Biergarten Culture

12:36:00 PM Brooke Neal 4 Comments

Yesterday while running I noticed the city is already reinstalling the neighborhood biergarten.  I got this momentary burst of excitement, it's as if Germany is admitting winter is over (it barely began for us this year).  Once the biergarten opens, Germans wake from their winter nap and the neighborhood becomes a community again, enjoying the delights of eating al fresco.
I love sitting next to the lake, dropping french fries to passing ducks while enjoying the cool evening air.  Europe does such a good job of encouraging people out of their homes and it's something I enjoy introducing visitors to. It's also a fantastically fun place to watch sporting events.  When big soccer matches are being played large TV screens are set up and the neighborhood will come together for hours to cheer for their team. And with so many people it's almost as if you are at the arena, there is nothing quite like the atmosphere.

The World Cup will be played this year and if you are like many of us who can't make it to Brazil, get yourself to a biergarten, I promise you won't soon forget it!  Munich has a couple of hotspots like the Englisher Garten and Hirschgarten, but practically every neighborhood or "village" within Munich has its own, so there is no need to travel far for an evening out.
My sister may kill me for posting this photo!
RULES FOR THE BIERGARTEN
1. You can bring your own food, but you are supposed to buy your drinks from the biergarten.
2. If you buy a drink or food you will have paid a pfund (usually €1 per piece) for your glass and plate.  Return them to the counter when you are finished and your money will be returned.  Alternatively, you will be given a plastic token.  Don't loose it, return it along with your glass for a refund.
3. It's okay to stake your claim.  Gardens can become quite busy, so go ahead and lay your table cloth down before getting in line for food.  It will serve as a visual clue that "this table is taken!"
4.  It is perfectly acceptable for strangers to sit down next to you. If you are only using half the table and seating is tight, don't be surprised if someone takes a seat.  A polite German will ask if the space is free, but if you aren't using it, it is fair game.   I actually tried this at a restaurant in the United States last year and while I was initially eyed suspiciously, we ended up having a nice chat with the couple who reluctantly shared their table with us.
5. You must try the mammoth sized pretzel and the disgusting looking orange goop called obatzda sitting in the cooler.  It's actually a tasty cheese spread that goes well with the "bretzen."

If you get the chance to visit Germany, take part in the biergarten culture, it's a relaxing way to enjoy a summer's evening and the perfect way to really connect with German culture.

4 comments:

  1. I love bier gartens, but I have only been in one once. I should definitely try again, now that I'm much closer to Germany. I was still hoping for some winter this year, but apparently is not going to happen...

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    1. I'd be lying if I said I was anything, but pleased with our winter so far; I am a warm weather girl! I hope you make it back to the biergarten soon.

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  2. I'm so glad I found your blog! We are currently living in Wiesbaden, Germany, so it's nice to see the European travel recommendations for trips we plan to take-including within Germany! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    Heather@ Ourlifein3by5.blogspot.com

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