Shane says that if I were to have a superpower, it would be the power of awkwardness.
I have the uncanny ability to make any seemingly normal situation perfectly awkward. How? I’m not entirely sure, but I can generally feel it coming on, and the more I try to make the situation less awkward, well, naturally the more awkward it gets. Why do I mention this? Because my superpower was in full force a few weeks ago when we tried the Hirschgarten.
Turns out, there’s a particular *fLoW* of events, and, as a Hirschgarten newbie, I managed to navigate them all incorrectly.
So, please accept my gift – a ‘how-to-avoid-feeling-like-an-idiot-and-successfully-get-a-beer’ guide to the Hirschgarten.
Technically, the Königlicher Hirschgarten (aka Royal Deer Garden) is a large park west of Munich city center, but it’s renowned for its beer garden that holds up to 8000 people (in non-coronavirus times). This makes the Hirschgarten the largest beer garden in Bavaria, and it’s speculated that it may be the largest in the world.
So, about that beer…
Register your contact details.
Typical coronavirus procedure these days. You can register on paper, but they also encourage you to register online and scan the QR codes around the garden to keep better track of who was actually where. It’s a big place, ya know!
Self-service or table-service?
We opted for self-service, but table service is also an option. Just look for the tables with yellow napkins.
What type of beer?
Augustiner, Franziskaner, or Hofbrau?
Helles, dunkle, or weissbier?
You’ll need to decide before you commit to a line. The primary beer of choice is the Augustiner helles, which flows like water from the most prominent beer stand (Schränke 1). If you’d prefer Hofbrau, then you’ll have to opt for table service, and dunkles, weissbier, and non-alcoholic drinks are served from a separate stand.
Grab a glass…
If you’ve opted for the helles, then grab a glass! Half and maß (1 liter, ‘mahss’) glasses are available in cabinets adjacent to the beer line. For dunkels, weissbier, and non-alcoholic drinks, the glass is provided when you order.
Give it to the beer man and keep on moving!
Approach the counter, hand over your mug, and the lovely beer man will serve you up! The Augustiner beer is served out of traditional wooden kegs, which I thought was super cool, but don’t linger too long! The beer man will scold you for holding up the line. Also, if you want a radler (part juice, part beer) then serve the juice yourself from the tap as you first approach the counter, then pass along your glass.
Oh, and its cash only!
Claim a spot!
Success! You’ve managed to get your beer! Now, just claim a spot under the chestnut trees and enjoy. Be sure to take a loop around, though. There is a souvenir stand, a space for live music, and (of course) a deer garden!
Tip: Be careful how you hold your maß!
Good: by the handle.
Bad: with your hand through the handle.
Those bad boys are heavy, and I ended up with bruises between my thumb and pointer finger!
It wouldn’t be a true beer garden experience without food. Traditionally, you’re allowed to bring outside food but not outside drinks. You’ll see this a lot, where groups bring elaborate picnics (table cloth and flowers included!), so feel free to pack a snack. Otherwise, check out the self-service food stands with ribs, currywurst, frits, pretzels, obatzer kase (highly recommended), and other various salads. For dessert? There’s ice cream and an entire sweets stand. You’re bound to find something.
Refill? Then wash & repeat!
I won’t lie. The first maß goes down too quickly. Need a refill? Rinse your glass out at one of the many wash stations and head back to the counter!
How to get there: From Munich Hbf, grab an S-bahn (1 – 4, 6, or 8) to the Hirschgarten stop. From there, it’s ~10 – 15 min walking.
Cost: Entrance to the Hirschgarten (park and beer garden) is free. 1L beer is €7.40, and food prices vary, but aren’t unreasonable. For example, we paid €5.50 for a large pretzel and obatzer dip. The self-service food and drinks are cash only, but an ATM is available within the garden.
Opening Times: The beer garden is open from 11:00 – 24:00.
Rating: ✅ (Highly Recommended!)
The Hirschgarten has been our favorite beer garden so far. The atmosphere is relaxed and cheery, it’s in a beautiful park, there are tons of options for food and drinks. If you’re looking for a true Munich experience, this is worth the effort!
If you don’t want to go to the beer garden, the park itself is also very nice. Lots of playgrounds, BBQ areas, and open spaces to relax on a warm & sunny day.
Now that the weather has cooled off, I guess we will have to wait until next spring to go back. Until then…