Oktoberfest guide: the large tents (Part 4)

Now that you’ve gotten through the beginning and advanced rules in this Oktoberfest guide, it’s time to move on to the nitty gritty: the large tents of Oktoberfest. This part of the Oktoberfest guide will have a brief description of the 14 large tents that will be present in the Wiesn. After all, how will you know where you’re going to party if you don’t have an idea of what will be in the large tents? It’s where you’ll be doing the huge majority of Oktoberfesting!

While tents can differ from year to year, here are the 14 large tents slated to be present during Oktoberfest 2014.

Marstall — (not pictured) This marks the organization’s first time having a large tent in Oktoberfest. This newcomer has its roots in the original Oktoberfest of 1810, when this equestrian school held horse races to kick off the celebration. While the horses are gone, the Marstall tent will build their tent with horses in mind, from the wooden horses decorating the inside, to the carriage pulled by tour horses that will mark the entrance. This tent will not only serve beer, but also wine and its own special cuisine, so it will most likely attract an older crowd due to the wine and food.

Beer served: Spaten

Oktoberfest large tentsArmbrustschützen — Bavarian for “crossbow shooters tent,” this is where the famed crossbow competition takes place. It’s been going on ever since 1895. Here, they serve your typical hendl (chicken), pork knuckles, and plenty of sausage (which can be found anywhere in the Oktoberfest grounds), so the menu may be a bit limited compared to Others. The PLATZL live brass band is slated to play when the party starts going into the night.

Beer served: Paulaner

Oktoberfest large tentsHofbräu-Festzelt —This tent is the largest one in Oktoberfest and for good reason, since this tends to be the tent that’s most popular with tourists. You’ll encounter more English-speaking people here than what you would typically find elsewhere in the Wiesn grounds. This is also one of the tents that is more of a “party tent” and tends to attract a young crowd. In spite of the party crowd, there still tends to be good food served here. It may be nothing special (just your typical hendl and pork knuckles) but you can still get a good meal here.

Beer served: Hofbräu

Oktoberfest large tentsHacker-festzelt— If you take a look at this tent that’s known as the “Heaven Of The Bavarian,” you’ll see that the insides are decorated with angels and the heavens. The ceiling mural was actually painted by Rolf Zehetbauer, who’s a renown production designer and art director in Germany that has won an Academy Award for his work in the movie Cabaret. This tent has the luxury of having two live bands. The Kirchdorfer band is your typical Bavarian brass band that’s geared more for the older people. They start playing Bavarian music at 12 noon. From 7 to 8:45 pm, the rock n’ roll band the Cagey Strings play, which is geared toward a younger crowd.

Beer served: Hacker-Pschorr

Oktoberfest large tentsSchottenhamel — This large tent is the oldest one Of Oktoberfest, starting in 1867, and also one of the tents that has a lot of history. It’s where the mayor of Munich taps the first keg to officially open Oktoberfest ever since 1950. However, don’t count on being present for the opening ceremony, as the opening ceremony is only open to politicians and celebrities of Munich, in spite of the tent having capacity of 10,000. However, a young crowd tends to frequent this tent afterwards, making it a great place to meet (and perhaps flirt) with people , although in reality you can do that in any tent. Try their menu, since their selection is very extensive for a beer tent.

Beer served: Spaten

Oktoberfest large tentsWinzerer Fähndl — This beer tent is known for its “Gemuetlichkeit” (relaxed fun feeling), as well as its strong local celebrity presence, In fact, TV Munich would broadcast their coverage Of Oktoberfest from this tent. While they don’t broadcast from the tent anymore, you can still listen to coverage on the loca radio on station Radio Charivari 95.5. Once the meeting place of archers for their annual competition (the honor which now goes to the Armbrustschützen tent), this tent boasts the most seating places (10,900) out of any other tent in Okotberfest. Blaskapelle Ruhmannsfelden is the band that provides the live entertainment here.

Beer served: Paulaner

Oktoberfest large tentsSchützen-Festzelt — While this is considered to be a “large tent,” it’s actually fairly small considering all the other tents with seating for around 5,400, One of the things that make this tent famous is its suckling pig, which is served in beer sauce and with potato salad. The way its cooked makes it very tender and easy to eat. The tent also has a hall reserved as a crossbow shooting gallery, which contributes to the small seating area. An older crowd tends to frequent here, along with celebrities and other high-influence individuals, Die Niederalmer headlines the entertainment as the live band for the tent.

Beer served: Löwenbräu

Oktoberfest large tentsKäfer’s Wies’n-Schänke —This large tent is actually known more for its extensive menu and amazing food rather than its beer. Don’t be fooled, as this still makes it very popular and surprisingly full, even early on in the day. The roasted duck is the signature dish for this tent. Another special quality of this tent is that it’s the only tent open until 12:30 am (the rest of Oktoberfest closes at 11:00 pm). While the door typically opens only to those with connections or celebrity status after Oktoberfest closes, trust me when I say you’ll be so pooped from all the partying in Oktoberfest the whole day that you won’t really care.

Beer served: Paulaner

Oktoberfest large tents

courtesy: Oktoberfest.de

Weinzelt — This tent bucks the trend of having beer in 1-liter steins. Instead, they serve beer in sleeker, curvy wheat glasses. They also have an extensive wine selection from the Nymphenburger Sekt cellars, which tends to attract an older crowd. It’s a nice change of pace from your typical beer chugging. They also serve typical hendl, pork knuckles and duck, so the food selection is pretty good as well. They have four bands playing at different times throughout the day. However, its not as big as the other tents, so you may have to get here earlier to get in.

Beer served: Paulaner

Oktoberfest large tentsLöwenbräu Festhatlle — This tent has the Löwenbråu lion in front, letting out a loud roar every now and then, It just so happens that the lion is the mascot of TSV 1860 Munich soccer team, so you’ll see many of their fans out and about with their jerseys. Take caution Bayern Munich fans since this being 1860 Munich territory, you will be heckled or possibly worse (although security will make sure any hooliganism is quickly dealt with).

Beer served: Lowenbräu

Oktoberfest large tentsBräurosl — This tent got its name originally from Rosi Pschorr, the daughter of the man who founded the Pschorr brewery. It was said her natural beauty and her prolific yodeling made her and the tent famous, earning her the name “Bråurosl.” Nowadays, the tent has a professional yodeler known as “Bräurosl” that can sing traditional Bavarian songs. When the yodeler is not around, the tent has two live bands playing known as Ludwig-Thoma-Musikanten and the Südtiroler Spitzbuam.

Beer served: Hacker-Pschorr

Okotberfest large tentsAugustiner-Festhalle — This tent also tends to attract a younger crowd, especially with “kids day’ on Tuesdays that falls in line with “Family Day” the same day in Oktoberfest. This means reduced prices during that day (and of course, there’s the lunch menu discount every day). This tent is known for being family-friendly and for their annual Oktoberfest Costume parade, which occurs on the first Wiesn Sunday in that year’s Oktoberfest. It’s complete with people in traditional Bavarian costumes from 200 years back, shooting clubs, and marching bands. In fact, there’s a costume club that meets at noon in the tent.

Beer served: Augustiner

Oktoberfest large tentOchsenbraterei —This was one of my favorite tents, as it has good food and a good crowd, The entrance to this tent stands out, since you’ll see a giant ox rotating on a spit and occasionally blows smoke out from the BBQ. This tent was known for revolutionizing the roasting process of the ox (oschen). Johann Rössler invented his unique barbecue spit 133 years ago, and the exhibit became a legend that still holds today in its own tent. Of course, the oxen is the signature dish, which is very savory and so tender it melts in your mouth. They have 3 bands covering all times of the day as well, so it’s a good party tent as well.

Beer served: Spatenbräu

Oktoberfest large tentFischer-Vroni — As the name implies, the signature dish of this tent is fish, particularly the “steckerlfische” or fish on a stick. A unique quality of this tent is that they have a big “to-go” section on the outside of the tent, so you don’t have to go in or get a table to enjoy the food. This is a very good thing considering this is the smallest “large tent” of the Wiesn and has an indoor seating capacity of 2,700. They also have the typical Oktoberfest hendl, pork knuckle, duck and even deer goulash (one of my favorite soups)

Beer served: Augustiner

That does it for a rundown of the “Big 14” tents of Oktoberfest. The Wiesn always caps the large tent number to 14 for Oktoberfest. That can mean that one tent ‘s pushed Out Of the “Big 14” lineup. Since there’s a newcomer to Oktoberfest, that means that one tent has to be snubbed and for 2014, it’s Hippodrom, one of more popular tents of Oktoberfest:

Oktoberfest large tentHippodrom — After a 111-year run, Hippodrom is the odd man out for Oktoberfest 2014. This tent has been one of more popular tents, with a young crowd and famous celebrities you can find hanging out in the champagne bar. This makes it a place where you can net some autographs from famous people. It’s also been the go-to tent to get lucky, since many young, eligible singles would frequent this tent. However, the celebrity factor and it’s relatively small capacity of 4,200 provided for a “‘hard door” from the evening onward. While it won’t be in Oktoberfest for the time being, it will be present at Munich Frühlingsfest , which is like the smaller, lesser-known Oktoberfest but takes place during spring instead.

That’s it for this multi-part Oktoberfest survival guide. If you read all of it, you officially know everything you’ll need to survive Oktoberfest in Munich, so what that being said, “Prost!” or cheers to you and your future NY Minute Traveler adventures.

Last page – Part 3: Reservations and tent logistics

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