Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival held in Munich, Germany.
But it’s not just a debaucherous drinking festival as one might think.
It’s actually a celebration of the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig — who would later go on to become King Ludwig I of Bavaria — and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810.
The Bavarian royalty threw an epic wedding celebration on the fields in front of the city gates and invited the citizens of Munich to join them.
The tradition has stayed on, and has spread to other parts of the world, including Australia.
You may already know the Lowenbrau (now known as the Munich Brauhaus) and the Bavarian Bier Cafe chain restaurants in Sydney, but if you are looking for a smaller, more authentic place to order your beer, schnitzel and sauerkraut away from the crowds, book yourself a table at one of these eight restaurants in Sydney.
Stuyvesant’s House, Crows Nest
Come for the incredibly detailed wine list, stay for the food.
Serving up a broad range of European delicacies ranging from Dutch bitterballs (chicken and veal meatballs) to German bratwurst, it also has just under 5,000 wines on its menu, including a 1995 Grange for $10,000 if you’re in the mood to splurge.
If you’re seeking something cheaper, ask for Rudi the sommelier, he’ll take good care of you.
45 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
02 9439 7155
The deep-fried camembert comes as small wedges of delicious, fried, gooey goodness, with a cranberry sauce for dipping or slathering on with a knife if eating with your hands gets too messy.
Vegetarians often miss out at German restaurants with the heavy emphasis on large servings of red meats, but Una’s has a delicious savoury vegetable strudel with creamy Portuguese sauce and a fried potato rosti, and a vegetable-filled penne provencale.
340 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
02 9360 6885
Maggie’s, Potts Point
Tucked in a side street near Pott’s Point’s infamous clubbing strip, Maggie’s is a quiet haven of beer, spätzle and strudel.
The pork knuckle is on special every Thursday and Saturday for $24.90, and it comes with a hearty serving of sauerkraut and a big fried potato rosti.
50 Macleay Street
Potts Point NSW 2011
02 9331 2226
Concordia Club, Tempe
If you’re on a budget, this is the place for you. The charm of this place is that it retains that great kitchsy old-school unrenovated pub vibe, so if you’re looking for a schmick operation, best head elsewhere.
Every Saturday during Oktoberfest they’ll have German musicians and dancers to entertain, and all the German beers you’re looking for are on tap. There will also be a jumping castle for kids outside.
Grab sausages, mash and saukerkraut for only $15, pork medallions with fried potatoes with fresh green beans and a pepper sauce for $24, or a vegetarian käsespätzle (handmade egg pasta, topped with a mixture of cheeses, fried onion and a side salad) for $18.
Desserts are served from a tuckshop-like makeshift counter called Elizabeth’s cafe.
They’re served on plastic plates but don’t let that deter you — the sour cherry cheesecake could be one of the best you’ll have. Also excellent is the cherry strudel.
Perfect for chasing away the last chilly evenings of winter, they also serve gluhwein (sweet mulled wine) for $6.50 a glass.
They encourage you to wear your dirndl or lederhosen, so if you have either make sure to wear it.
1 Richardsons Crescent
Tempe NSW 2044
02 9554 7388
Tommy’s Beer Cafe, Glebe
Daily specials include a one-metre sausage on Mondays, a hunter schnitzel on Tuesdays, Hungarian goulash on Wednesdays, a sausage platter on Thursdays, and good old pork knuckle on Fridays.
They’re all $16, apart from Thursdays and Friday when they are $20.
German beers are on tap or bottled, and they will have special Oktoberfest beers available only during Oktoberfest.
If you’d prefer a sweeter beer, they can do a snakebite for you, which is mango syrup poured into your beer.
A crystal lager is also on offer which is lager infused with German Gold sparkling wine, or a diesel or shandy which is Cernovar lager with coca cola or sprite.
Surprisingly, they also have quite a large range of absinthes.
123 Glebe Point Rd
Glebe NSW 2037
02 9660 6870
Austrian Club, Frenchs Forest
Down a quiet cul-de-sac in an equally quiet Northern Beaches suburb of Sydney, the Hof-Kuchl restaurant in the Austrian Club serves up no-fuss hearty fare and all the German beers you can drink in a warm, suburban venue.
An oompah band will pop their heads in on weekends during Oktoberfest, and there will be arm wrestling competitions.
Whatever you do, make sure you order the gebackene schwammerl (crumbed mushrooms). Vegetables have never been so unhealthy — crumbed, deep-fried and slathered in a creamy remoulade.
Also good is the gefüllte paprika (stuffed capsicum) filled with meat, rice, vegetables and a heady mix of spices.
20 Grattan Crescent
Frenchs Forest NSW 2086
02 9975 3172
Das Bierhaus, Mona Vale
After a dip at Mona Vale beach, head to Das Bierhaus for a wholesome German feed, including a huge serving of tender lamb shanks.
Every Saturday night during Oktoberfest, there will be an oompah band playing traditional classics and some modern favourites.
The pork belly and beef ribs are some of their signature dishes, but for hungry diners the Bierhaus tasting sled with the pork belly, smoked kassler pork chop, huge bratwurst sausage with sauerkraut and bread dumplings is a surefire winner.
Or if you’re not sure what you’re feeling like, the humungous Bierhaus platter gives you a little taste of all the signature dishes, and will set you back $70 for two people.
21/1725 Pittwater Rd
Mona Vale NSW 2103
02 9979 2266
Austrian Beer Bar and Restaurant, Dee Why
Similar to Das Bierhas, The Austrian Beer Bar is just across the road from the beach, albeit about 15 minutes further south down the Northern Beaches at Dee Why.
Every day during Oktoberfest there will be a different special available, such as knuckle day on Tuesday October 2 where if diners finish their entire pork knuckle, they get a free glass of schanpps, and spatzle day on Thursday October 4, where a special spatzle pan is only $17.
They’ve got lunch specials like schnitzel and spätzle every day for $19.90, and have regular games like darts, beer pong, foosball and nageln — a unique nail hammering game. Celebrate your win (or loss) with an apres beach drink from the Ski Hut.
13 The Strand
Dee Why Beach, NSW, 2099
02 9981 1161
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