Oktoberfest in New York City Is Nearly Upon Us

September 14, 2011

The official 2011 Oktoberfest celebration in Munich rolls out with all its full-stein and weird-giant-heart-shaped-cookie glory this Saturday, September 17. But for those of us who are too broke or too busy to go overseas this year (this includes me), we’ll have to find something to do stateside — more specifically, in our own cities. And there’s a whole lotta partying going on in New York City.

Beer Goggins enjoys a mass krug of Spaten.

Clare Goggin

For me, there are only a select few spots I’d choose to spend this historic festival mostly because I don’t dress up in lederhosen, I like good beer and I’m cheap. Here’s where I’d wanna be during the two week celebration of Oktoberfest … Which actually takes place at the end of September but, in some cases, it’s in October:

Oktoberfest at Zum Schneider: I’ve attended the Oktoberfest at Zum Schneider a few times over the years, enjoyed several delicious German brews, devoured awesome pretzels and even sustained a couple injuries, actually. If you can get in the front door, this is one of the best spots to celebrate Oktoberfest in the city. But the line starts forming two to three hours before the doors open so be prepared to get there early. If not, you’ll likely be in line the entire day or get relegated to the bar. There’s also outdoor seating, which is a huge draw but that typically goes first and you’ll miss the live oompah band (Mosl Franzi and the Ja Ja Ja’s) playing inside.
No cover charge, September 24 – October 9, hours vary depending on the day; 107 Ave. C, East Village

Oktoberfest at Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden: Perhaps I’m a touch biased since the Astoria Beer Garden is only about ten blocks from my apartment so I don’t even have to use my MetroCard. But I’d certainly make the argument that this is a great place to dip into Oktoberfest even if you do have to take the N train out to Astoria Boulevard. The oldest authentic beer garden in New York City, this place offers good food, good beer (even a few local options) and a huge outdoor area where you can either sit in smoking or non-smoking if you’re so inclined. Over the years, there’s been some weird developments here (Saturday night poker games — what the heck is that about?) but the majority of the bridge and tunnel folk have been absorbed by Studio Square in Long Island City so this place has gotten a lot of its personality and integrity back and I like it. Full details are yet to come and there may be a small door charge but otherwise, beer and food will be affordable and this should be a good time.
Entrance fee: TBD, October 1 – 9, all day (check the official site for hours); 29-19 24th Ave., Astoria

Oktoberfest at Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn: While I typically don’t make it out to Staten Island for Oktoberfest (or anything for that matter), I like riding on boats and since the Staten Island Ferry is free, all the better. Of course, once I get there, I have to get on the Staten Island subway and then walk a whole bunch but maybe one of my Staten Island friends would be willing to give me a ride, yes? Either way, this party is worth the trip. The events begin Friday with a ceremonial tapping of the firkin and festivities will continue through September. This Sunday, there’s an Oktoberfest beer tasting as well — doesn’t appear to have an entrance fee but reservations are strongly recommended. There’s also an outdoor area here along with regular live music.
No cover (so far as I can tell), Starts Friday, September 16, hours vary; 4254 Arthur Kill Road, Staten Island

Feel free to tell me about any other good local events that I might have missed!

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