Your Oktoberfest survival guide

Top Tips

1. Don’t wear flip flops!

By 9pm at the latest there a pools and trails of various liquids all over the Hofbräuhaus tent floor, so wearing flip flops is ill advised! Also, having a 1L Maß dropped on a bar foot hurts like hell. So come prepared – in proper shoes.

2. You need a table

If you get there later in the day, chances are you may struggle to get a table in the most popular tents. So either get there or early or don’t be shy and join another group at their table. As you will not get served without a table, you have to be seated. Ingeniously stopping a passing waitress whilst you’re still standing in the corridor will not get you a beer either – find a table.

3. Say yes to pretzels

“Brezel” is a local salty baked snack, commonly served with beer. It’s widely available all over the Wies’n and is a miracle cure for excessive beer consumption. The salt seems to soak up a lot of alcohol, helps sober you up (to a certain degree) and wards off the worst of the hangover the next day. We highly recommend it!

4. Check out the German beer tents

If you’ve had enough of the raucous, Southern hemisphere-dominated Hofbräuhaus tent, head to one of the “more German” beer tents favoured by the locals, such as Spaten or Hacker. They are generally a little more laid back, serve good food and some have nice beer gardens to relax in on sunny days.

Useful Vocabulary

das Bier (n.) beer
die Maß (f.) Stein (1L Bavarian beer)
das Glas (n.) glass
der Masskrug (m.) 1L Bavarian beer mug
die Wies’n (f.) Bavarian name for the area where the beerfest takes place
Entschuldigung. Excuse me
Wie komme ich zur Wies’n?  How do I get to the Wies’n?
die Brauerei (f.) brewery
das Brauhaus (n.) beer hall
trinken to drink
Ich möchte bestellen. I’d like to order
Ein/ zwei/ drei/ vier/ fünf Bier bitte. 1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5 beer please.
die Grillhaxe (f.) Roast knuckle (generally of pork) with crackling
die Haxe (f.) Boiled knuckle (generally of pork)
das Sauerkraut (n.) Traditional Bavarian cabbage
der Kartoffelknödel (m.) Potato dumpling
der Semmelknödel (m.) Bread dumpling
die Brezel (f.) Pretzel (Bavarian snack)
Was kostet das? How much is it?
Zahlen bitte. I’d like to pay please
essen to eat
Hallo Hello
Ich heiße …. My name is….
Ich komme aus I am from…
die Achterbahn (f.) rollercoaster
das Karussell (n.) carousel
das Dirndl (n.) traditional Bavarian dress for ladies
die Lederhose (f.) traditional Bavarian leather trousers
die Tracht (f.) traditional Bavarian dress
die Gaudi (f.) fun
Ich bin betrunken. I am drunk
Ich bin blau. I am drunk (very informal)
Mir ist schlecht. I feel sick
Wo sind die Toiletten? Where are the toilets?
Ich brauche einen Arzt. I need a doctor
die Kopfschmerztabletten headache tablets

For more Bavarian slang, visit the official Oktoberfest website:

Visit the Cactus Language website for full details of German courses in Munich

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