It is impossible to think of Bavaria without brewed beer coming to mind, and there is a good reason for that: a centuries-old tradition involved in crafting the purest and most delicious beers in the world. And there is no better place to experience that that in one of the many beer halls in Munich. Here are my personal picks for the top traditional beer halls in the city.
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Location: Marienplatz 8 | Inside the New Town Hall
Opening: Mon-Sun 11:00 – 01:00
The Ratskeller has symbolized Munich’s lifestyle and gastronomy for decades. With 1,100 seats and 15 rooms in the heart of Munich, its unique environment with neo-Gothic vaults and in the impressive Prunkhof are in themselves a real attraction!
The six vaulted ceilings of this beer hall narrate in forty-eight presentations the history of beer drinking, the “Older and Newer History of Munich” and the “Bockrausch”. The paintings are quite funny and I can assure will you enjoy the stories painted there.
I can’t stress this enough, this place is simply one of the best in the whole city when it comes to traditional Bavarian food. But it gets pretty crowded already around lunchtime, so make sure to make a reservation.
My favorite dish coming from this place is the ‘Ratskeller Grillwürstl-Schmankerl’, a warm dish containing a variety of sausages accompanied by sauerkraut and mashed potatoes.
Location: Viktualienmarkt 15 | Near the Viktualienmarkt
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 00:00
Der Pschorr was founded by Joseph Pschorr, a brewer who set new standards to his art. He was the one to invent the first method of cooling beer, over two hundred years ago. In the winter he had long pieces of ice cut from the Isar River, and stored his beer on top of the ice allocated in deep vaults.
The place is really cozy and well lit. It has two levels with plenty of tables ready for small to very large groups. The staff is usually very busy, especially at night, but they manage to be very friendly and attentive to every single customer.
My favorite dish from this beer hall is definitely the Bratwurst. The seasoning is just perfect and the combination of potato salad and sauerkraut match very well the flavor of the sausages. To go with it, I always ask for either a Radler or a Russ’n, which are mixtures of beer with lemonade.
Location: Neuhauser Str. 27 | Between Karlsplatz and Marienplatz
Opening: Mon-Sat 09:00 – 00:00, Sun 10:00 – 00:00
The Augustinian Hermits built the Augustiner brewery in the 14th century, in order to support the economy of their monastery on the Haberfeld. Later on, Anton and Therese Wagner, a wealthy couple from Altaching purchased the brewery, making it the family business that it is today.
Since 1948, Manfred Vollmer holds the tenancy of the Augustiner Großgaststätten, keeping alive the tradition of the monks at the heart of Munich.
Although the place is relatively crowded, it has a nice ambiance to it. The building is one of the few historical places from Munich’s Art Nouveau period which remains unchanged. The staff simply couldn’t be more friendly, even joking around a couple of times.
This is the place I go when I want traditional Bavarian food with traditional ingredients, especially when it comes to pork, like pork knuckle. Apparently, they managed to score high with me in this category.
Location: Landsberger Str. 19 | Close to the Main Station (München Hbf)
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 00:00
This beer hall got its name from the term “Bräustüberl”, which in Bavaria refers to a tavern business connected to the brewery in which the brewed beer is served. The Bräustüberl is the perfect choice for someone in a hurry to travel since it is really close to the train station.
The place has a very cozy feel and is known among locals for being a non-expensive option regarding beer halls in Munich. More of a tavern than a restaurant, the atmosphere is definitely different from the other places in town.
My personal recommendation for the Bräustüberl is definitely the Bratpfandl: a mixed pan with the house specialties including duck, pork knuckle, roasted pork, cabbage salad and dumpling with dark beer gravy. And definitely do not forget to order a Starkbier to accompany the main dish.
Location: Platzl 9 | Couple of blocks after Marienplatz
Opening: Mon-Sun 09:00 – 23:30
Labeled “the world’s most famous beer hall”, Hofbräuhaus is the cradle of the Bavarian tavern culture. Built almost 500 years ago, it has its own brewery, butchery, bakery, and confectionery. All this effort goes to make sure that everything served is typically Bavarian.
The place is very crowded, especially during weekends and holidays, which consequently means that service is a bit busy and your food might take a while to arrive. Also, be prepared to hear some shouting from locals who had a bit too much to drink.
But the medieval architecture, the typically Bavarian frescos on the walls, and the delicious beer really compensate for the crowd. Another plus is that there is live traditional Bavarian music every day, all the year-round (except for Good Friday and All Hallows‘ Day).
Honestly, I come here mostly for the atmosphere and the beer, since the cost/benefit of the food is not the greatest to me. I always order a Maß (1L mug) of Helles Bier, or a glass of Weißbier (usually served in a 0,5L glass) if I am not really willing to drink too much.
Location: Nymphenburger Str. 2 | Two blocks away from Königsplatz
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 00:00
The name Löwenbräu is first mentioned in the beer catalogs of Munich in 1746/1747. The Löwenbräukeller was then opened in 1883, close to the brewery in Stiglmaierplatz. The brand currently belongs to InBev, the largest brewing company in the world.
This is definitely the quietest and coziest beer hall in town, especially for a brewery of this size. Here is the place to have a nice afternoon talking to friends over some good beer.
Location: Kapuzinerpl. 5 | Near Goetheplatz
Opening: Mon-Sat 11:00 – 00:00, Sun 11:00 – 23:00
Paulaner dates back from 1634 and comes from a very interesting source. The monks of the Munich monastery of Neudeck ob der Au had to craft a very strong beer to help them go through Lent (a period where they have to abdicate from eating). What was left was then given to the poor or sold in the taverns nearby. The beer then slowly started becoming famous throughout the region.
Although the Paulaner brewery has such a long history, the current building only became the Paulaner Bräuhaus in 1928, when Thomasbräu merged with the Paulaner brewery.
The place is very quiet inside, so you won’t hear people shouting everywhere like in other locations. The atmosphere gets even better after dawn, as the lights are slightly toned down, making it a lovely place for a romantic date.
When it comes to the big beer halls in Munich, this one really stands out both from the food and beer perspective. There is only one word to describe Paulaner: wuuunderbar. In my first visit, I ordered a typical Schnitzel and was pleasantly surprised by how much effort they put into making the dish interesting.
As you can see in the picture above, one of the pieces of chicken was crumbed not with bread but with tiny seeds and the other was covered with a cheese sauce, both served with gnocchi. The Helles beer here has a very particular flavor which made me fall in love with it from the first sip.