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July 2002

Beer We Go Again

Munich Found staffers praise a half dozen of their favorite Biergärten

Hirschgarten Hirschgarten 1 Tel. (089) 17 25 91 Open daily 9 am to midnight With more than 8,000 seats the Hirschgarten is the largest beer garden in Germany. One of its main attractions is the built-in babysitter—a herd of fenced-in Hirsche, or deer, after which the picnic oasis is named. Bucks and does provide hours of docile distraction for kids and parents in need of a little downtime. Though located in the fairly affluent Nymphenburg district, the Hirschgarten is refreshingly devoid of Munich’s uppity “jet set,” who are more inclined to flock to trendier beer gardens. In addition to serving the popular and delicious Augustiner Edelstoff brew and standard beer-garden fare, the Hirschgarten offers numerous seasonal and game specials to those who sit in the full service section. The extensive grounds also boast numerous lawns, for those who wish to grill, and playgrounds and playing fields for those who wish to work up a thirst first or work off some spare ribs after.

Augustiner-Keller Arnulfstr. 52 Tel. (089) 59 43 93 Open daily 10 am to 1 am This garden, located near the Hauptbahnhof, yet surprisingly isolated from the hustle and bustle found beyond its hedge-lined picket fence, is perhaps the favorite among Munich residents. Under the shade of massive chestnut trees, diners from all walks of life—bikers, bookkeepers, seniors, juniors, yuppies, wannabes and a cast of colorful regulars—savor the flavor of good food, superior drink and an amiable atmosphere. One note of caution: if you wish to have a truly enjoyable visit at the Augustiner-Keller, it’s advisable to brave the lines at the self-service area as a handful of the staff in the full-service section are quite caustic.

Waldwirtschaft Grosshesselohe Georg-Kalb-Strasse 3 Tel. (089) 74 99 40 30 Open daily 9 am to 11 pm The “Wawi” is one of the city’s most genteel beer gardens. With its Sunday jazz performances and adjacent restaurant, which serves upmarket fare, the Waldwirtschaft is for those who are turned off by rowdy crowds. But you don’t have to be a local politician, record producer or professional soccer player to appreciate what this garden has to offer: a tastefully rustic atmosphere at the edge of a forest, a diverse beer garden menu, which includes freshly prepared wok specialties, and even a playground and a miniature golf course. Parking is a problem here but, if you plan to imbibe, you’ll want to leave the car at home anyway.

Aumeister Sondermeierstr. 1 Tel. (089) 32 52 24 Open Tues.–Sun. 9 am to 11 pm Chewy pretzels, creamy Obatzda, large portions, low prices and one of the friendliest service teams around can be found on the northern tip of the English Garden at Aumeister. The establishment’s intimate 2,500-seat beer garden is flanked by its fine restaurant, housed in the former hunting lodge (1810) of Prince Regent Luitpold.

Taxisgarten Taxisstr. 12 Tel. (089) 15 68 27 Open daily 10:30 am to 10:30 pm Around the corner from a couple of hospitals, a church and a plot of allotments (Schräbergärten) the Taxisgarten is among the quietest beer gardens in Munich. With few spots for the sun to shine through lush chestnut trees, it may also be one of the shadiest—great for those who wish to wet their whistles without the danger of a pounding headache! In addition to the usual beer garden grub from the grill—spare ribs, chicken and sausages—Taxisgarten boasts a lovingly stocked salad bar, where picnickers can purchase a healthful variety of cold dishes by the pound. Though beer tapper and cook alike can be harried and grumpy, the garden’s cashiers deserve the coins that are thrown into their tip jars.

Insel-Mühle Von-Kahr-Strasse 37 Tel. (089) 81 01 10 Open daily 11 am to 11 pm If you are up for a pleasant bike ride to Untermenzing, you will enjoy refreshments at this small, 800-seat beer garden. The Insel-Mühle is popular not only because of its luxuriantly green surroundings, but because of its attractive location overlooking the stream of a former corn mill. Those wishing to find accommodations for visiting friends and family may consider booking a room at the renovated mill’s on-site hotel. One great incentive to leave the city center is this beer garden’s beer special. A Mass costs just € 3.50 until 5 pm.

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