Welcome To Nightlife in Munich!
Biergartens to The Best Bars & Dance Clubs
In Munich, one of the most social places to party are the biergartens.
In a country where beer is treated as food – after all, it's served in huge 1-liter mugs – Munich is the kaiser of the German brew.
In Munich, everything starts in the biergarten. This is where locals go to enjoy a couple over lunch, dinner or Happy Hour. Then it's out onto the town for more vibrant nightlife.
Biergartens – A Munich Tradition
Ein Prost – Down This One and Another One!
Beer is basic nutrition in Bavaria and locals and tourists hoist in biergartens.
It's a warm afternoon, the Glockenspiel has lost its appeal, you've parked it in the parks, there's been enough seeing and shopping and frankly, it's just time for a nice, cold beer. But not just any beer, one of those giantic ones in a large mug like the ones served during Oktoberfest. Not only that, it should be enjoyed while seated on a wooden bench at a picnic table with a bunch of thirsty locals.
No problem. There is is an open-air market with big beers just a couple of minutes from the unsuspecting tourists clogging the Marinlatz. Head the opposite direction of the The Glockenspiel to Viktualienmarkt. It's an outdoor market of food and flowers that is buzzing with activity.
Line up with the others at the beer station of choice, ask for a large lager and find a spot to sit. This is a place to spend the afternoon Euors on good Germany beer. The ample food offerings in the market make it a good, inexpensive lunch destination, as well.
In evenings, for the Happy Hour beer or before, during or after dinner, the Augustiner-Keller – on on Arnulfstrape, a few blocks from the train station in the direction opposite of Marinplatz – is a rewarding, thirst-quenching choice. The first reaction upon entering is likely to be: "Now THIIS is a beer garden!" It has tables in a large garden, a gravel ground, a restaurant and even a cafeteria. And while the adjacent restaurant is beautiful, the food in the beergarten is quite sufficent and affordable. It's the pefect place to have a beer and a meal, or to serve as a pre-party spot for pubclubbing later in the night.
Yet despite these two fine choices, locals have but one choice when it comes to Munich's best beer garden – China Tower in English Garden. Pardon the irony of having a German beergarten in a place with a Chinese name in an English park, but it's the best in town. This is a massive gathering spot with 7.000 seats, there is the signature Chinese Tower (Chinesischer Turm in German) in the middle and it's one of the few biergartends with live Bavarian music, Students from the nearby University of Munich are among its frequent visitors. There's also a nice restaurant on site.
So what is a biergarten anyway? Generally, it's a large outdoor area with picnic tables under chestnut trees (under which, originally, were cellars that stored the barrels). There's always people around, and the waiters and waitresses often are attired in traditional Bavarian dress. True biergartens are large and offer food. They are excellent places to sit down and enjoy that fine Bavarian beer. What they are NOT are wild party places with people dancing in the aisles and standing on tables.
Beware of Bavarian Beer: It's is 5% alcohol. And don't be fooled by imitators. There are about 180 "biergartens" in Munich, but most of them just offer beer on some type of garden patio.
Munich Bars & Nightlife
Pubs, Clubs and Fine, Fun Bars
One Munich's most fun bars is not a "hot" clubs, but Szymanskkis Bistro.
PUBS & BARS – There's more to Munich than biergartends. Take the bierhall, for example.
And the kaiser of all bierhalls is the famous Hofbrauhaus (in the Marinplatz). This multi-room, multi-level food and beer establishment is all Bavaria – huge liters of brew, oompha band, tourists and even a few locals. In short, it's Oktoberfest when it's not Oktoberfest. Locating it is not a snap – it's thru the Bohmlerimtal walkway by phone booths and newspaper boxes.
So what's it like? Well inside is wilder than outside and since every beer-drinking tourist, young and old, comes through at some point it's a great place to start the night or as a second stop after spending time at one of the aforementioned biergartens. Prost!
The big beers are served year-round at the Hofbrau Haus.
PubClub.com enjoys the 1-liter beers at the Hofbrau Haus.
The exterior of the world-famous bierhall, the Hofbrau Haus.
The Hofbrauhaus starts to slow down by about 11 – gee, that's when the band quits playing – but there's some other good bars just around the corner. This is an excellent time to stroll to Killians Irish Pub/Ned Kelley's Australian Bar. These fun side-by-side bars are for people who like to get down and dirty and just PARTY! Killians has a live band and Ned Kelly's has a small, hot sweaty dance floor and Aussies slamming drinks (naturally). They are connected to one another and are casually crazy.
One of the most fun bars in Munich, a PubClub favorite, in fact, is Szymanskkis Bistro. It's a restaruant-turned-bar that has a jammin' and cool DJ, dance floor, small wait for cocktails, great music and a fun party atmosphere. No cover, no lines, just fine times. It's on Bayerstrasse, directly across from the Hauptbahnhof taxi stand.
A walk down down Schwanthaler will be rewarded with a variety of bars –go past Mittererstrasse for a few of the better ones. This street is the scene of one of the World's Largest Parades, Saturday morning on Oktoberfest opening weekend.
CLUBS – The big party place of Munich is a few miles east of town in an area known as Kunstpark Ost (near the Ostbahnhof train station). It is here the European clubbing comes to this town. The area is an entire series of bars and clubs with dining, drinking and dancing. Students like the laid-back Rum Machen (near the train station), The Backstage in Neuhausen has a biergarten, Alabamahalle is a pure dance and Laim has a series of bars and clubs.
CLUBS IN MARINPLATZ – The hot, Hollywood/Vegas/fast movers club is P1; (that's a racing term meaning Position 1 on the track though this is located at Prinzregentenstrasse 1 which could also account for the name). It's tough to get in, but there's no cover. Guys may have a better chance of getting into Pacha, a nice, upscale club of locals which starts out as two clubs but becomes one as the night becomes morning. Sausalitos is a Mexican restaurant (in Munich, yeah!) that has Happy Hour margaritas from mindnight to 5 a.m.
Tips for Tipping 'em Back in the Beer Tents
For two weeks, the Hofbrau Haus beer tent really IS this crowded.
The bands play, the beers flow and the people drink. Ein Pro-sit!
Where else in the world would one expect to find the world's biggest beer festival except in the capitol of beer, Bavaria?
For two weeks each September, Munich becomes a host to locals, Germans, Euopeans and of course Australians (you can't serve endless beer in huge mugs to huge audiences and not expect Aussies to show up, now can you!?) all celebrating the October harvest. Well, that's not exactly what they are celebrating but the point is that they are celebrating.
Oktoberfest is Munich's signature event and one to put on any hearty partier's to-drink list.
For more on Oktoberfest, including beer tent tips and photos, see PubClub's Party Guide to Oktobest.