World's Best Beer Gardens
A bar may be just a bar, but a beer garden is like the mothership for beer connoisseurs: sprawling indoor halls and outdoor gardens that can seat upwards of 8,000 people, guzzling brews made using centuries-old, secret recipes. From the world's most celebrated beer garden to the largest and the most scenic beer lover’s spot, we've picked out the world’s 5 best beer gardens. Raise your mug for a toast -- but be careful, you might just need both arms to lift that massive beer stein!
As dirndl-clad waitresses with astounding arm strength carry stein after massive stein to drinkers, traditional Bavarian bands entertain patrons from a central stage. In the summer months, an outdoor garden area opens with seating for up to 400 visitors.
Don't expect to be rubbing elbows with the locals. Alas, the Hofbräuhaus has earned its reputation as a tourist mecca. Still, when visiting Munich, you'd be remiss not to lift a mug (or two) at the historic hall.
Keeping with German beer garden tradition, patrons are provided with mugs that they are expected to clean themselves, as well as get their own refills of the Augustiner beer straight from barrels. In a traditional (if surprising) twist, guests are allowed to bring food or snacks from home, but we'd recommend ordering some of Hirschgarten's own snacks, such as roast pork, spareribs, roast chicken and pretzels.
Tucked behind a looming brick wall, the beer garden is filled with long picnic tables and tents, and a stage featuring live bands and entertainment. While there is an indoor hall, the action really takes place in the garden where waitresses sling beers to waiting patrons.
Beers can be ordered by the glass or pitcher, and include Czech and German favorites such as Krusovice dark, Staropramen lager and Warsteiner Dunkel. Be sure to arrive hungry and devour some of the traditional foods, such as Czech-style potato pancakes, pork or chicken schnitzel, and klobasa.
The monastery's pub, Braustübl, has become a popular drinking spot for locals who enjoy their brews from either the indoor beer hall or outdoor beer garden, which can seat a whopping 1,500 people.
Take a gander as your giant steins are filled with beer directly from wooden barrels; it gives the experience an authentically old-world feel. Attached to the hall is a delicatessen arcade where folks can buy snacks and meals at food stalls, including roasted chicken, cheese, smoked mackerel and radish salad.
Picnic tables and shady trees fill the outdoor beer garden, making it a perfect spot for imbibing summer beers, especially Gambrinus 10°, the only brew on tap. If -- gasp! -- you don't like beer, Letná also offers red and white wines, and hungry patrons can order pizzas from the garden restaurant. After swilling a few beers, explore the park's pathways and the views of Prague's historic bridges.