Munich Beer Gardens

Viktualienmarkt Munich

Beer gardens originated in Bavaria during the 16h century, when brewers began to store their barrels in underground cellars with large chestnut trees planted above to offer plenty of shade during the hot summer months. In 1812, King Maximilian I granted the brewers the right to sell their beer on the spot—but not food. Since then, as soon as the sun comes out and temperatures begin to rise in the spring, the people of Munich flock to one of the 180 chestnut shaded beer gardens across the city to enjoy fresh beer straight from the barrel, often times still bringing along their own food. Seating up to a few thousand people, residents and tourists alike come to beer gardens to socialize over a liter (yes a liter!) of beer or perhaps a refreshing Radler—lager beer mixed with lemonade. Although nowadays beer gardens also sell food and are usually affiliated with a restaurant, most include both tables covered with blue and white checkered tablecloths, where you are served by wait staff and order from the restaurant menu, as well as numerous long tables and benches where you can enjoy a beer and eat what you’ve brought. Sit down and share a table with complete strangers and enjoy each other’s conversation—a custom in Bavaria, whether in beer gardens or restaurants. Who knows, they might even end up sharing their food with you, too.

Amy Jurries

Amy is a freelance travel writer and editor.

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