A visit to Munich — often thought of as the beer capital of the world — is not complete without a stop at one of the city’s many historic beer halls, which have been a feature of social life in the region for centuries.
STEP 1: PICK A PLACE
Each beer hall has a different history and ambience. As most are (or were) attached to a working brewery, you will only get that brewery’s beer (usually a spectrum of light & malty (Helle) to wheat-based (Weizen/Weissbier) to strong (Bockbier) to dark (Dunkel)). Each may offer a different selection of food as well, from light snacks (pretzels) to heavy meals (roast pork). Hofbräuhaus is one of the oldest and most famous of the halls, but can often be crowded with tourists. The Augustiner and Paulaner halls offer quieter alternatives, often with a shaded garden in the back. Löwenbräukeller is a great option to check out Bavarian folk music.
STEP 2: SHARE THE SPACE
The halls are lined with long, shared tables, so get comfortable sitting with strangers. Take any open space but watch for reserved tables or sections held for clubs or groups. Order with your regularly circulating waiter/waitress (often wearing traditional attire of dirndls or lederhosen) and don’t forget to get snacks.
STEP 3: LOOK UP
Make sure to take in the surroundings — the vaulted ceilings, painted walls, timber chairs, and crowned pillars — and the jovial atmosphere. You might notice familiar motifs and emblems from your travels around the city (for instance, a line of red-suited coopers you’ve seen at the Glockenspiel dancing here around an iron chandelier). Drink in the historical tableau as much as the beer in front of you.