As soon as there is the slightest hint of warm or nice weather, Biergarten across Bavaria will start popping up. Those long wooden tables and large umbrellas will begin to be set up. But even in the colder months or in bad weather you can always turn to your favorite Wirtshaus, or pub.
When we talk specifically about Munich restaurants, many serve traditional Bavarian food in addition to having a friendly, joyful, and fun atmosphere. And, of course, they service that internationally famous Munich beer. I want to share some of my favorite Biergarten in Munich. Plus I want to make sure you know all the ins and outs you’ll need to know for your next meal!
Table of Contents
Biergarten vs Wirtshaus: What’s the Difference?
A Biergarten is an open-air collection of tables where you can buy beer or drinks. A Wirtshaus is a pub or restaurant. A Wirtshaus may have a Biergarten outside where they provide table service. Or they might also have a self-service area where you can buy your own drinks and if you wish, food.
You might also see a small stand that sells beer and drinks with tables (a Biergarten) but doesn’t really sell food. Maybe they sell pretzels and other snacks. Some offer full meals but it’s all usually cafeteria-style from kiosks or permanent outdoor buildings.
Traditionally, at self-service Biergarten you can bring your own food but the rule is you must buy your drinks from the Biergarten. The Biergarten in Munich are pretty much just like the Biergarten across Germany. So this information will apply fully or partially wherever you go.
Here are a few quick and easy tips to help make your next visit to a Biergarten in Munich more pleasant. Don’t forget to learn a little German for your next trip to make things that much easier, too!
Tablecloth vs No Tablecloth
Some Biergarten offer table service and/or self-service. This is usually the case for restaurants with outdoor seating. You can tell the difference, usually, by a sign (something like “Selbstservice”) indicating self-service. Meanwhile, a table with a tablecloth indicates table service. Some visitors to the Biergarten do bring their own tablecloths for the self-service section so be sure to check!
For self-service, food and drink are available at stands (“Schränke”) where you can order or pick up what you’re interested in. Generally, there’s a separate stand where you pay.
For table service, grab a menu off the table and hold tight! A waiter or waitress will be over to take your order shortly!
Ist hier frei?
Biergarten and Wirtshaus are communal affairs. If the place is packed look for an empty seat. If someone is already sitting at the table, ask “Ist hier frei?” (“Is this seat empty?”) Even if you don’t speak any German you’ll likely get a universally translatable nod or shake of the head.
In order to discourage visitors from walking off with the glass beer mugs (Kruge), some Biergarten will add in a deposit to the price of a drink. It’s usually only a Euro or two. At purchase time you’ll receive a small coin or token. Before you leave the Biergarten, take your mug and the token to the Pfand Zürückgabe, or Deposit Return. You’ll get your deposit back.
While not every Biergarten will have Steckerlfisch they’re worth grabbing one when you can! You’re less likely to find these treats in Munich restaurants as they’re more of a Biergarten thing.
Steckerlfisch are fish roasted on sticks. Salty and flavorful, you buy a fish by weight, usually an entire fish at a time. It’s a very Bavarian specialty that’s worth experiencing.
Biergarten in Munich
They say that Hirschgarten is not only the largest Biergarten in Munich but in the world. Nestled just east of Schloss Nymphenburg and surrounded by the Hirschgarten Park, it is an oasis as far as Munich restaurants go.
During the peak summer season, it can become very touristy. This is true for most, if not all, of the Munich restaurants. But more often than not you will find locals flocking to this restaurant and watering hole. This is especially true at the end of the workday or when schools let out for the day.
Königlicher Hirschgarten is comprised of a restaurant, both indoors and out, and an outdoor Biergarten. The menu at the restaurant is large with many options to choose from. The dishes are always guaranteed to be tasty. You can find traditional Bavarian food as well as their take on more international cuisine.
If you’re looking to bring your own food, stalls operate self-service for the Biergarten. There you can order drinks, food, and sweets.
Be sure to check out the fenced area near the Steckerlfisch stand. There you will find a small herd of deer. Also take a walk through the thoroughly urban park before you go, too. There are built-in ping pong tables and even a small skate park.
For me, a visit to Hirschgarten is a ritual. It’s the first Biergarten in Munich I visit when I arrive. Heck, it’s more than the first of the Munich restaurants I visit. It’s the first place of any kind I visit!
Königlicher Hirschgarten, Hirschgarten 1, 80639 München
Restaurant am Chinesischen Turm
The Restaurant am Chinesischen Turm is a well known site and landmark in Englischer Garten. And on nearly any nice day you’ll find the Biergarten packed. It’s a favorite of guidebooks, tours, and tourists. But there are plenty of locals there, too. For many people, this is considered THE Biergarten in Munich to experience.
A restaurant operates in a central location across from the tower. But it’s small compared to the Biergarten. Through the turnstiles, you’ll find the food and drink stalls offering a wide range of options. On offer are traditional dishes, salads, and even desserts. Many choose to grab a drink and a giant pretzel then settle in at one of the long green Biergarten tables under the chestnut trees. For many, this Biergarten in Munich is a city institution.
Restaurant am Chinesischen Turm, Englischer Garten 3, 80538 München
The Augustiner Keller in Munich is similar to Hirschgarten but a bit of a more urban version of a Biergarten in Munich. Huge chestnut trees tower over the Biergarten where you can help yourself to food and drink at the stalls then grab a seat at a bench. It has a more laid back, casual atmosphere that suits families and meeting up with friends. You’ll find it’s a popular family-friendly spot with a playground for the kids. The brewery also operates a restaurant that overlooks this Munich Biergarten.
It’s also extremely easy to get to the Munich Augustiner Keller. It’s located a short walk from Hackerbrücke and the central bus station.
Augustiner Keller, Arnulfstraße 52, 80335 München
While the downtown Altstadt area around Marienplatz can be an absolute zoo, there are some Munich restaurants in quieter spots if you know where to look. Back behind the Frauenkirche is one of those places. Frauenplatz, as the small square is called, has a very modern-looking fountain sunken into the ground and the walls of the church rise up above you. And that’s where Augustiner Klosterwirt sits.
The location from, arguably, the city’s best brewery has seating indoors and out. Inside the restaurant is fully updated and modernized while still keeping with the brewery feel. Lots of stone and sheet metal.
But it’s their traditional Bavarian food specialties (beer included!) that you’ll be visiting for. If you’re in town during late spring during Spargel Saison (asparagus season), be sure to indulge in a plate of the plump white vegetables served with either melted butter or Hollandaise sauce.
There is no self-service section here. The staff is used to tourists and each staff member displays the languages he or she speaks with a flag designation on his or her name tag.
Augustiner Klosterwirt, Augustinerstraße 1, 80331 München
Wirtshaus im Braunauer Hof
I have an admission to make. I didn’t want to like Wirtshaus im Braunauer Hof. The relatively new restaurant moved into the location after the original and long-running Braunauer Hof restaurant decided to close. I’d been to the old restaurant several times and loved the authentic old-school feel. It was one of the special Munich restaurants I enjoyed that was serving traditional Bavarian food that you can’t get at every restaurant. Indeed, I always knew I’d be able to get Jägerschnitzel from their daily menu. I felt a loyalty to the restaurant. I didn’t want to like the new Wirtshaus. But I do. A lot.
Freshly renovated but still maintaining the classic built-in wooden benches and tables, Wirtshaus im Braunauer Hof offers a more modern take on traditional Bavarian food that appeals as much to the older regulars as to younger newcomers.
The staff is attentive and friendly. And if you visit on a nice day, be sure to grab a table in their thoroughly Munich Biergarten outback. It’s very charming and it’s easy to forget that you’re steps away from busy Isartor.
Wirtshaus im Braunauer Hof, Frauenstraße 42, 80469 München
Augustiner am Platzl
More than one Munich local has told me that Augustiner is their favorite city brewery. But, for whatever reasons, the tourists flock to the Platzl area to visit Hofbräuhaus or Hard Rock Cafe. Instead, take my tip and avoid the crowds (or the largest crowds) and go across the street to Augustiner am Platzl. It’s one of the Munich restaurants that’s overshadowed unnecessarily by its neighbors.
The charming Munich restaurant has all the Bavarian charm you’d expect: wood-paneled walls, cozy booths, and plenty of local decor. Augustiner am Platzl offers friendly service and serves large portions of wonderful food. But don’t expect it to stay quiet for long! Locals and visitors alike keep things lively at the popular restaurant!
Augustiner am Platzl, Orlandostraße 5, 80331 München
Hofbräuhaus needs no introduction. The brewery is owned by the Bavarian state government and the restaurant at the Platzl is arguably the most famous of all the Munich restaurants. And their Munich beer is known around the world. Tourists flock to experience the traditional atmosphere. Brass bands, locals in Trachten, pretzels bigger than your head, and all the traditional Bavarian food you can eat and all the beer you can drink.
The restaurant is really sprawling. And when it’s busy it can take several laps before you can find empty spots. On nice days, be sure to grab a seat outside in the Biergarten in the center courtyard of the restaurant.
If you’re looking for a quieter experience, visit just after opening. They may not be serving food yet but you’ll still be able to get a drink.
If you’re looking for the Biergarten in Munich experience, this probably isn’t the first place to start.
Hofbräuhaus, Platzl 9, 80331 München
If you’re looking to be in the heart of the action, Schneider Bräuhaus is in Tal, located between Marienplatz, Platzl, Viktualienmarkt, and Isartor. The restaurant has a small selection of outdoor seating (the sidewalk seating is not quite a proper Munich Biergarten) but all the fun is inside! A band regularly sits at the door playing while staff hustle around the restaurant taking and filling orders. While it’s usually quite busy, I’ve never had to wait long for food or drink there. But if there is a wait, the food is worth it! Schneider Bräuhaus is one of the Munich restaurants that has been recognized for its traditional Bavarian food with an “Ausgezeichnete Bayerische Küche.” It’s a friendly spot to enjoy an afternoon and meet some new people.
Schneider Bräuhaus, Tal 7, 80331 München
Located on Stiglmaierplatz, the Löwenbräukeller is one of a number of historic Munich restaurants. The brewery’s offices are just across the street. The restaurant can seat thousands of thirsty and hungry customers both outside in the Munich Biergarten and inside at their cavernous restaurant. And don’t forget to come hungry. Löwenbräukeller is serving up classic and traditional Bavarian food in addition to its trademark Munich beer brews.
Löwenbräukeller, Nymphenburger Str. 2, 80335 München
While no one could accuse Munich of being too urban, it just takes a short trip to the suburbs to really get a taste of Bavaria. The small, sleepy village of Aying comes alive quite quickly. That’s thanks in large part to Ayinger Beer, the town’s brewery, and the beer brand’s restaurant and Biergarten. The charming town is well worth a visit — if only for a drink and a meal!
In the heart of the town is the Ayinger Bräustüberl. In warm weather, the fun is all outside. But the restaurant’s wood-paneled interior isn’t to be missed either. The staff is friendly and helpful.
The food, traditional and hearty Bavarian fare, is delicious. The giant Schnitzel is no misnomer, it lives up to its promise. And be sure to leave room for dessert. The Apfelkucherl, fried apple slices covered in cinnamon and sugar, with vanilla ice cream is the perfect finish to any meal.
If you’re looking for something a little lighter or more casual, the self-service section of the Biergarten is where you want to be. Just stop by the stand on the side of the restaurant for food and drink.
The just-outside-of-Munich Biergarten and restaurant are popular and they can both get busy quickly! The place is a popular watering hole for cyclists. The activity and excitement add to the fun atmosphere.
Ayinger Brästüberl, Münchener Str. 2, 85653 Aying
Where To Stay
If you’re planning to visit a Biergarten in Munich (or two) and enjoy some of that famous Munich beer, your best bet is to make the city your home base to explore Bavaria and the surrounding area.
My personal recommendations are the family-owned Hotel Laimer Hof and the Holiday Inn Express Munich City West, both of which are located in the western part of the city. Both are only a short walk to my favorite Munich Biergarten, Hirschgarten.
But if you’re looking to stay more centrally, there are many good options for every budget. The benefit of a more downtown local means closer proximity to Munich restaurants and sightseeing. (Luckily that famous Munich beer you can find just about everywhere!)
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Thank you to München Tourismus for hosting me at Augustiner Klosterwirt. All photos, as well as all opinions, are my own. This post contains affiliate links.