammer family has been running the Armbrustschützenzelt (Crossbowmens’ tent) since 1990. As only the large Munich breweries are allowed to provide Oktoberfest beer, Paulaner is served here instead of the family owned Ayinger. Corresponding to the tent’s origin, it’s home to a shooting range, in which the Annual Bavarian Oktoberfest Crossbow Shooting takes place, as well as a celebrity shooting.
The tent’s façade cites the architecture of the Bavarian Oberland, south of Munich, as well as the tradition of the ancient Oktoberfest beer castle architecture. A hog is sitting on top of the front gallery, which is decorated by the employees before the beginning of Oktoberfest.
The Armbrustschützenzelt is often less crowded than other tents and even on weekends you may find it open. Its guests are hard to characterize. The atmosphere is in general less ecstatic and rowdy in comparison to other tents.
The crossbow association Winzerer Fähndl has been present at Oktoberfest since 1895. Today’s Armbrustschützenzelt originates from their first tent, as the association moved from the large Winzerer Fähndl to its smaller successor in 1926. It received today’s look and size not before the legendary Richard Süßmeier took it over in 1956 and finally succeeded in moving it to its present spot in the Wirtsbudenstraße in 1965.
In the Augustiner tent, they serve Augustiner. The Augustiner tent has been part of Oktoberfest since 1898. The Augustiner beer is an Oktoberfest beer, but it is called “Edelstoff” like the year-round export beer.
For many, the tent of Munich’s oldest brewery is the last remaining authentic Oktoberfest tent. It offers the most traditional experience.
The zeitgeist never meant much to the Augustiner brewery. Not only is Munich’s oldest brewery, founded in 1328, the last brewery to serve its Oktoberfest beer exclusively from wooden kegs, also its tent is the most traditional one. Its present-day appearance dates back to 1926. 2010 even brought back its tower, which disappeared after World War II and is today serving as keg storage. But also on the inside, Augustiner is consistent with its tradition. The atmosphere here is much more down-to-earth than in other tents, with traditional music almost all day long and a crowd, which starts dancing on the benches much later than elsewhere.
Many argue, the Augustinerzelt is the last real Oktoberfest tent with a large portion of indigenous guests and a much less rowdy ambience. The Augustine Brewery is the only brewery, which still serves the beer from stags, which are 200 liter wooden barrels — and you can taste the difference! It’s one of the few tents, which are already packed at lunch time. If you are looking for an authentic experience, this is the place to go.
The former brewery tent of Pschorrbräu has once been the largest at the Oktoberfest. Today, it’s popular with youngsters from Munich and the Würmtal.
The Bräurosl tent is named after a legendary daughter of the Pschorr family, who was known to drink her Maß beer every evening on horseback in the brewery and hereby deeply impressing the brewers with her appearance. She is also the motif of the picture high above the entrance. The music played by a south tyrolean band during the afternoon, when the tent is not crowded yet, takes getting used to, as you don’t get to hear traditional brass music, but folk-pop. Another acoustic specialty is the in-house yodeler, portraying the Bräurosl, who sings Mondays through Fridays at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and at 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekends.
The Bräurosl was established in 1901, being the first tent to be illuminated electrically. In 1913 it was the largest beer tent ever built for the Oktoberfest, seating up to 12000 guests. The current building was remodeled in 2004 and received another small redesign in 2011, now featuring a contemporary glass façade and a beer pipeline just as the affiliated Winzerer Fähndl.
At the tables around the band the Bräurosl has some of the youngest crowds of the festival. On the first Sunday, the Bräurosl is usually closed for overcrowding, as it’s packed with gays. Also the subsequent Monday became very popular within the gay community in recent years.
The smallest of the large tents in the Wirtsbudenstraße is mostly known for its culinary treats: Fish, particularly on a stick and Augustiner on tap.
Not later than 1818, the first herring was grilled at Oktoberfest, but although it has been a popular treat for decades, it has completely disappeared until today. The reason is an even more popular fish dish: the Steckerlfisch, which is mainly mackerel, trout or zander grilled on a stick. Not only herring vanished over the years, also the larger part of the once numerous fish stands is not present today. This cannot be ascribed to an alleged unpopularity of Steckerlfisch, but rather to the popularity of one single stand, the Fischer-Vroni.
In 1904 Josef Pravida built the famous timbered house with the half-hip roof and stork’s nest for the first time, but opened it under the name “Fischerhütte zum Holländer” (Dutchman’s Fishing Hut) and renamed it three years later as Fischer-Vroni. After decades in the neighbourhood of the Augustinerzelt, it moved to today’s location in the Wirtsbudenstraße in 1998. The current building, whose façade still looks essentially the same as more than a hundred years ago, dates from 2006, was extended with a gallery on top of the main entrance in 2011 and again modified in 2013, when the front received a barrel storage.
On the South side of the tent, you can watch the mackerels, trouts, zanders, fingerlings and bass being grilled and buy one of them for consumption in a beer garden. Besides the fish-oriented and very unique menu, Fischer-Vroni offers an additional treat: Augustiner Oktoberfest beer served from wooden barrels.
The tent of the Hacker brewery is one of the most popular of the Oktoberfest. It’s one of the few, which are packed starting at noon.
Actually, he just wanted to become a butcher, but after taking over the parents’ restaurant, Zum Wildpark, Toni Roiderer even become an extraordinarily successful landlord. So successful, that he became Willi Heide’s successor as the Oktoberfest landlords’ spokesman in 2002. Since 1989 he has been transforming his Hackerzelt, which is themed as the heaven of Bavarians since the 50s, to one of the few tents, which are crowded even at noon on weekdays.
The ceiling of a beer tent as seen from inside the tent is colloquially known as “the heavens.” And the heaven of the Hacker tent is particularly beautiful. Like the Bavarian flag, it’s blue and white and is decorated with clouds and stars. The ceiling in the Hacker tent is rightfully called the Bavarian Heavens. So that visitors can see the heavens over Bavaria as closely as possible, the back of the ceiling can be opened in nice weather. Guests sit under the free blue and white heavens—the Bavarian Heavens.
In 2016, one year after Thomas Roiderer, Toni’s son took over, the tent was completely rebuilt from scratch. While many non-regular visitors may not even recognize, that there is a new tent, it becomes obvious when you recognize, that broader hallways make it seem way less overcrowded than it used to be and that the huge painting on the inside no shows contemporary instead of historic motifs.
Not before 1952 the Hofbräu brewery has its own Oktoberfest tent. Its popularity with Anglo-Saxons resulted in it offering the only standing room.
The former royal and now state-owned Hofbräuhaus has been present at Oktoberfest for a surprisingly short period of time. Even more remarkable, the first Hofbräu beer was not served at the Hofbräu tent, but at Schottenhamel in the early 50s. Finally, in 1952, Hofbräu opened its own beer tent for the very first time.
Inheriting the reputation of the renowned Hofbräuhaus am Platzl and the brewery successfully exporting beer to the English speaking world, the Hofbräu-Festzelt is most popular among Anglo-saxons. Adapting foreign drinking habits, it became the only tent with a large standing area in the 80s. It’s located directly in front of the band and accommodates around 1000 mostly international guests.
The tent’s decoration is dominated by 600 kilos of hops hanging from the roof. The angel levitating under the roof is Aloisius, protagonist of the Ludwig Thoma satire “Ein Münchner im Himmel”, who is sent to deliver a divine inspiration to the Bavarian government, but finally gets wasted at Hofbräuhaus, where he still sits today. Divine inspiration never reached the government. Unlike Hofbräuhaus am Platz, the atmosphere at the Hofbräu tent is much less traditional and instead rowdier — among others due to its international guests. Only its façade is reminiscent of the original Hofbräuhaus.
If you’re looking to party with fellow english-speakers, the standing area of the Hofbräuzelt is the place to go.
In Munich celebrity landlord Michael Käfer’s tent, also called the Käfer tent, international high society feels at home. Anyone who manages to get in will be greeted with a cosy atmosphere and lots of flirting, where those who consider themselves high-society, consider the Käfer hut their Oktoberfest sanctuary. It has one of the most beautiful beer gardens.
The Käfer family has been at Oktoberfest since 1971, since 1972 with today’s business, which resembles a farm much more than a beer tent. Also on the inside, stall like seating on two floors is preferred to the common structure of a beer tent. It’s the only beer tent with reservable tables in its beer garden, which even seats more persons than the building itself. While being very calm in the afternoons, it is hard to get in there in the evenings, as there are no non-reserved tables inside.
The menu is even pricier than in other tents and geared towards a well-off clientele and includes duck and venison.. Consequently, its ambience is far from being traditional and lacks a traditional band. It is one of only two beer tents, which are allowed to serve until 12:30 a.m.
The Löwenbräu tent is extraordinarily popular with tourists. Maybe not only because of the world-famous brand, but also due to the international music.
Wiggerl Hagn, who runs the tent of the Löwenbrauerei is the most senior landlord at Oktoberfest. Even before taking over the Löwenbräuzelt in 1979, his family served Oktoberfest visitors at Schützenzelt from 1953 on. The tent’s longest-serving employee, however, greets his guests even longer: since 1949 a lion above the main entrance has been making sure, that everyone knows, they are drinking “Löööööwenbräääääu”.
The essential look of the tent dates back to 1956, the current building was constructed in 1999. Unfortunately, the traditional paintings on the front were replaced by large windows in 2012. Fortunately, in 2016 a slightly modified facade premiered, at least removing the shabby shutters. Also the tower was rebuilt in the same year. In 2011 the 16500 light bulbs illuminating the interior were replaced by LEDs.
The Löwenbräu-Festzelt is very popular among tourists. If you are looking for international party people, you may want to give it a shot.
Behind the kitschy heart-shaped facade, you will find a rather quiet tent, which is especially popular with opulent glitter dirndls.
In 2014, the establishment of the Marstall buried the 111-year-old Hippodrom after its host lost his license due to tax evasion. As its name suggests, the Marstall is mostly designed after its predecessor. It even cites the extraordinary art nouveau façade from 1985. However, its colors and heart-shaped windows leave a rather kitschy impression. The inside of the tent resembles Nordic, clear and plain design featuring less decoration elements than the other, more baroque tents. The menu is rather expensive and offers a number of very unusual dishes like prawns instead of traditional ones.
In search of a new identity for the not so busy afternoon, the Pepi Kugler Band will take over in 2017 between noon and 6 p.m, before the Münchner Zwietracht, one of the many relicts from Hippodrom times, hits the stage. Targeting an older, well-situated crowd, the atmosphere very calm before 9 p.m., when the tents gets transformed into a discotheque. Although almost never overcrowded, the tent is mostly closed during the evenings in order to enable bouncers to reject undesired guests. If you want to get in there, refrain from wearing costumes or funny hats.
The tent of the Spaten brewery is mostly known for its oxen, which can be seen in front of the kitchen. During the afternoons, it’s one of the busier tents.
The first oxen grill was built by Johann Rössler for the Oktoberfest 1881. The steam-powered grill was so popular, that he could even charge an entrance fee for it. Over the following decades, the grill became larger and turned into a large beer tent, which was acquired by the Spaten brewery in 1980, when the well-known Haberl family took it over.
Back then, the tent became its very unusual curved façade, which is contrary to the very common, traditional interior with white and blue cloths, large wreaths and Trachtler figures at the posts. The Haberls like their beer tent design to such an extent that they have been trying to register it as a three-dimensional trade mark since 2010.
The Ochsenbraterei is not only known for its culinary treats, but also for the acoustic brass music played during the afternoons. In fact, the Ochsenbraterei was the first Oktoberfest tent to offer music during lunchtime. Maybe not least therefore, it’s one of the few tents, which are already crowded at noon. In the evening however, it’s easier to find seats here than in other tents.
Around 100 oxen are grilled each year. Each of them is a true child of Munich, as they are exclusively reared at the municipal farm Gut Karlshof.
Traditionally, Schottenhamel is mainly popular with a younger crowd than other tents. Be ready for Top-40 and Mallorca music.
The Schottenhamel family has been around for a fabulously long time. Their beer tent was established in 1867. In 1872 they were the first to introduce the Märzen beer to Oktoberfest, what only happened due to short supplies of the usually sold summer beer after a unusually hot summer. The students and soldiers, who made up a good portion of their guests back then, were very pleased by this new sort of beer and willingly paid a higher price for the stronger brew. The Schottenhamel tent is still today a popular destination among students and other you guests. Some fraternities even have their own tables in the students’ box in the back of the tent.
In 1950, the landlord at that time, Michael Schottenhamel, had a very sustainable idea by engaging mayor Thomas Wimmer for tapping the first barrel in his tent. A new tradition was born, which spread all over Bavaria.
Until 2015 the tent’s look has not changed much since 1953. Unfortunately, in 2016 a new lighting concept premiered, turning the tent into a discotheque for good. The current building was inaugurated in 2000. Seating is here is rather unusual as tables are smaller and benches on all four sides increase the density. Some appreciate the consequential cuddliness, others argue that a little more space for eating would be more comfortable.
The once sleepy Schützenzelt awoke in the 2000s, when Munich’s jeunesse dorée discovered it, dancing to mostly pop music there ever since.
In 1896 the first shooting competition took place at Oktoberfest. Since 1926 it has been accommodated by an own beer tent, the Schützenfestzelt, which moved to its present-day location at feet of the Bavaria in 1961. At the beginning, it didn’t even sell food and for many years and many Oktoberfest visitors forgot about it due to its remote locations. This has completely changed in the last few years. The Reinbold family, who has been running the tent since 1979, established it as the cynosure for Munich’s youth, especially better-off portion. Accordingly, the menu offers a selection of vine, which can also be consumed at a bar.
Besides a very young crowd in the central aisle, the boxes and the large gallery host a large number of riflemen, who take part at the Oktoberfest shooting in the rear of the tent. This is the most prominent on the first Sunday, when the portion of participants of the Trachten-und Schützenzug is much larger than in the other tents. Sadly, also with this completely different public, the band sticks to its very youth-oriented repertoire, which seems pretty inappropriate.
The remodeling of the tent in 2015 with a very large gallery shifted the crowd towards older guests and an overall calmer atmosphere as the capacity of the central aisle became relatively smaller.
Party music and wine is not only provided all day long, but even when the other tents are already closed. The wine tent offers several bars.
While the Weinzelt is not the only large beer tent to offer wine (Armbrustschützenzelt, Käfer, Marstall and Schützenzelt do so as well), it is the only to offer wine instead of Oktoberfest beer. Wine stands have been a part of Oktoberfest since 1885, when a Spanish Bodega first opened. Today’s Weinzelt was established in 1984 by the Sekt-producer Nymphenburger Sekt and was rebuilt in 2005. The Weinzelt is very busy after 9 p.m., when all tables are reserved due to the fact, that it is one of only two tents allowed to open until 12:30 a.m. The rest of the day, however, Weinzelt may offer a rather intimate Oktoberfest experience due to a very remarkable pricing.
The pricy menu features some unusual dishes, even a Thai one, and gears towards the same sort of guests as the Käfer Wienschänke, who are older and wealthier than average. The three bands do not play traditional brass music, but conventional party songs. Also seating is different from the beer tents with the whole central aisle divided into one-table stalls.
Anyone looking for wine at Oktoberfest, is not limited to Weinzelt, by the way. The small tents and the owner-run and riflemen’s tents are allowed to sell it as well.
Its is one of the most photographed sights at Oktoberfest. On the inside, it’s very calm in the afternoon and the complete opposite in the evening.
Although it still bears the name of the crossbowmen association, it has been a long time, since the last crossbow shooting took place at the Winzerer Fähndl. The shootings moved to the Armbrustschützenzelt in 1926. The Winzerer Fähndl itself was the first large beer castle at Oktoberfest in 1895 and started the evolution of small beer stand becoming the large beer tents we know today.
After the acquisition of Thomasbräu by Paulaner, the Winzerer Fähndl became Paulaner’s brewery tent. It significantly influenced not only beer tent architecture but also the music played at Oktoberfest. Its band was the first to create a so-called Wiesnhit, a popular song, which dominates the bands’ playlists. Since 1984, when Fürstenfeld became the first song of this kind, there is an annually returning discussion about this year’s Wiesnhit.
The new building of 2010 is very light and open, illustrating the extraordinary width of this beer tent. It was the first beer tent to get a beer pipeline, which provides all taps in the tent with beer from a central container. The tent is often said to be the largest at Oktoberfest, which isn’t true, though.