Munich's Top 5 Beer Gardens
Trying to pick the best beer gardens in Munich is like trying to pick the top songs or movies of all time. There are so many great ones to choose from, it’s very subjective, and it’s an easy way to get in to a friendly quarrel amongst friends and family. Suffice it to say, Munich has plenty of great beer gardens and on a beautiful day enjoying the local culture there is hard to beat.
For this list we consolidated the choices a bit by keeping our focus central. For many visitors this will be the only realistic set of beer gardens to choose from anyway as other great options are too far afield for short trips.
Regardless of where you end up, on this list or any of the other great beer gardens in town, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Cash is king. Credit cards aren’t readily accepted as many of the pop-up cash registers in the beer gardens don’t have the machines and it’s just also not part of the local tradition.
- You can bring your own food. This is one of the many great things about beer garden culture. Pack a picnic and indulge on your own food. Please remember, this is only true in the outside self-service sections of the beer gardens.
- Tips at the restrooms are the norm. More often than not, you will find someone in charge of keeping the facilities clean requesting €0,20 or €0,50 for use of the restroom. This is generally optional but certainly appreciated.
- Deposits on the beer steins. Often you will have to pay €1 or €2 as a deposit for your beer steins. To get your deposit back, take the token you were given at checkout together with your glasses to the window where empties are returned. By the way, having paid €1 or €2 extra for your stein doesn’t mean you paid for a hefty souvenir…
- Particularly on busy evenings, you’ll only have the option of the liter size for your “Helles” lager. Ordering a weissbier, or wheat beer, will be your option if you want the smaller half liter.
- Beer gardens are family friendly affairs. Almost always the beer gardens come equipped with excellent playgrounds for the little ones.
Top City-Center Beer Gardens:
- Viktualienmarkt Beer Garden. In the heart of Munich’s famous farmer’s market lies Munich’s only beer garden that alternates which brewery’s beer is on tap. After a set number of kegs are consumed, they rotate to the next brewery. So one week it may be Paulaner, the next it’s Hacker Pschorr, and so on. Given the beer garden’s proximity to the food stalls, it’s also a great place to start consuming the cheeses, veggies, and meats you might have just bought.
- Chinese Tower Beer Garden. In the middle of the giant English Garden sits arguably Munich’s most famous beer garden. With capacity in the thousands, on a warm summer weekend this place is teeming with folks clinking steins while listening to the brass band play traditional classics. The food is a bit pricey and you’ll find lots of tourists amongst the locals, but everyone is here for the same reason: this place is something special.
- Augustiner Keller. With its giant trees and proximity to the Hauptbahnhof, this is a fantastic place to go for one last beer before you go or as your first port of call when entering the city. Leave the bustle of the city behind as you enjoy an Augustiner beer, thought of by many locals to be Munich’s best lager amongst the large breweries.
- Seehaus. Just a bit further north in the English Garden than the Chinese Tower beer garden sits the idyllically located Seehaus. As the name suggests, it sits right on the quaint man-made Kleinhesseloher pond. Feed the ducks, rent a paddle boat, read a book, people-watch Munich’s more hoity toity folks that frequent this place, and sip a cold Paulaner.
- Hofbräukeller. Perched up the hill from the Isar River, with its massive trees and warm evening string lighting, it’s a favorite with the locals. Few tourists go here, opting apparently for the more central, more famous, more rowdy Hofbräuhaus beer hall instead. For those look for tranquility and amazing atmosphere, the Hofbräukeller is hard to beat.