Munich, home of the Hofbräuhaus beer hall
And not just there: Almost everywhere in the world you travel these days, Miami or Sydney, Shanghai or Dubai, you can be sure of finding brezn, leberkäs and weißbier produced to more or less original recipes. The “beer hall” has long been an export hit, but these Bavarian specialties still definitely taste best (and most authentic) in Munich.
Back to the overview
Traditional Bavarian places: English Garden & Hofbräuhaus
Chinese Tower beer garden
Find a table, order a beer and take a look around you: There’s always something to catch your eye at the 25-meter-high Chinese pagoda. Tourists, students, s vacationers, businesspeople and typical Bavarian types all come together at the beer garden in the middle of the English Garden. It seats around 7000 (!) and is the second largest beer garden in the city. Guests are welcome to bring along their own food - a fine beer garden tradition - although why they should wish to is a mystery. After all, here at the Chinese Tower they serve delicious open sandwiches as well as hearty local specialties, not to mention some rather more exotic, for example Caribbean, dishes. On the weekends, a brass band adds even more to the traditional Bavarian atmosphere.
Chinese Tower beer garden: Englischer Garten 3, +49-(0)89/38 38 73 19, www.chinaturm.de. Opening times: all year round, weather permitting, 10am-11pm
Attraction, institution, legend: At over 400 years old, the Hofbräuhaus compares only with “Kini” (King Ludwig II) or lederhosen in the traditional Bavarian stakes. Up to 35,000 people come here every day, many of them tourists for whom a visit to the beer palace is a simply must. Despite the hype, the Hofbräuhaus also has many regulars who drink only from their own tankards, for which special locker shelves are provided. Unsurprisingly, a perfect replica of Munich’s Hofbräuhaus opened in Las Vegas in 2004.
Hofbräuhaus am Platzl: Platzl 9, +49-(0)89/290 13 60, www.hofbraeuhaus.de. Opening times: daily 9am-11:30pm
In 1872, Georg Schneider became the first member of the lower social orders to be granted a license to brew Weißbier, or wheat beer. Prior to this, only the nobility had held this privilege. Schneider took over a disused brewery, today’s Weisses Bräuhaus, and began production. Although his Schneider Weisse beer has been brewed in the little town of Kelheim in Lower Bavaria since the end of World War II, the beer parlors of the old brewery are still as popular as ever. Interested in sampling a genuine Munich specialty? The Kronsfleisch (skirt steak) they serve here goes down a treat with a cool wheat beer.
Weisses Bräuhaus: Tal 7, Tel.: +49-(0)89/290 13 80, www.weisses-brauhaus.de. Opening hours: daily 8am-1am.
Breweries, Italian cuisine and a restaurant high above Munich
A true export hit: Paulaner beer halls can today be found in St. Petersburg, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Cape Town and in many other cities around the world. If the original sounds more attractive than a copy, though, a trip to Munich is imperative. Since the beer is brewed and served here under the same roof, visitors can follow up a drink in the beer hall or garden with a guided tour of the brewery, during which the Paulaner brewmaster gives a fascinating explanation of how water, malt and hops are turned into beer.
Paulaner Bräuhaus: Kapuzinerplatz 5, Tel.: +49-(0)89/544 61 10, www.paulaner-brauhaus.com/muenchen/. Opening times: daily 10am-1am. Guided tours: Mon-Fri, make sure to reserve at least a week before you plan to go.
Something a bit different: Although the Ruffini serves Italian fare, not Bavarian, it is still a classic on the Munich restaurant scene. Today, as many as 25 partners work here, entirely without a boss, so that all decisions are made jointly - a system that has worked very well since the restaurant was set up in 1978. By day, the Ruffini is a café and popular for its brunch, in the evening, it assumes its alter ego, as an excellent wine restaurant.
Ruffini: Orffstraße 22-24, Tel.: +49-(0)89/16 11 60, www.ruffini.de. Opening times: Tue-Sun 10am-12 midnight.
It goes without saying that Munich has its share of haute cuisine, as well, and the 181, located exactly 181 meters above the city, ranks highly here in two respects: since it opened in 2009, it (or rather, the restaurant’s gourmet department, First) has earned itself an impressive 17 Gault-Millau points in its first year, while the lower-priced Business section also garnered a significant 14 points. From the top of Munich’s Olympic Tower, it also offers some fantastic views as it revolves around its own axis every 49 minutes.
Restaurant 181: Spiridon-Louis-Ring 7, +49-(0)89/350 94 81 81, www.restaurant181.com. Opening times 181 First: Mon-Fri from 7pm. Opening times 181 Business: 11am-4:30pm and from 6pm.
Pictures: T. Ranzinger, Peter. von Felbert, PR (3), getty images, Panthermedia