The World's Largest Beer Garden Boasts 8,000 Seats
The first thing that comes to mind when we think of Munich is, without question, beer. The two are joined at the hip, their lips locked in love thanks to the yearly Oktoberfest celebration that has drawn so many and tattooed the Bavarian city with a feel-good reputation.
As the most famous beer hall in the world, the Hofbrauhaus typically gets the bulk of the love and attention with its location in the city center. It will jump out of every guide book, and ask someone who’s been to Munich for a recommendation, and they most always respond with some form of “well, you’ve got to have a beer at the Hofbrauhaus.”
And we agree, but allow us to recommend a place we liked even better than the Hofbrauhaus, a place just as epic: the largest beer garden in the world. Located in a lovely park, the beer garden at Königlicher Hirschgarten seats 8,000 people (yes, 8,000!) under large chestnut trees, with a live band and a serve-yourself concession of German sausage and brats, pork knuckle, giant soft pretzels, sauerkraut, grilled chicken, etc.
While we love a good beer hall, you just can’t beat having a beer outside, sitting on picnic tables and taking in the summer weather. We also really fell for the tradition of the gardens, specifically in the way they are a regular part of the German lifestyle. During our visit we witnessed tables of three generations – the grandfather right down to the grandchild – all gathering and conversing, bringing their own picnics and chatting it up, listening to the live music.
It was very obvious that the Germans treat these gardens as a place of gathering for socialization rather than a vehicle to get drunk. It was not loud or obnoxious as you’d expect a group of 8,000 beer drinkers to be.
That said, we each drank over two liters of beer, but we behaved ourselves, we promise! After your visit, we recommend taking a walk through Englischer, where you can swim in the river, lay in the grass, or watch the surfers rip it up on the river rapids (see photo above). It’s not quite California, but it’s still pretty freaking cool!
[Photo: Hirschgarten/Will McGough]