The first Oktoberfest was held 1810 as public celebration for a royal Bavarian wedding. In the ensuing two hundred years it has morphed into what’s been called the largest secular celebration on Earth. Its growing popularity has been fueled by pork, potato pancakes, the chicken dance, and lots of beer. As with other holidays, we Bay area residents put our own spin on the festivities. Here are six of the best local options:
Oktoberfest by the Bay
The area’s largest and most traditional Oktoberfest runs this Friday through Sunday. It boasts two alternating oompah bands, Bavarian folk dancers, sausages and related pork products, and an ocean of crisp Spaten. Friday and Saturday night sessions are 21 and older. If you want a guaranteed place to sit, easy access to food, a bar, and bathrooms, use the web site to order VIP tickets.
Oakland’s 5th annual festival is held in the Dimond District which was a turn of the century oasis of German beer gardens and vacation resorts. Although Oakland’s free street fest has German beer, food and entertainment, its broad offerings reflect the city’s diversity. Most of the beers are from local craft brewers, local food vendors sell a variety of fare, and the music runs the gamut from Bavarian to world beat. Avoid the lines by using the website to purchase drink ticket packages.
If you want a traditional Oktoberfest feeling in a smaller venue, make your way to Schroeder’s this Friday night for their fest kickoff. The restaurant will have traditional Oktoberfest entertainment and food for the next five Fridays. Of the 17 beers on tap, three will be fest brews.
Although they had their Oktoberfest opener last Saturday, Suppenkuche, pairs traditional German food with a serious collection of German, Austrian and Belgian brews, including five fest beers on draft.
If you just want to celebrate with a few friends in a cozy place, this is your respite. No brass bands, but plenty of traditional alpine food and three fest beers on draft.
If you want to observe Oktoberfest without hearing anyone sing Ein Prosit, book a reservation for your party here. While Schmidt’s food is German with a local twist, the beer menu is traditional. All October Schmidt’s is offering Märzen flights and food and drink specials.