While an attraction I see as rather overrated, as Munich’s second most famous and visited attraction, coming after Oktoberfest, it seemed only fitting to have our first group dinner at the Hofbräuhaus. As a group, all ten of us (five boys and five girls) walked with our program coordinator, Lukas, and the outreach officer, Amanda, to the location. On the way, we were given small tidbits of information regarding the beer hall and restaurant and the history behind the building.
The brewery itself went into production in 1592, after a request from the Duke of Bavaria to find a cheaper and better way to get beer. In 1607, the location was moved to the inner city where it still stands today. The location was finally opened to the public in 1828 by royal decree. Close to the end of the 19th century, the owner of Hofbräuhaus became the state of Bavaria, rather than the royal family. Unfortunately, the building was almost completely destroyed during WWII. It reopened in 1958, in time for Munich’s 800th anniversary.
Though we had reservations in the upper hall, we managed to snag a table in the downstairs section where “all the action happens,” as Lukas phrased it. The atmosphere was a mix of tradition, such as a Bavarian band, and modernity with tourists snapping photos everywhere as a blend of languages was heard. As we seated ourselves, staff offered soft pretzels and bread, walking around with baskets loaded. With menus in both English and German, everyone managed to find something they would like from pork knuckle with Knödel (a potato dumpling) to Wiener Schnitzl (breaded veal), to my personal favorite of Käsespätzle (traditional egg noodles with cheese, onion, and bacon). While it is tradition to try a glass of the beer, I decided to stick with Spezi, a German drink made with 50 percent Coca Cola and 50 percent Fanta, due to my general distaste for beer.
Following the meal, we went upstairs to see a small museum about the history of the Hofbräu brand. Covering the walls on the stairway up were pictures of groups of people who meet once a week at the beer hall to catch up. They each have a special table reserved and many members have their own special beer glasses kept under lock and key.
I enjoyed learning a bit more about the history of Germany while being able to eat and stay warm. It is certainly a more enjoyable location for those who like and are interested in trying the brewery’s beer. However, if you have just arrived in the city and want some traditional and hearty food and a taste of what Bavarian culture is like, this is a good place to go.
*Pictures will be uploaded to this article when I find a better wi-fi connection.