As you probably know, the Hofbräuhaus is one of Munich’s (and one of Bavaria’s) most famous tourist destinations, especially for beer drinkers, and its name is recognized worldwide. In fact, it dates back to 1589, is one of Munich’s six breweries, and its now owned by the Bavarian state government. In my experience, the Hofbrähaus is a great place to visit as a tourist, especially for first-timers! I always take first-time Munich travelers to the Hofbräuhaus on one of the first nights!
I have two favorite things about the Hofbrähaus. First, the ambience, which is one of the reasons I love taking first-time Munich travelers here! The Hofbrähaus is one of the few places in Munich that you can walk into any time, any day of the year, and instantly get the “Oktoberfest” feel that you crave when you get to Munich, even if its not Oktoberfest and even if you are not a drinker. There is usually an oompah band playing, fully dressed in Bavarian attire, most of the tables are long-Oktoberfest style tables, and the atmosphere is plain fun. The staff dress in lederhosen and dirndls (this is the traditional Bavarian attire) and sling liters of beer as if it were Oktoberfest! Side note – while I encourage tourists to wear lederhosen and dirndls to Oktoberfest, you will most certainly look like a tourist wearing lederhosen or a dirndl on a random day in the Hofbräuhaus…but then you probably are a tourist, so….
My second favorite thing about the Oktoberfest is its ceilings. Do not forget to look up! Can you believe these gorgeous ceilings are part of the famous beer drinking spot! The below picture is from the first dining room as you enter the Hofbrähaus.
To visit the Hofbräuhaus, you should feel free to walk in and take pictures any time of any day, or use the lavatory in the back. There is no fee for either and tourists do this all day long. If you want to sit for a drink and/or food, you can sit down at any table with an opening large enough for your party. As mentioned above, the tables are long wood tables with family style seating, and it is typical to share part of your table with strangers – just ask before you sit down. The Hofbräuhaus has several rooms with seating, so walk around until you find something. The oompah band is usually in the second dining room.
For purposes of ordering, German and a few English menus are scattered on the tables. You can order drinks, food, or both. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are offered, as well as a variety of food, including vegetarian options. Once seated, an employee dressed in lederhosen or a dirndl will shortly come to take your order. Unlike other restaurants, you pay when your order comes (not when you finish) and cash is preferred. If you want something else later (another beer, dessert), the waitstaff quickly stops by if your glass or plate is empty, or if you flag someone down.
The food at the Hofbräuhaus, especially compared to other tourist attractions, is surprisingly delicious! This time around, I ordered potato salad and kaese spatzel (cheese spatzel – kind of like mac and cheese) topped with fried onions! Kaese spatzel is a traditional Bavarian dish and must be tried at least once in Munich.
Dan went with the roast pork with cracking, gravy, and potato dumpling, one of his favorites!
On other visits, we have ordered a number of meat-based dishes, too:
The desserts are also tasty, especially the homemade steamed dumpling with vanilla sauce!
As you can see, the plates are pretty large and a good value for the price. I would note, however, that any bread placed on your table is NOT free. You will be charged for each piece taken. Prices are listed on the menu! The beer steins are also NOT FREE. A large security guard at the entrance will shake you down if you try to steal a stein!
Once you order food or a drink, you are really free to stay as long as you like. The Hofbräuhaus, like any bar, gets rowdier at night but it gets crazy during the day during prime tourist season and Oktoberfest!
And, as an added bonus, the Hofbräuhaus has an excellent gift shop selling lovely Hofbräuhaus souvenirs. I still have a sweatshirt I got there in 2004! While the prices are a bit high, the products do last!
Have you been to the Hofbräuhaus? Are you planning a trip to Munich? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
STEAL OUR TRIP
Hofbrähaus: Platzl 9, 80331 München, Germany. T: 49 89 290136100. Open daily 9:00 – 23:30. Reservations not required. The Hofbräuhaus is a 5 minute walk from Marienplatz.
If the Hofbrähaus is too crowded or not your style, the Augustiner Bierhalle is a short walk away in historic center of Munich, although that can get crowded, too! If you are looking for a non-touristy beer hall, you best bet is to get out of historic Munich. The city is loaded with beer halls that locals frequent!
ON A BUDGET
Surprising to many, the Hofbrahäus, unlike many other tourist attractions, is actually a budget option. First, its free to enter, walk around, and take pictures. Second, you do not have to order a full meal; you can split a meal or order just a beverage, dessert, or side. The Hofbrähaus certainly is not shoestring level for dinner, but it is a good value for your money. In any case, at least stop in for pictures! If you are looking for shoestring budget food close by, there are many fast-food options near the Marienplatz.