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Beer gardens have become an integral part of Munich. They belong to the city's heritage as much as breakfast Weißwurst, jars of beer and traditional clothing.
Many cities have tried to imitate the beer garden concept, but only in Munich does it reveal its true soul. Beer gardens are not just a place to meet friends or family to drink beer, but also a place for encounter and communication; It is an attitude towards life. At the first sight of sunshine, Munichers will pour into beer gardens, regardless of the season.
The history of beer gardens is not that old, with the first of their kind emerging at the beginning of the 19th century. They were originally called Bierkeller (beer cellars), as brewers would store their fermented beer in underground cellars. To keep these cellars cool, chestnut trees were planted on the surface so the foliage would provide optimum shade. To this day, chestnut trees are still found in beer gardens. A little-known fact about German beer gardens is that you can bring your own food in the self-service area, so don’t be surprised if your neighbour suddenly lays out a tablecloth and pulls goodies out of his bag.
Beer gardens are often packed with people, especially on a beautiful evening. It can be difficult to find a place to sit, but it’s not a problem asking someone to join them at their table. Most people are very friendly and will offer you a seat next to them. And if they’re very nice, they will share food with you.
Typical beer garden dishes include: sausage salad (sliced sausage with onions in vinegar dressing), large pretzels, Obazda (a mixture of camembert, cream cheese and paprika powder), radishes and Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a skewer). You may liven up this selection by bringing your own hummus, couscous salad or noodle salad – whatever tickles your fancy.
And finally, what’s a beer garden without beer. Don’t be surprised by the size of the glasses: beer is usually served in traditional one-litre beer mugs, although some beer gardens might offer smaller glass options.
Munich has many beautiful beer gardens. But listing them all would be an impossible challenge. Here are some of the best.
This beer garden is particularly beautiful in summer, situated along the artificial Kleinhesseloher Lake in the English Garden. Therefore, it’s no surprise that this gorgeous venue attracts a lovely crowd. The Seehaus is also very popular with students, as it is located next to Schwabing. Recommendation: find a seat by the lake, but don’t let the swans steal your pretzels!
The Hirschgarten (deer garden), is located next to an animal enclosure where deer graze. The beer garden is one of Munich’s largest and has a spacious playground for children. If the weather permits, a brass band plays every Sunday and holiday. Recommendation: get a Steckerlfisch from Fischer Vroni.
The Schinderstadl is probably Munich’s smallest beer garden. Ideally situated on the Flaucher, it is one of the most beautiful beer gardens in Munich. It is very small and cosy and very popular with cyclists; you forget that you’re still in the capital of Bavaria. Recommendation: visit on a weekday around noon, when it is still nice and quiet and you can enjoy the sunbeams peering through the leaves.
The Waldwirtschaft is located outside Munich, but is definitely worth a visit. Referred to as “WaWi” for short, it can be reached both by tram and S-Bahn. Recommendation: plan a daytrip to Waldwirtschaft and enjoy the beautiful natural landscape.