The beer gardens are an established fixture of the Munich Open Air Season. Big and small, young and old gather here together, different nationalities and languages cross paths and quickly find new people to talk to on the long beer garden benches. The tables under the green trees and the relaxed mood while having a chilled, Bavarian beer from the traditional beer pitchers invite you to stay a while.
Origin of the Beer Gardens
The history goes back to the 19th century. Beer gardens emerged in the time when mainly bottom-fermented beer was drunk, which could only be prepared during the cold time of year. That’s why back then to begin with cellars were built in the banks of the Isar, among other places, and somewhat later in the central city as well so that beer could be stored in chilled conditions in summer too. Additionally, gravel was scattered to keep the temperatures in the cellars cool and chestnut trees were planted to cast the necessary shade. Since the beer quickly became bad in warm temperatures, in most cases it was imbibed at the same location. That’s how the first beer gardens came about in Munich.
Today there are very few of these cellar beer gardens left. One of them is the Augustinerkeller in Arnulf Street, which first functioned as a beer storage facility in 1812. Today it is the oldest beer garden in Munich and attracts many visitors annually with freshly pulled beer and delicious, tasty specialities in the tasting stalls. The beer garden can look back on a long history as it was originally mentioned for the first time in 1812. Today the beer garden comprises 5,000 seats and it is a popular place to go for a large amount of people.
Picture source: flickr (mightyohm)
Popular Beer Gardens in Munich
The English Garden, one of the largest city parks in the world, also offers numerous beer gardens for its visitors. The most famous of them is the beer garden in the Chinese Tower. In spite of seating 7,000, it is difficult to find a free seat on the weekend due to its huge popularity. A colourful mixture of students from the close by Ludwig Maximilian University meet here, for them it is only a short walk from the lecture theatre to the beer garden bench, tourists from all over the world with locals and office workers from Bogenhausen and Schwabing, who want to enjoy the midday sun. Here too, no beer garden wish is left unfulfilled. The brass band on the first level of the Chinese Tower provides the fitting mood; it plays regularly on Wednesdays from 4:00 pm, Saturdays from 1:00 pm and Sundays from noon.
Another popular beer garden in the English Garden is the Hirschau beer garden. It seats more than 2,500 and has a large adventure play ground for the younger guests. Many cyclists take a break there and enjoy a fresh, chilled beer and a Bavarian snack. When the weather is nice the beer garden is open daily from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Picture source: flickr (dialmformetcalfe)
Beer Garden or Wirtsgarten
Traditionally for Munich, as for all of Bavaria, the so called “Bavarian Beer Garden Principle” applies. This states that the guests may bring their own food. Only beverages must be bought on site. Of course it is also possible to buy various Bavarian delicacies at one of the self-service counters. At first glance the Wirtsgarten is very similar to the beer garden, however the guests are served at their table and may not bring their own food, in contrast to beer gardens.
Popular Munich Wirtsgärten
The “Kaisergarten” in central Schwabing has a 100 year long history and awaits guests with a refined cuisine, which is Bavarian-inspired but also extends to influences from all over the world. The beautiful Wirtsgarten with ancient chestnut trees which provide shade is open daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 am and is always worth a visit.
Picture source: flickr (tbee)
The “Osterwaldgarten” is an equally traditional Wirtsgarten in Schwabing. The Wirtsgarten was opened in 1874 and thus it is one of the oldest Schwabing restaurants in which Duke Max of Bavaria himself was a guest. In the garden the comfortable seating under the chestnut trees likewise invite you to stay longer. In the summer months it is open daily from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm.