Oktoberfest tent guide

The best beer tents Munich has to offer -
it's the Oktoberfest tent guide

BIG BITE: A pretzel seller inside one
of the best beer tents Munich has to
offer - the Augustiner, Munich's
favourite beer.
Pic:constant progression

So many beer tents, so little time…
There are 14 big beer tents at the Munich Oktoberfest and each of them has its own little claim to fame.
Of course they’re not tents of the type you take down to the seaside to go camping for a few days with your mates.
They’re immense wooden structures assembled each year just for the Oktoberfest and taken down again when the party’s over.
Sizes range from the Hofbräu-Festzelt with enough room for 10,000 revellers to the relatively dinky Käfer's Wies'n-Schänke with "only" room for 2,900 inside and out.

You may not actually get to choose – depending on when you go the fest you might just think yourself lucky to get into any tent at all.
But it doesn't really matter, there are no bad eggs here.
When you’re partying the evening away swaying back and forth on a bench amidst a sea of thousands it really doesn’t matter too much which tent you’re in.
Just let yourself get a little caught up in the moment and you'll have a riot.
Here’s an introduction to each of the 14 tents along with contact info and details on how to reserve tables.
During the week the beer tents open at 10am and on weekends and public holidays at 9am. The tents close at 11.30pm, with the last drinks served at 10.30pm. Käfer's Wiesnschänke und das Weinzelt are the exceptions, they stay open until 1am with last drinks called at 12.15am.

The Marstall

Still arelatively new tent, the Marstall took over from the Hippodrom in 2014. Just like it's predecessor, this is THE tent to be seen in if you're rich and famous, play for Bayern Munich or all of the above. It's named after an old horse riding school established a few hundred years ago. There's very much a focus on food, and unique among the tents, ypou're not allowed to stand on the benches to sing and dance until after 4pm.

The Able family, owners of the new Marstall Oktoberfest tent. Pic: taken from the Marstall website.

The Details for the Mastall Oktoberfest tent
Sabine and Sigfried Able
Seating capacity: (inside)
3,200 (outside) 1,000
Not sure yet
Website: marstall-oktoberfest.de
May be possible by email, visit the website to try.

The Fischer-Vroni

The Fischer-Vroni. Pic from the
Fischer-Vroni website.

Bavarian food culture revolves around the pig.
Be it Schweinshaxe (pork knuckles), Schweinebraten (roast pork) or Spanferkel (suckling pig), folks down here just can’t get enough of swine.
I respect that because it’s tasty, but there is one Oktoberfest tent that's focused on a totally different culinary tradition.
Fischer-Vroni specialises in Steckerlfisch, piscine pleasures slow-grilled on sticks and served up virtually intact from the pond – minus the guts.
You can gobble it all up until you’re left with a head and tail connected by a fishy spine.
I’ve even seen someone poke out the eyes and eat them too, but don’t be doing that, it’s really, really gross.

The Details for the Fischer-Vroni Oktoberfest tent
Johann and Silvia Stadtmüller
+49 (89) 66 10 42 (Wednesdays and Fridays)
+49 (89) 65 25 34
Seating capacity: (inside)
2695 (outside) 700
Beer: Augustiner
Website: www.fischer-vroni.de
May be possible by emailing: reservierung@fischer-vroni.de

The Ochsenbraterei

The Ochsenbraterei. Pic: Wikimedia

Each year over 100 oxen are roasted on long spits in the galley of the Ochsenbraterei. They’re each christened with a name before being spit roasted and you can check them all out on a blackboard to the side of the tent.
It’s a tradition going back to 1881.
Aside from that this tent has a fantastic atmosphere and it’s a top place to party.

The Details for the Ochsenbraterei Oktoberfest tent
Anneliese and Hermann Haberl
+49 (89) 38 38 73 12 (reservation office) +49 (89) 51 11 58 0
+49 (89) 38 38 73 40 (reservation office) +49 (89) 51 11 58 10
Seating capacity: (inside)
5900 (outside) 1500
Beer: Spaten
Website: www.ochsenbraterei.de
Reservations?: Available by phone, fax or post, details on the Ochsenbraterei website here.

The Schottenhamel

The Schottenhamel. Pic CC AbhijeetRane

This is where it all starts, kids.
At high noon on the first Saturday Munich’s lord mayor wields a wooden mallet to whack a tap into the first wooden barrel of each Oktoberfest.
With a cry of "O’zapft is!" – It’s tapped!" can beer be served across the Wiesn.

I've had an awesome time partying
in the Schottenhamel in the past and with any luck I’ll be back this year – it’s got to be one of the best tents at the festival.
It's renowned for attracting a young, flirty set.

The Details for the Schottenhamel Oktoberfest tent
Peter and Christian Schottenhamel
+49 (89) 54 46 93 10
+49 (89) 54 46 93 19
Seating capacity: (inside)
6000 (outside) 4000
Beer: Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
Website: festzelt.schottenhamel.de
Reservations?: By phone, details at the tent’s website here.

The Hacker-Festzelt

The Hacker-Festzelt. Pic ©Andreas Steinhoff

Probably the best-looking tent on the Wiesn, the Hacker’s been dubbed the "Himmel der Bayern" – "Heaven of the Bavarians".
Banners painted with sky and clouds teeter from the rafters.
A seldom hushed bandstand rises up in the middle of the tent.
The atmosphere is electric. For party people this place really does feel like heaven. It’s also one of the most popular tents so make sure you’re there extra early to get a seat inside.

The Details for the Hacker-Festzelt Oktoberfest tent
Toni and Christl Roiderer
+49 (8170) 7303

Seating capacity: (inside)
6950 (outside) 2400
Beer: Hacker-Pschorr
Details on the tent’s website here.

The Schützen-Festzelt

The Schützen-Festzelt.
Pic Andreas Steinhoff

One of the oldest Oktoberfest tents, the Schützen sits under the Bavaria Statue near the southern end of the Wiesn.
Many punters here hail from Bavaria’s deeply traditional southeast corner called Oberbayern (English: Upper Bavaria).
This is where leather shorts and ankle-slapping dances aren’t just hokey traditions but for many, a way of life.
This old-school clientele bears testament to the type of atmosphere you'll find inside. The Schützen chef’s signature dish is suckling pig (Spanferkel) served with malt beer sauce and potato salad.
The Details for the Schützen-Festzelt Oktoberfest tent
Claudia and Eduard Reinbold
(089) 23 18 12 24
(089) 23 18 12 44
Seating capacity: (inside and outside)
Beer: Löwenbräu
Website: (German) www.schuetzen-festzelt.de
Website doesn’t mention them, you could try calling the number above.

The Hofbräu-Festzelt

The Hofbräu-Festzelt. Pic CC HGruber

Among the biggest and most famous beer tents at Oktoberfest is the Hofbräu, companion to the world-renowned Hofbräuhaus beer hall in Munich’s old town.
It’s known for being the most international tent.
Aussies, Americans, Japanese and Brits are all to be found here in their throngs.
That’s not to say you won’t encounter a truck load of Bavarians here too, there’s room enough for everyone. The Hofbräu is the only tent with a standing area decked out with high tables for your beers, so you usually stand a good chance of finding somewhere to drink in here.

The Details for the Hofbräu-Festzelt
Margot and Günter Steinberg
+49 89 4489670
+49 89 4483587
Seating capacity: (inside)
6898 (outside) 3022
Beer: Hofbräu München
Website: www.hb-festzelt.de
Reservations?: Must be made in person at the Hofbräukeller in Munich, details and availability on the tent’s website here.

MORE: Empty Oktoberfest tents - Take a look inside the magnificent beer tents of the Munich Oktoberfest while they're still empty

The Armbrustschützen-Festhalle

The Armbrustschützen-Festhalle.
Pic © Andreas Steinhoff

The name translates to "Crossbow shooters’ tent". It's where Bavaria’s shooting and archery clubs come to play.
As such, the walls are decorated with dead deer antlers and the like.
Though it’s not one of the most popular tents I’ve never had much luck getting in here.

The Details for the Armbrustschützen-Festhalle
Peter Inselkammer and family
+49 (89) 23 70 37 03
+49 (89) 23 70 37 05
Seating capacity: (inside)
5830 (outside) 1600
Beer: Paulaner
Website: www.armbrustschuetzenzelt.de
Reservations?: Lunchtime bookings available by fax, the Armbrustschützen website has details here.

the Hippodrom

The Hippodrom. Pic © Andreas Steinhoff

The much-loved, celebrity-pulling Hippodrom is no more, but I'll include it on this list for a little while longer for courtesy's sake. It's owner, Sepp Krätz, was found guilty of tax dodging in 2014, and so had his Oktoberfest tent licence revoked. Oh, and he was sentenced to 22 months behind bars and slapped with a €570,000 fine, so let that be a lesson to ya - if you live in Deutschland, pay your taxes!

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