Equipped with this beergarden guide, nothing can go wrong.
You can wear any outfit to a beergarden. Of course, true Bavarians like to wear their “Lederne” - the traditional Bavarian Lederhosn and women like to wear their Dirndl, the traditional Bavarian dress, to the beergarden.
There are no tables for two, and people are very open. It is appropriate to share a table and toast each other with a Mass (litre mug) of beer.
In the 14th century the Paulaner monks were brewing true to the motto: “Liquida non frangunt ienum” (“Liquid does not break the Lent”). Because of the hard work and the often sparse food especially at times of fasting, beer was considered liquid food, allowing the people of Munich to drink 5 litres per day!
Traditional beergarden meals are Steckerlfisch, a mackerel on a stick grilled over charcoal, a Bavarian cheese spread called Obazda, Radi (radish) and Wurstsalat (marinated sausage salad). Additionally, you are allowed to bring your own food (but not beverages) to a beergarden in Bavaria. This has been a tradition since the 19th century, when beergardens were established in Munich. At the time, when artificial cooling hadn’t been invented yet, beer could only be stored in caverns along the Isar river. King Ludwig I allowed the breweries to sell their beer inside and on top of their beer cellars, but outlawed the sale of food there, which would have put restaurants and pubs out of business.
According to some rumors, the toasting of beer mugs became a custom at the table as it was considered a sign of trust. During the Middle Ages it was common to poison your enemy. For this reason, they hit eachothers’ mugs with such force that the beer would spill over into surrounding mugs. The others quickly became suspicious of the one afraid of toasting, thus beer overflowing into his own glass.
“Weisswurst, (white sausage) is not supposed to hear the church bells’ chime at noon” – this is a common saying, meaning Weisswurst should be eaten before noon. This old saying has a long tradition dating back to the days before refrigeration was invented. Weisswurst is very perishable in warm temperatures and, therefore, should be eaten by noon. Traditionally a Weisswurst is accompanied by a Weissbier.
All social classes mingle in a beergarden. Whether rich or poor, everyone here is equal. This is why no one is bothered by the grumpy old man with the sideburns sitting at the next table, holding on to his glass for hours. Reserving seats or not allowing others to join your table is considered sacrilege and will be penalized with social proscription.
Whoever sits down in a beergarden expecting a waitress to come take an order, will be waiting in vain. Beergardens are self-serviced – with the exception of preset tables. The beverages are mostly available in 1 litre sizes (33 oz.) only. So don’t get overconfident and try to get beers for all of your friends at once. Only professional waitresses can manage to carry more than three Mass.
A beergarden is something unique, hence locals have a slight advantage regarding the local customs and traditions. Thankfully, our waitress Paula has a few tips for your next visit to the beergarden. Enjoy!
It’s best to make appointments for vague times because no one is in a rush and no one is too late. It is very “gemütlich” (relaxed) at a beergarden and it already begins when making the appointment.
Strangers quickly become friends in the shade under the chestnut trees. So please sit down at any table without hesitation. Every new face adds a touch of conviviality.
The most diverse people come together here: the older gentleman toasts with the young students, the train conductor chats with the tourists, and the bricklayer enjoys his snack with a college professor. This is the right way to socialize.
In a beergarden sometimes dialects, language, attitude and even competing football fans bump into each other, but fortunately everybody is allowed to say what they think. Only one thing is not allowed: formal introductions in German. In a beergarden everyone is referred to by their first names, never their last.
Don’t forget to toast your neighbors when enjoying your own fresh Paulaner Weißbier, ideally many times. An easy rule of thumb: ten toasts should be okay for each 1 litre Mass. And, by the way, you only toast with the bottom of the Weissbier glass.
A Bavarian Brotzeit (light meal or hearty snack) is very traditional. As a true beergarden professional, bring along a quaint tablecloth, wood cutting board and a sharp knife in a picnic basket. A delicious Weissbier will be waiting for you.
Nothing goes better with a hearty Brotzeit than a fresh Weissbier. Now it’s time to take all the little delicacies we love so much to the beergarden: namely pretzels, Radi (radish) and our beloved Obatzda.
In Bavaria we use the term, “Fesches Dirndl” to describe a pretty girl, as well as the traditional dress she wears. There is a little secret hiding behind the apron’s tied bow: if the bow is tied on the left it means she is available, but if the bow is tied to the right side, she is already spoken for.
Don’t be shocked when you hear the sound of a bell at 10:30 p.m. It would be a shame to spill all that tasty Weissbier. But this means it’s “last call” and is mandated by the opening hours of the beergarden. Beergarden hours are officially governed by beergarden regulations, so order your last round punctually!
Did you know that our beergardens don’t have a season? Even on a nice day in the winter we will bring out the beergarden tables and chairs, and enjoy the moment together: with a fresh Weissbier and a homemade picnic lunch.