Running from the 18th September – 4th October, Oktoberfest 2010 is just around the corner!
Sadly, we’re stuck at home this year! But we’ve still got beer on the brain, and instead of heading straight to the pub, have been scouring for some of the best Oktoberfest resources, tips and tricks. So, if you were lucky enough to score a ticket and book your Munich hostel, read on to plan out your pint-shaped celebration and get in the mood for some beer-swilling fun…
When to go
For those keen on continuing the beer-guzzling action, your best chance of getting a table is mid-week before 12pm. Although weekends are popular, they are extremely crowded and it is nearly impossible to get a seat unless you’ve booked well in advance. Don’t worry about missing any of the action, however – the tents get just as intense, the bands play just as hard and the crowds drink just as much on a Tuesday as on a Saturday.
Just one quick tip: GET IN EARLY! Even though there’s room for up to 100,000 people, many tables are reserved months in advance. While doors officially open at 10am, people will be lining up from before 7am, and the place will be choc-a-bloc by lunchtime. Just remember: no seat means no service, and no service means no drinks…
Beer Serving Hours
Weekdays: 10am – 10:30pm
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 9am – 10:30pm
Daily Tent Closing Time: 11:30pm (although the ‘Käfer Wiesn-Schänke’ and the ‘Weinzelt’ are open until 1am, with last calls at 12:15am)
What to wear
While you may not be a native Bavarian, donning a traditional ‘tracht’ is a great way to fake it!
For women, the outfit of choice is a ‘drindl’, which is composed of three different pieces: the dress (‘kleid’), the blouse (‘bluse’) and an apron (‘schurze’). Personalise your outfit with a ‘krpofband’ necklace featuring an Edelweiss pendant, or a coloured handkerchief tied around your neck and locked in place with a metallic flower.
For men, it’s all about the famous ‘lederhosen’ leather shorts, which are typically worn with a special cotton shirt, long socks and boots. Consider adding some suspenders, a leather ‘gurtel’ or hat crowned with decorative goat’s hair to complete your look.
Just be warned: these costumes can be pricey. Check out Ebay for some discount alternatives or head to a second hand ‘trachten’ outlet store when you arrive in Munich.
What to drink
Beer is pretty much compulsory at Oktoberfest, so if you don’t already love it, we suggest you learn to. And fast. This amber ale is flowing just about everywhere, being served exclusively in one litre glass mugs clocking in around the €8 mark.
One quick tip: for your own safety, don’t try to keep up with the locals! While you’ll see the Bavarians inhaling up to 8 litres on a regular day, remember that this potent elixir has a 6-7% alcoholic kick (that’s one awful lot more than you’ll find in a local pub pint!) To avoid becoming a ‘bierleiche’ (German for a ‘beer corpse’), pace yourself by alternating beers with beer-lemonade mixers, waters, giant pretzels, pork knuckles and the odd gingerbread heart! Considering how delicious the food is (and how much there is around), it shouldn’t be too hard to resist that extra pint in favour of something a little more sustaining.
Another thing to remember is to tip your waitress! Considering there are no bars at Oktoberfest, you will be relying on one Frau as your sole source of alcohol. These women work incredibly hard, and if you don’t look after them, they won’t look after you. With beers costing around €8-9, it’s best to give a €10 note, although an extra €5 on the first drink will never go astray…
Mini Oktoberfest Dictionary
It’s always nice to exercise your lingual skills and learn a couple of phrases in Bavarian. Here’s a few basics to get you started:
Guten Morgen = Good morning
Danke schön = Thanks very much
Es freut mich = Nice to meet you
Wie heist du? = What’s your name?
Prost! = Cheers!
Ist dieser Platz frei? = Is that seat taken?
Eine Maß, bitte = One beer, please
Wo ist die Toilette? = Where is the toilet?
Können Sie mir ein Bier spenden? = Can you donate me a beer?
Ich brauche bis zu werfen = I need to throw up
Ich habe einen schrecklichen Kater = I have an awful hangover
For more useful terms and phrases, why not check out this handy Oktoberfest dictionary?
If you’ve been to Oktoberfest before, or are going this year, get in touch with your tips below, from the best beer tent to your favourite Oktoberfest memory!