Four Spots To Raise A Glass To Germany’s Beer Drinking Holiday
For beer enthusiasts, October is a holiday in and of itself: the month of brews. While in Germany, Munich’s famous beer festival takes place primarily in September, its iterations elsewhere in the world see it fill the following month with brews and wursts and lederhosen galore. In Manhattan, these beer halls are the places to celebrate.
Zum Schneider(Ave. C at 7th St.)
The cozy bars of Alphabet City run the gamut from award-winning cocktail spots and closets full of whiskey to happy-hour dives and smoky billiards joints. One, however, has a category largely to its own: Zum Schneider, the resident Bavarian beer bar. Smaller and quainter than German beer gardens elsewhere in the city, Zum Schneider is a favorite watering hole for neighborhood residents year-round, with its outdoor tables covered in checkered tablecloths filling up in the warmer months and everyone squeezing inside to the elevated wooden bars when the weather cools down. The some 15 German brews on tap are available in three sizes along with 10 more bottled options, coupled with fare like salty brats and potato pancakes. For a true Oktoberfest experience, Zum Schneider also hosts the annual Munich on the East River ticked beer-drinking fest due east from its bar by the riverside, which sees two weekends (Sep. 23-25 and Sep. 30-Oct.2) filled with traditional holiday foods, music, costumes, and beer.
Flatiron Hall (26th St. at Sixth Ave.)
It’s all too easy to let the hours slip by at Flatiron Hall, a two-story world unto itself in NoMad whose antique-filled, medieval-tinged (think circular, wrought-iron chandeliers and long wooden banquet tables) atmosphere sets the tone for long evenings of beer drinking. That said, beers here are decidedly not German; rather, they hail from Greenpoint Brewery located just across the East River. The 12 beers are each expertly crafted and ensure there’s something for everyone, be it the rich and espresso-tasting oatmeal stout, the crisp and dry pilsner, the smooth and simple golden lager, or the sweet cider. The menu here caters to all manner of beer-induced cravings with everything from wings and hummus to mac n’ cheese with bacon, so hunker down and keep the rounds coming as the world grows dark outside without your knowing.
Tavern on the Green (67th St. at Central Park West)
In the middle of Central Park, the iconic Tavern on the Green has gone through many shapes and iterations since it first opened in 1934, including, last year, the addition of a beer garden. While the main dining room requires a reservation and a pretty penny, the beer garden is happily a stop-in spot with a price point as easily palatable as its big fluffy pretzels. Fronting the restaurant, it occupies a brick patio lined with long picnic tables right near the vast green expanse of Sheep’s Meadow and offers a short selection of beers by the pint and pitcher, including Hoegaarden and Spaten, alongside burgers, lobster rolls, and chicken schnitzel. However, it’s worth checking Tavern on the Green’s Facebook page prior to going to time your pints with the beer garden’s ever-rotating roster of events such as tap takeovers from local breweries and Tecate-fueled Taco Tuesdays.
Reichenbach Hall (37th St. nr. Fifth Ave.)
A midtown party spot Reichenbach Hall hits all the right buttons for a German beer hall: large communal tables surrounded by a rambunctious crowd, enormous soft pretzels and all types of salty bratwursts, and waitresses dolled up in lederhosen bringing out round after round of German beer. Available by the half, full, and double liter, there are pilsners and bocks and hefeweizens and more (nothing sweet or fruity here), each as different and delicious as the last. Created by two grandchildren of German immigrants, it’s a truly German experience through and through, particularly during the annual German drinking holiday, though it is also self-proclaimed to “feel like Oktoberfest every day.”