Before we crack on with the beer chat, if cocktails are more your thing, scroll down to the bottom for my list of recommendations that come straight from the locals!
Thanks in large part to the city’s larger than life annual beer festival, Oktoberfest, Munich is the go to destination if you’re looking to sink a few pints.
Oktoberfest serves beer from six breweries, coined ‘the big six’ which each brag lively beerhalls, alive with cantankerous singing and the oom-pah-pah of their raucous bands. Each welcome in rafts of tourists hoping to nail the true Bavarian experience.
And whilst we definitely wanted to do this as well, we were also really keen to find out:
- Who serves the cheapest pint in the city?
- Are there any microbreweries in the city?
- Where can you drink beer whilst also enjoying Munich’s trendy bar scene?
- And what historic pub features a ploy to make newbies buy the whole bar a round after one simple mistake?! (Niche? Never!)
So here we have it then. Our alternative beer tour of Munich:
Keeping things traditional, we started at Augustiner-Keller which pours the city’s oldest pint (well, not literally). The brew dates back to 1328 when the Augustinian Monks decided to craft a bevvie that was safer to drink that the polluted water at the time. Nice one lads!
Cost = €7,80 for 1 litre
It was a really nice beer – super delicious – and I tell ya, 1 litre at the start sure goes straight to your head!
The crowd was a nice mix of tourists and German families and friends, enjoying lunchtime together. Out of all of the beerhalls, this is thought of as a more ‘local’ experience.
The food was also excellent – proper traditional German fare – and I may or may not have accidentally ordered six sausages… (Back on the quorn when I’m home – honest).
Whilst we visited in Winter, this is a great place to come when the sun is shining as their beer garden has 5,000 seats!
Next, we headed to Cafe Kosmos which we heard was a great place to nab a bargain beer.
Cost = €1,30 for 0.3 litre.
It wasn’t a particularly special taste but if you’re on a budget, what a winner.
Its ‘rough around the edges’ feel lends to the laidback vibe and the array of Barbie dolls featured throughout were entertaining in the least…
A real local spot with a shit ton of character.
This place was our favourite.
There used to be a load of standing bars across the city but this is the last remaining and it’s exactly what it sounds like. A bar. Where you stand.
This place doesn’t seem to have any place online but we simply searched this and headed to the place marked on Google Maps. Do not get it confused for one of the new standing bar additions, Giesinger Stehausschank.
Now there’s something VERY IMPORTANT you need to know about this particular bar and that’s on approaching the hatch where you order you beer, do NOT ring the bell next to it.
This is because whoever rings the bell is BOUND to buy every single person in the standing bar a beer. It’s written clearly to the side of the bell, but only in German, so I’d love to know the number of tourists who have got this wrong! Hahaha.
Fortunately, we were saved by a wonderful local who basically shouted ‘DO NOT TOUCH THE BELLLLLL’ as my hand wavered up towards it. What a hero.
They serve Giesinger beer which is NOT one of the big six – but we’ll explain a little more about them later.
Cost = €3,20 for 0.5 litres
We particularly liked this place because it was so tiny, you simply had to chat to the other people there! I’d found out about this place on a Time Out list yet one local said she was surprised to see us in there – so perhaps it’s not quite as popular as the other usual haunts?
Here we go then.
Known as the ‘world’s most famous tavern’, Hofbräuhaus is a beer institution and whilst we knew it was a top tourist destination, we still wanted to check what all the fuss was about.
I was particularly wowed by its gorgeously painted ceilings but in all honesty, it was JUST TOO BUSY.
We did managed to find a table but it took a while to get someone’s attention to order and it was really missing the local feel for us.
Cost = €4,70 for 0.5 litre
It is worth saying that there’s normally a Bavarian band playing music which I’m sure would liven things up – but they seemed to be a on a break when we were there.
I’d still recommend going along, but try and head there at an off-peak time so you can experience it before it becomes overrun!
Remember I mentioned that beer that wasn’t part of the big six? Well this is where it comes from!
Giesinger is a smaller, more modern, brewery which makes a whole host of craft beers. Whilst it may not be an official beverage for the yearly Oktoberfest, it’s a brilliant alternative if you’re hoping to sample the city’s wares.
Cost = €3,50 for 0.5 litres
Having read online that they sometimes turn tourists away over locals, I was a bit nervous on whether we’d get a spot (especially on a Saturday around 6pm) but we got lucky and got the last two seats at the bar. I think the fact that we wanted to eat too, definitely helped.
You can book ahead here, so I’d deffo recommend this as it’s not as central as the other spots (we uber-ed it there in 10 minutes for around 8 euros).
They’ve got a huge choice of craft beers – their own, and many more – so it’s definitely a great spot to check out.
Having necked around 5 pints already, James proclaimed that he was ‘full up’ of beer and so for our next spot, we wanted somewhere that not only served beer, but cocktails too.
Trisoux was recommended by a local via Instagram and it was a really cool bar that was filling up with friends meeting for an early evening beverage or twelve.
Cost = €4 for 0.5 litre
What was great was that the beer on tap was Löwenbräu which, you’ve guessed it, is another big six player so it was a great way to sample that without being squished into a beerhall. It felt quite sophisticated in fact!
James, instead, went for a sherry and soda.
And thus endeth our alternative beer tour!
Alternative local recommendations
Before you go!
As mentioned above, I did reach out to a few Munich based instagrammers to get their insider tips and the three who got back to me were so helpful.
In general, they all said they avoided the ‘beer’ drinking places but they gave me a raft of bars that they’d hang out in instead.
Here’s what they had to say:
- Cafe Kosmos and Favorit-Bar are absolute institutions
- The Glockenbach area has lots of quirky small bars and one of the most popular is Robinson’s Bar
- For a more alternative but really cool place, head to Bahnwärter Thiel
- Alte Utting is a converted boat next to Container City, which has been curated by artists
- I only drink wine, champagne and certain cocktails but for these, go to:
- Jaded Monkey
- Flushing Meadows
- Goldene Bar
- Bikini Mitte
- Oh, and my favourite, Von und Zu!
- Prygoshin Bar
- Better Call Soul (yes, that is a Breaking Bad bar)
- Robinson’s Bar
- Enter The Dragon
- 55 Eleven
- Schnelle Liebe
- Don’t Call Mama
Thank you so much to all three of them for sharing their knowledge – go and follow them to if you’ve found their lists helpful!