Becoming Bavarian: An Introduction to Munich. Dirndls and All.

Munich! A cosmopolitan city with plenty of history, good shopping and quaint markets. It’s nestled into Bavaria, in Southern Germany, and there’s plenty to love about that as well. But let’s be REAL honest. The most important and well known thing about Bavaria? Beer. More specifically, beer HALLS, where drinking liters of beer is not only encouraged, it’s expected. In fact, there are warehouse-sized buildings that have been built for the sole purpose of enjoying beer in a rowdy, joyous, downright legendary fashion.

The most famous beerhall in Munich is the Hofbrauhaus, and for good reason. It’s smack bang in the center of town and, unlike the Planet-Hollywood-style tourist attractions of many big cities, it genuinely does have an authentic atmosphere. You might be crowded for some elbow room, but you won’t have to go far to find a good brew and you can even bop along to a real live oompah band.

And then the party really gets started.

Where there are liters and liters of beer, sausage, and pretzels the size of your head, there’s very little judgment when it comes to fashion sense.

Before you’ve reached the bottom of your first liter of beer, one of the beer maids is placing another one in front of you. Scratch that. She’s plonking six of them at a time (SIX!) and you can’t help but wonder where she’s hiding that brute bicep strength while still looking so dang cute in a dirndl. The drindl is the traditional Bavarian dress and ladies, if you have the cash to splash, you can pick one up yourself on Tal, next to the Marienplatz for about 40 Euros. Note to the boys: the lederhosen are fetching too, although – being leather – they’re slightly more expensive. But, depending on your budget, could be well worth it for the attention it will bring once the ladies are a stein down.

BONUS: Planning to visit Oktoberfest? You can wear your dirndls and lederhosen amongst the locals. It’s a costume party EVERY DAY and no one will judge you for it! Trust me. Where there are liters and liters of beer, sausage, and pretzels the size of your head as a basis for a festival, there’s very little judgment when it comes to fashion sense. You’re in the clear.

And this is the best part: the oompah oldies up on stage? They’re guzzling steins of beer too. And the more they sip, the more times they sing the legendary, age-old “Ein Prosit” drinking song. It’s all about the swinging steins, making up the words to the familiar tune, concluding with a moment of glory at the finale with a big “Eins! Zwei! Drei! Zsuffa! PROST!

Steins don’t “clink” so much as they crash, and if you’re beer’s not sloshing while you prost, you’re doing it wrong.  You stand on chairs, and shout in German, hug your neighbor with every “Prost!” and even engage in a little German folk dancing action. Bavarian beerhalls are arguably the most fun you can have with your clothes on. And it’s even more fun when those clothes are a dirndl.


Jennifer Vieira

About Jennifer Vieira

Jennifer is our European Travel Expert, but she has experience traveling and living all over the world. She's like the ying yang of North America: Canadian-born, American-raised, and East Coast-meets-West Coast. After living and working in Sydney, she got paid to travel in Europe. She now lives in London and advocates youth travel.