Munich is famous for its beer and there’s no better way to enjoy a summer afternoon than in one of the city's many beer gardens. From German breweries serving home brews to traditional beer halls and beautiful al fresco terraces, there are plenty of places to sit back, soak up the sun and sip on a refreshing stein – but it wasn’t always this way. In 16th century Germany, beer was only allowed to be sold in cellars, however in 1812, King Maximilian I of Bavaria issued a decree enabling breweries to take beer above ground for the first time. Since then, beer gardens have been a Bavarian institution and many of the originals are still sheltered by chestnut orchards planted to shade the first storage rooms. With summer just around the corner, we’ve put together a list of some of the best beer gardens in Munich.
Set in an old chestnut tree orchard, Hofbräukeller beer garden combines Munich hospitality with German traditions. Hofbräu beer flows from seemingly bottomless taps, quenching the thirst of the hundreds of beer enthusiasts who gather in the huge inner-city garden, while the kitchen serves up hearty meals and snacks. With the trees providing plenty of shade from the summer sun, it’s easy to while away a whole afternoon here.
The beer garden of Paulaner brewery, Paulaner Garten, is the place to go to sample the German brand’s famous brews. Whether you’re a fan of the popularHefe-Weißbier Naturtrüb, prefer a lighter Hefe-Weißbier Leicht, or wish to sample a fine Hefe-Weißbier Dunkel, the garden caters to all tastes. Located in the city centre, this Munich institution invites visitors to join locals on wooden benches and experience the joy of German beer drinking.
One of the oldest beer gardens in Munich, Augustiner Keller is a Bavarian oasis in the heart of the city. Recline in the beautiful garden under the shade of chestnut trees and enjoy a pint (or if you’re feeling adventurous, a stein) of popular Augustiner Edelstoff as you snack on German delicacies from the kitchen. Remember to listen out because when a bell rings, it means a fresh barrel has been tapped – a frequent occurrence on a sunny summer’s day.
When visiting a new city, it’s always worthwhile to find out where the locals go. Löwenbräukeller is one much place. The restaurant and pub has a homely ambience and a traditional outdoor beer garden that’s one of the most popular in Munich, especially during the summer. For more than 130 years, beer enthusiasts have been gathering in the pub’s garden and sun terrace to socialise over steins of German beer and Bavarian cuisine. Löwenbräukeller is also open in the cooler months, when the bar speciality switches from refreshing beer to warming Glühwein (mulled wine).
Overlooking a game reserve filled with deer, Royal Hirschgarten is a beautiful place to spend a summer’s day. Particularly popular with families thanks to its surrounding green meadows, the beer garden seats up to 8,000 people at one time. While some Munich beer gardens stick to one or two beer brands, Royal Hirschgarten serves a wide selection, from popular Augustiner brews to lesser-known beers fromKaltenberger Brewery.
Munich's famous 900-acre park, Englischer Garten, is best known for its four beer gardens. The beer garden at Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) is the second-largest in the city and offers visitors a lively experience against a stunning backdrop. As guests sip onHofbräu beers in the sun-filled garden overlooking the tower, musicians entertain the gathering crowds and waiters serve up a hearty brunch.
With so many beer gardens to try, first fill up on wholesome cuisine at Sophia’s Restaurant & Bar at The Charles Hotel.
Image credits: Englischer Garten © iStock/gameover2012, Augustiner Keller beer garden © Augustiner Keller, Munich beer garden © iStock/Nikada