The Hofbrauhaus – A Popular Beer Hall and Tourist Attraction:
The Hofbrauhaus am Platzl has a reputation of being one of Munich’s most popular beer halls and a great tourist attraction. It was based on this reputation that we were seduced into joining in an evening dinner here, even though we expected that the mostly meat dishes would be of no use to us – at least we’d get to listen to some omp-pah-pah music and experience the Oktoberfest atmosphere.
About Hofbräuhaus am Platzl
Originally established as a court brewery in 1589 by Wilhelm V, it was housed in Alter Hof but moved to its current location in 1654. Permission was granted in 1830 to build an inn where beer could be sold to the public.
On the ground floor of the Hofbrauhaus am Platzl is the Schwemme, a large hall with painted ceiling and which accommodates 1,000 guests. We only realised later that THIS was where you want to be (we have visited it several times since!). The beer garden in a courtyard is shaded by chestnut trees and is popular during the warmer months.
We were herded into the Festall on the first floor, where rows of bench tables accommodate some 1,300 diners. When you enter the room, it becomes immediately apparent that this section of the Hofbrauhaus is mainly a tourist gig as groups of Japanese, Chinese and non-German Europeans make up the guests in the hall.
Our group meal was a buffet dinner, but if you come here on your own, you have the choice of ordering ala carte or set menus. The buffet dinner was not a taste sensation and for non-meat eaters, the choice is very limited.
During the meal, there was some entertainment, but it wasn’t of a quality that we were expecting. The small troop of musicians and performers repeated their repertoire throughout the evening, so if you stayed for a couple of hours, you’d see the same performance repeated a few times. Some groups didn’t stay long at all so they were spared the repeat performances. The only reason we stayed a bit longer than others was because we were waiting for our transport back to the hotel.
What we Thought of the Evening
Overall, many of us thought that the evening was flat and disappointing and didn’t meet our expectations of the lively Oktoberfest evening that we were looking forward to. Perhaps the action is in the ground floor hall where locals know to go to avoid the tourists? (As we have later discovered, this is correct!).
And here is a hint for Oktoberfest novices – when we were offered this night out at the Hofbrauhaus, it wasn’t made clear that it’s the Hofbrauhaus in the city that we would be going to and not to the Hofbrauhaus tent at the Oktoberfest. Luckily, we did make a visit to the Hofbrauhaus tent at the Oktoberfest and found that the atmosphere there was more vibrant.
But of course the Hofbrauhaus tent is only operational for two weeks during Oktoberfest whereas the Hofbrauhaus beer hall is open throughout the year.