I know I say this all the time but I genuinely wasn’t planning to go away but when I stumbled across some £5 flights to Gothenburg (cheers Ryanair), I simply could not resist!
That and James had NEVER been to Scandinavia before so we basically HAD to go. Right?!
Now, all things Scandi are known for being chic and… Well, bloody expensive. But the good news is that Gothenburg is probably one of the cheapest places you can visit if you want to get your Nordic on.
Finding your own £5 flights is super simple – watch from 1 min 39 secs to find out how!
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!
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?
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.
With a room measuring in at 3 square metres, it may not be enough room to swing a cat, yet its floor to ceiling height does mean that you’ll be able to get through a full rendition of the YMCA before bedtime (you mean you don’t do that before a night’s kip??!?).
Before we get stuck in, it’s worth explaining that you’ll operate most things at the hotel with your very own iPod touch (how very 2007). Not only is it your key, but it’s also your light switch, bed shuffler and alarm clock.
After you’ve checked in, you’ll use your key to scan your way onto your designated floor – you can choose to stay with just men, just women or a mix (you don’t always get that last option in Japanese capsule hotels).
The vibes when you enter are very Malmaison meets Big Yellow Self Storage. It’s also dark. The exterior windows are blacked out, but the warm glow from each of the pods stop it from feeling like you’re about to take part in a sordid, x-rated version of Storage Hunters.
Next, you’ll arrive at your pod (it will have your ‘number’ on top) and find the bed in ‘sofa mode’. Squeezed in between each wall is a queen sized mattress but steady on fellas – THIS IS A NO SHARING ZONE. That bad boy is all yours. But to enjoy it to its fullest, you’d best straighten that bad boy out.
Oh yes. IT’S TIME TO USE THE IPOD!
Following a couple of prods, you’ll not only be able to turn the lights on and off, but watch in awe as the mattress slowly pans out to fill the entire size of the pod. I’d recommend doing it whilst you’re sat on it to give yourself that whole ‘going in for an MRI scan’ vibe without having to, you know, go in for an MRI scan.
Your key also gives you the option to set an alarm that not only dims up the light for you, but can also lift the bed too. For snoozers, there’s even a setting that rises in increments meaning that in 10 whole minutes, you’ll finally be upright. Absolute genius.
Other things worth noting about the pod are that it’s got a slide out storage rack (big enough for a large suitcase), mirror and a helpful shelf with 2 plug points above the bed.
Your iPod touch will plug into a charger provided for you next to your bed.
On your bed when you arrive will be:
toiletries bag (earplugs, cotton wool, toothbrush and hairbrush)
You can also hire pyjamas for 300 yen a pop (that’s about £2.20).
You may get one whole pod to yourself but don’t get excited about a personal bidet. Instead, you’ll have a shared bathroom which is… Well, okay fine. It’s pretty damn nice actually. There’s hairdryers, a washer and dryer, hand soaps, hand creams, extra towels… The showers are also really decent with rainfall heads, shampoo and body wash. There’s also space to dress and undress behind your own locked door so you can make sure you don’t go flashing your bits to Kazimo from pod A19.
The toilets, too, are kitted out really nicely and yes, the loos are electronic. Bum spritz, anyone?
The Lounge and Kitchen
You know when you see a picture on a booking website and you’re like ‘yeah, yeah, someone’s had photoshop out here’ well DAMN. The lounge looks proper legit in real life as well. We’re talking serious boutique hotel vibes.
The kitchen has a whole host of contraptions (rice cooker, blender, mincer…) for you to use. There’s also a hob for cooking and a fridge to keep food fresh (when I say food, I obviously mean prosecco).
Now, with shared kitchen spaces I’m always a bit worried that there will be one Lazy Lorraine who doesn’t pull her weight and ruins it for EVERYONE yet the place was immaculate during our 2 night stay. It almost felt like everyone couldn’t quite believe their luck with the place and therefore were refusing to defy the hotel gods by leaving an empty mug out.
Theres free decent Wifi, irons for lending and bikes for renting. There’s even a ‘roof terrace’ (don’t get excited, there’s no view) if you need a bit of fresh air without having to leave.
However, the best extra has got to be the daily free beer hour.
YES YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT.
Between 5:30pm – 6:30pm every single day, the staff wheel out a ‘do it yourself’ beer pump and it’s a help yourself affair.
If you’re thinking, ‘I’ll just rock up with some empty bottles and make the most of this thang’ then you’re probably going to get kneecapped. (I managed three glasses each night which I feel is getting to the limits of taking the piss).
Everyone was pretty respectful and it was a great chance to meet other people staying at The Millennials. In fact, that’s probably the reason they do it. That and the fact that they probably don’t have a licence which means that bringing a couple of beers or a bottle of wine back of an evening to enjoy is totally fine to do as well. WINNER.
When booking, you may also notice that breakfast is included but don’t get too excited. It’s a fairly basic offering of a few breads and pastries. To the extent that we didn’t take it up on the second morning (more time for sleep) but if you’re on a budget, hell, it is free!
We stayed at The Millennials in Kyoto bang smack in the middle of Easter and Cherry Blossom Season. I may also have left booking quite late (what a plonker) and so the pods ended up costing us £65 a night each – including all taxes and fees. However, I have found the pods for as a little as £18 a night each and have done so on several occasions. Therefore, my tip would definitely be to BOOK EARLY!
£18 is unreal value and you could probably make that back in beer alone! Even at £65 a night each, I’d say it was definitely worth it as in comparison to other hotels at that time it was 1) cheaper and 2) so much nicer!
As there were two of us, I booked the ‘adjoining smart capsule – mixed’ via Booking.com. This means that they’ll place you either next door or opposite one another (contrary to the photo above, we were actually opposite one another).
We were on the fourth floor and in pods A14 and A13. They felt really private however you are next to the showers and therefore if you’re a light sleeper, the sound of the door rolling back and forth may wake you in the morning.
The most private (and quiet!) would definitely be A08, A09 and A10 as you’re by the fire exit there meaning no through fare and off the main corridor. So why not email email@example.com and request them!
There’s also the option of having a pod with a projection screen (FANCY) for a couple of quid more.
Would I stay again?
Abso-bloody-lutely. I feel like I’m going a little overkill here but I’d genuinely say it’s one of the best places I’ve ever stayed in. I really expected it to be a bit gimmicky and was blown away with the high standard of features and service.
Since our stay in Kyoto, they’ve also opened a branch in Shibuya, Tokyo and are planning to open even more. So here’s hoping there will be even more to choose from in the near future. Hurrah!