With the temperature dropping and the foliage blooming, it’s officially sweater weather. And what better way to welcome the fall season than drinking German beer from steins, eating giant pretzels and bratwurst, and listening to “oompah” bands. And don’t worry if you can’t make the trip to Germany for Oktoberfest this year–Munich comes to New York City with tons of fun festivities. Celebrate Bavarian culture with events like traditional pig roasts, ceremonial keg tappings, stein-holding competitions and more. Ahead, find the 15 best spots to grab authentic brews and brats with 6sqft’s guide to Oktoberfest 2018.
German beers go even better with a waterfront view, photo from their 2016 Oktoberfest via Watermark Bar
1. Watermark Bar
78 South Street, Pier 15, Manhattan
September 21-October 7
For three weekends, Munich comes to Manhattan at Watermark Bar’s Oktoberfest. The event will feature live music and games, and of course food and drinks. This year’s festival will have Hofbrauhaus Munchen, Radeberger, and Weihenstephan on tap. The event is free and takes place at the bar’s 3,500-square-foot venue that has sweeping views of the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges. The bar is offering a few package deals, from a $50 “Dunkel” package which includes 5 food/ beer tickets to a $500 “Kölsch” package, which comes with 55 food/ beer tickets and three large steins. Get tickets here.
Celebrate Oktoberfest just three blocks from Grand Central at Bierhaus, via Bierhaus NYC on Facebook
2. Bierhaus NYC
712 Third Avenue at 45th Street, Midtown Manhattan
September 22-October 21
Calling itself the city’s Oktoberfest Headquarters, Bierhouse NYC is a Bavarian-style restaurant that is the only bar in New York directly affiliated with the famous Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany. Located just three blocks from Grand Central Terminal, the bar’s schedule is jam-packed with activities. They’ll have a pretzel party with a pretzel dip bar, a complimentary pig roast, keg tapping with a free round of beer, wacky contests, freebie giveaways, and more.
Also, on the weekend the bar will have “Kidtoberfest” with face painting, coloring, live music and free food for kids aged 10 and under. And for those looking to get competitive, the bar is hosting a “biggest bier belly” contest, awarding $100 to the best gut, and a bratwurst eating contest, with a $750 cash prize for first place. You probably shouldn’t miss it.
You’ll feel like you’re actually in Munich under this Oktoberfest Tent, photo via Zum Schneider
3. Munich on the East River
24-20 FDR Drive Service Road East, Gramercy Park, Manhattan
September 28th-October 7
In its fifth year, Munich on the East River is considered one of the most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Germany. Under a fully decorated traditional Oktoberfest tent, original furniture, an Oompah band stage, and seating area provide a near-perfect replica of Munich’s iconic celebration. Original Oktoberfest beers are on tap and served in one-liter glass steins. All food served, by German-speaking staff, follows traditional Munich meals, like roast chicken and pork shank, giant pretzels, brat and Weisswurst, and vegetarian options. General seating tickets go for $28, reserved seating is $38, and VIP costs $100. Get them here.
Compete in a stein-holding contest every Saturday during Oktoberfest, photo via Radegast Hall
4. Radegast Hall & Biergarten
113 North 3rd Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
September 22-End of October
While Radegast offers German fare year-round (and live music daily), the Williamsburg Biergarten takes their Munich-vibes to the next level beginning in the middle of September. Participate in weekly stein-holding competitions every Saturday during Oktoberfest. Plus, be a part of a ceremonial keg tapping, a pig roast, live music and spinning DJs on Saturdays.
Travel around Germany with Treadwell Park’s carefully selected beer menu, photo from 2016 via Treadwell Park
5. Treadwell Park
1125 First Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan
September 21-October 14
At this year’s Oktoberfest at Treadwell Park, the focus is less on the lederhosen and more on German beer history. The festivities begin with every guest being issued a passport booklet. Each time a guest gets a beer from a different German region, the passport gets stamped. If the booklet is filled by the end, a free stein is given as a reward. In addition to traveling around Germany via beer tastings, the event will feature favorites sourced from local farms, including giant pretzels, a wurst sampler, sauerbraten, and a giant schnitzel.
Celebrate on both water and land this season, photo via Circle Line Sightseeing
6. Bear Mountain Oktoberfest Cruise
Departs from Pier 83 at 42nd Street on the Hudson River
Saturday & Sundays from Sept 22-Nov 11, plus Monday, October 8
For those looking to spend a full day, or even a weekend, celebrating Oktoberfest, look no further than a cruise by Bear Mountain Cruises. The boat trip lasts 2.5 hours and takes passengers up the Hudson to enjoy German food and beer specials, music, and the river’s autumnal sights. The boat then docks at Bear Mountain State Park for three hours, where visitors can get off and enjoy the over 50 hiking and biking trails or even a paddle around the lake. The cruise ship is equipped with an outdoor deck space, heated/air-conditioned indoor seating, restrooms and large windows perfect for sightseeing. Book tickets, which cost $65 for adults and $52 for children, here.
56-06 Cooper Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn
September 21-October 6
In the indoor-outdoor bar, Nowadays, is hosting “Nowafest” a multi-week beer and sausage fest. The bar-events space, located on the Bushwick/Ridgewood border, is offering special beers from Threes Brewing and other local breweries, as well as sausages from the Meat Hook, a Brooklyn butcher.
Via Loreley Beer Garden on Facebook
8. Loreley Beer Garden
7 Rivington Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan
September 22-October 6
While this Lower East Side bar keeps a German-theme going all year round, it steps its game up for Oktoberfest. Loreley, known for its popular heated beer garden, features multiple, month-long Oktoberfest events. On Saturday, Sept. 29 at 10 am, Loreley is hosting a ceremonial keg tapping, a traditional pig roast, and specials throughout the day. Another can’t-miss event is an Oktoberfest beer tasting and three-course German dinner for just $35 per person. Get tickets to that event and others at Loreley here.
Image © James and Karla Murray for 6sqft
9. Murray’s Cheese
254 Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
Saturday, Oct. 27, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Oompah music, steins, lederhosen, and… cheese? Well, if you attend the event hosted by NYC-favorite Murray’s Cheese, your Oktoberfest celebrations will certainly be cheesy. As the Eventbrite page reads: “Whether we’re pairing German smoked Rauchbiers with a meaty washed rind cheese for a pure bacon bomb or bright wheat beers and creamy triple cremes conjuring banana bread bliss, we’ll work our way through six outstanding (and occasionally outlandish) beer and cheese pairings, guaranteed to have you singing–nay, shouting–the praises of pairing beer and cheese.” How could you pass that up? Tickets, selling for $85, are going quick. Get them here.
Via Reichenbach Hall on Facebook
10. Reichenbach Hall
5 West 37th Street, Midtown West, Manhattan
September 21 to October 30
Since first opening in 2013, Reichenbach Hall has served an all-German menu, including those giant, Instagram-friendly pretzels. In addition to the delicious Bavarian eats that you won’t find at many other Oktoberfests around here (hühnerleber pastete and spätzle, anyone?), the 5,000-square-foot Hall has 14 German beers on tap, offered in 1/2 liter, full liter and a two-liter boot. Book a table here.
Via Houston Hall
11. Houston Hall
222 West Houston Street, West Village, Manhattan
Saturday, October 6
This popular West Village beer hall, a former industrial garage, has the perfect space, for Oktoberfest festivities, with long picnic benches and super tall ceilings. While drinkers at the often very crowded bar seem like they’re celebrating every day, this year, Houston Hall is offering one day of all-out German goodness. Tickets are $20 and include two mugs of beer and a pretzel necklace. Get them here.
Events outside of NYC
Photo courtesy of Brian King on Flickr
12. Ales ‘N Tails Oktoberfest
560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ
Saturday, September 29
Hosted by New Jersey’s Turtle Back Zoo, Ales N’Tails brings dozens of brews to the zoo in celebration of Oktoberfest. In addition to the seasonal beer offered, visitors can enjoy local vendors and a live Oompah Band. Money fundraised from the 21+ event, which costs $60, will benefit the Essex County Parks Foundation. Purchase tickets to Ales N’ Tails here.
A keg rolling competition at Hunter Mountain, photo via Hunter Mountian Resort
13. Hunter Mountain
64 Klein Avenue, Hunter, NY
Sept. 22-23, Sept. 29-Oct. 30, Oct.6-7, Oct. 13-14
For four weekends this fall, Hunter Mountain is hosting free German and German-American entertainment nestled in the Catskills. The resort is offering live entertainment and authentic food with beautiful autumnal foliage as the backdrop. Games include keg rolling, potato sack races, pumpkin bowling, and of course, stein holding. Plus, there will be live music, dancing and more.USA Today ranked the mountain’s festivities 10th for best Oktoberfest celebration in the country.
Oktoberfest on Lake George, photo via Adirondack Pub & Brewery on Facebook
14. Adirondack Brewery Oktoberfest
33 Canada Street, Lake Geroge, New York
Saturday, October 13
While the Adirondack Brewery’s Oktoberfest is a trek from the city, this unique celebration may be worth the trip. The 13th annual Oktoberfest will be celebrated just steps from scenic Lake George during the height of upstate New York’s famous fall foliage. In addition to the Instagram-worthy backdrop, the Adirondack Brewery offers nonstop polka music, bratwurst, cornhole, artisan cheese and lots of beer. Tickets, of which proceeds go to a charity, include entry, a complimentary Oktoberfest branded 5 oz. sampler stein, one complimentary food voucher, unlimited sampling of locally brewed beverages, games and contests. Buy tickets here.
8th Annual Oktoberfest at Old Falls Street, photo via Old Falls Street
15. Old Falls Street Oktoberfest
101 Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls, New York
Saturday, September 29
Located just steps from the beautiful Niagra Falls, Old Falls Street is a three-block destination known for its free events and activities all year ’round. This Oktoberfest head upstate for a free celebration, rain or shine, with authentic beers and brats. There will also be live music and dancing with the German-American Musicians.
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