Cheers and Prosit! What could be better than spending a sunny summer day in a genuine beer garden? Whether in Bavaria or in the northern states, going to a beer garden has not only a long tradition in Germany, it is also an expression of sociability and joie de vivre. Typical beer benches under shady trees, a cool drink and a hearty snack – what more does one need? But what exactly is the unique charm of the genuine German beer gardens? We have taken a look around the country and put together our personal favorites for the most beautiful beer gardens in Germany.
The beer gardens have their historical origin in Bavaria. At the beginning of the 19th century, when beer was being stored in cellars under chestnut trees for cooling in summer, the first brewers came up with the idea of selling beer directly on the spot. The first of these “beer cellars” were built in the Isar district and in Munich, and many beer gardens still bear the word “Keller” in their name today. But soon the beer cellars became serious competitors for inns and gastronomers.
Therefore, in 1812, King Maximilian I enforced a regulation that allowed the beer cellars to continue serving beer, but barred them from selling food and other beverages in the beer garden. This verdict still forms the basis of beer garden culture today: In some beer gardens in Munich, it is still customary for guests to bring their own food and eat it at the beer tables. By now, most beer gardens are divided into a self-service area and one with service personnel. In the latter, often marked by tablecloths on the beer benches, brought along snacks may not be consumed.
It is probably one of the most popular and well-known beer gardens in Munich – the beer garden at the Chinese Tower. In the middle of the English Garden around the Chinese Pagoda, there is room for 7,000 visitors and they can fortify themselves with a “Maß” of beer, knuckle of pork, chicken, bratwurst or a real Bavarian snack with “Obatzda” cheese and pretzels. If the weather allows it, this beer garden is open from Monday to Friday between 12 and 23 o’clock, on weekends from 11 to 23 o’clock. On Wednesdays and during weekends, Bavarian brass bands provide a traditional beer garden atmosphere.
Also in the north of Bavaria – in Franconia – the beer cellar culture is still omnipresent. For example in Bamberg, where there are some recommendable beer gardens. Especially beautiful is the Spezial-Kellar, which is situated on a hill surrounded by sycamore trees and offers wonderful views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the old town with Bamberg Cathedral and the historic city center.
The smoked beer typical for the city as well as other brewing specialties are tapped in stone jugs and classic Franconian dishes such as pork shanks with cabbage and dumplings are served. Up to 700 guests can enjoy the Bamberg panorama from the cellar. Monday is a day of rest, Tuesdays to Thursdays the cellar is open from 3 to 10 pm, Fridays from 3 to 11 pm, Saturdays from 2 to 11 pm and on Sundays from 10:30 to 4 pm
It couldn’t be more central: Directly at the main station, the beer garden in Stuttgart’s Schlossgarten invites you to spend relaxing and cozy hours with freshly tapped beer and Swabian specialties such as Maultauschen or lentils with Spätzle. In the afternoon, a cup of coffee is also provided. A special highlight is the regular morning pint on Sunday mornings or changing events such as the Festival of Lights or the Country Night every first Saturday of the month. Children are also well catered for, and there is a playground with climbing walls and slides. 2,000 seats are available to visitors daily from 10.30 am to 01.00 am.
The most beautiful beer garden in the financial metropolis of Frankfurt is located directly on the river Main. As part of the designer hotel Gerbermühle, the beer garden of the same name is an idyllic oasis under cherry trees with a view of the city skyline. Unlike most beer gardens in Germany, not only beer is being sold here, but also the notorious Äppelwoi – a dry apple wine – is being served. Together with Handkäs – a cheese made from low-fat curd, optionally with caraway or in onion marinade – it is one of the typical dishes of the region.
The history of the former mill is also special. No less a person than Johan Wolfgang von Goethe visited the tanner mill several times between 1814 and 1815. The building is said to have inspired the famous writer to verses in some of his famous works (including Faust I). Today, there is a Goethe Room and a commemorative plaque in the tanner mill, which refer to the important poet.
Northern Germany’s largest beer garden radiates village charm. Landhaus Walter, an old brick house in Hamburg’s large city park, is surrounded by the cosy beer garden. Under beautiful lime trees, a total of 1500 seats are at their guest´s disposal. At big events in the city park, up to 5000 guests drop by.
Even Bavarian cuisine is popular up north, pretzels with obazda, buns with “Leberkäse” or Nuremberg bratwursts are served here. With the large park at the back and the in-house playground, children are also very welcome here. On many Sundays, the beer garden also hosts various morning pint concerts. The beer garden is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 16 o’clock, Sundays from 12 o’clock.
In the heart of Berlin, in the green lung of the city – the Tiergarten – you will find the beer garden of the Café am Neuen See. Country house flair, tall trees, Mediterranean plants and lots of peace and quiet promise a wonderful stay in Berlin’s most traditional beer garden. In addition, there is the view of the lake. The offer ranges from classic Bavarian beer garden food such as pretzels and Leberkäse to crispy stone-baked pizza from the in-house woodburner.
For the fire, CO²-neutral beech wood from Brandenburg forest, which has been stored for two years, is used. The adjoining boat rental offers rowing boat trips on the New Lake, which is also a nice alternative for children and teenagers when they are not romping around in the beer garden playground.
The beer garden, named after the famous poet, is located directly on the banks of the Elbe and offers guests a view of the suspension bridge and landmark of the city. Unofficially, the Loschwitz bridge is called Blaues Wunder (Blue Wonder) because of its construction method and the light blue brushed steel girders
The Elbe panorama of the Schillergarten is enchanting, in addition to delicious home-style and regional food such as Saxon sauerbraten (with raisin sauce), tempting desserts from the in-house patisserie and the Pichmännl beer, still known from GDR times. The Schillergarten has room for about 1,000 guests and opens daily from 11 am.
Organic “Kölsch” beer is available in Cologne’s most beautiful beer garden. The beer garden at the Volksgarten, run by the Hellers Brewery, is a place full of life and the typical Cologne cheerfulness. This is where the genuine summer “op Kölsch” is celebrated: whether it’s the choice of beer (large selection of different organic beers), hearty food or the relaxed pedal boat ride on the adjacent pond, here you can easily and comfortably spend a few hours. In good weather the beer garden is open daily from 14 to 22 o’clock.
A picture-book beer garden: In Freiburg, the chestnut garden, located above the city roofs at the foot of the Schlossberg, has a special beer garden flair. From here you have a view of the landmarks Schwabentor and Freiburg Cathedral, while the river Dreisam meanders leisurely through the city. As one of the oldest beer gardens in southern Baden, it is surrounded by tall and very old chestnut trees. Decorated by light strings, the trees add to a wonderful atmosphere in the evening.
In summer, a pleasant breeze blows through the chestnut garden, which can be especially soothing during the sultry summer nights in Freiburg. The food in the beer garden, whose kitchen is run by the associated restaurant Greiffenegg, is classic: white sausage, sausage salad, pretzels with obazda and co. are available on a self-service basis, beer comes in half-liter or liter jugs. The Freiburg beer garden is open daily from 12 to 23 o’clock.
We would like to introduce a very special beer garden at the end of our best list. One of the most beautiful beer gardens in Germany is not located in Bavaria, but in North Rhine-Westphalia. To be more precise, in the Stadtwald of Krefeld, where a beer garden with 3000 outdoor seats is operated in the listed Stadtwaldhaus.
The location in the middle of the forest is not only ideal for beer garden friends: guests can go pedal boating on the pond or do some sunbathing on the lawn. The menu offers some highlights: besides Black Angus rump steak or medium rare roast beef, there are also many vegan and vegetarian dishes that are bursting with creativity. Among them are for example the vegan sweet potato curry or the beetroot carpaccio