Thinking about heading to Oktoberfest in 2018? The fest starts Sept. 22, but NOW is the time to start planning, especially if you want table reservations in one of the famous beer tents at the . Chris and I have been twice to the Munich celebration and highly recommend a visit, either with or without kids — there’s something for everyone at Oktoberfest! Last year, I spent a huge amount of time trying to secure table reservations in the beer tents at the Oktoberfest. This year, I’d like to share what I learned about that process. I’ll warn you that it can be frustrating, but the payoff was us having a great time with 14 of our friends and family members for three days at Oktoberfest!
At the bottom of this post, you’ll also find links to the large tents at Oktoberfest and the most recent information I could find about when each accepts reservations. The first will start accepting requests in January 2018, so get to work!
I’ve written before about tent reservations at Oktoberfest (here and here) but as a refresher, there are 12 large tents, each of which hold thousands of people. There are reserved and unreserved sections at each tent, but during the evenings and especially during the weekends, it can be tough to find a spot and require a lot of patience and waiting in lines if you don’t have reservations. Spots in Oktoberfest tents can only be reserved by the table; the smallest I’ve seen in for 6, but most will have a minimum of 8 or 10. This is significant because while there isn’t technically a “charge” for the table reservation, you have to prepay a certain amount of food — usually equal to two beers and a meal — for each seat at the table a couple months before the Oktoberfest.
By the way, if you are questioning whether or not to bring your kids to Oktoberfest I’d suggest reading this post and this post. Idea of what to do other than the fest? Look here. If you are looking for a place to stay, by the way, we really enjoyed Citadines Arnulfpark Munich and it was very convenient to the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. While it is in more a “business-y” district, there is a tram right outside the hotel and the stop for the Oktoberfest grounds is only two stops away.
My table reservation checklist for Oktoberfest!
- Decide whether you need table reservations. If you are only a couple of people or are a group of people who are happy to visit the tents in the morning or early afternoon, you can probably skip it. Have a big group or want to go to the tents in the late afternoon or evening? Get to work.
- Decide when you are going. The 2018 Oktoberfest runs from Saturday, Sept. 22 to Sunday, Oct. 7. You need to decide what period of time you are prepared to be there so you know what days to ask for on your reservation requests. Props if you can be there mid-week, you’ll have a better chance of getting reservations.
- Mark your calendar with application dates. Set up a reminder so that you know, for instance, on March 4 you should send your reservations request to Armbrustschutzenzelt.
- Create a spreadsheet or word document. List every tent and keep track of EVERY communication you have from each, as they’ll start to blend together quickly. In several cases last year, despite the information printed on the website, I received emails telling me to try back again in a month or two after the date they had supposedly begun accepting reservations. Being better organized would have saved me some time and headaches.
- Apply everywhere. For real. Don’t hesitate to make requests for the same day from different tents because you aren’t going to be able to get reservations everywhere you try, probably only a fraction of them. Last year I applied everywhere and ended up with four possible reservations, two of which I took. When you are offered a reservation they’ll be an initial “activation code” you’ll enter on their website to accept; I’d accept all of them because nothing is final until you pay up a few months before the fest.
- Don’t ignore the smaller tents. There are several smaller tents at the Oktoberfest, and they can be good options as well for a fun evening. The only place I was able to get a reservation that went until the end of the night one of the days was the Heinz Wurst und Huehnerbraterei, a smaller tent, and we had a blast!
And now — the tents of Oktoberfest!
Pschorr-Brausol: Accepting reservations starting in January 2018; inquiries for lunch reservations can be sent directly to Mrs. Brandt-Witte at email@example.com. You need to fill out this form. Website: http://heidevolm.de/braeurosl/reservierungen/
Paulaner Festzelt (Winzerer Festhalle): This is the largest test at Oktoberfest! Updated information on when reservations open up is not available on the website, but last year it opened in mid-January. Check the website at http://www.winzerer-faehndl.com/reservierung.html for the online inquiry form.
Schutzen-Festzelt: Website says it will accept reservations via its online form starting Feb. 1, 2018. https://www.schuetzenfestzelt.com/reservierung-menues
Kufflers Weinzelt: Website says it will accept reservations via an online form starting in February. http://www.weinzelt.com/de/reservierung/ This is one of the two tents we had reservations in last year!
Schottenhamel: Starts accepting reservations via an inquiry form on its website “starting from” February 2018. Check https://festhalle-schottenhamel.de/en/reservation/reservation
Armbrustschutzenzelt: Will start accepting reservations at 8 a.m. on March 4, but only by FAX or LETTER. For what its worth, I sent a letter last year and never heard anything back so I’d try fax if I were you. You can find the number here: https://www.armbrustschuetzenzelt.de/reservierung/reservierungsanfrage/
Lowenbrau-Festhalle: Will start accepting reservations via e-mail in March 2018, but be aware they don’t take evening reservations. Send reservations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.loewenbraeuzelt.de/reservierungen/
Ochsenbraterei: Accepting reservations in March 2018. You’ll need to send an e-mail with “your desired date (also several possible), number of persons, time as well as your name and address” to email@example.com. The website: http://www.ochsenbraterei.de/reservierungen/
Augustiner: Accepting reservations as of March 2018. Visit http://www.festhalle-augustiner.com/html/reservierungsanfrage_en.html
Marstall: Will start accepting reservations in March 2018 on this webpage: http://www.marstall-oktoberfest.de/reservierung.htm
Hacker-Festhalle: Will start accepting reservations “about March/April” 2018 on this page: http://hacker-festzelt.de/reservierung/
Kafer’s Wiese’n-Shanke: Website says it will accept reservations via its online form starting in April. https://www.feinkost-kaefer.de/oktoberfest
Fischer-Vroni: Will start accepting reservations in May 2018. Check back on their website, http://www.fischer-vroni.de/reservation.htm