Munich’s most famous beer hall got that way for a reason. It’s not hard to have a good time in a place with a live folk band, a stein safe and dumplings. But to make sure you have the best time possible, here’s a list of things you should definitely not do:
1. Miss out.
Whether you have kids, a tight schedule, or you think a beer hall just isn’t for you, think again. This isn’t your dingy, corner pub. The Hofbrauhaus is an enormous, airy space, packed with history, culture (and beer), home to locals, foreigners and families. During the day and the early hours of the night, families squeeze their kids onto the long benches alongside everyone else. You have to eat somewhere, right? Forget the Hard Rock Cafe across the street – you’re in Munich now. So unless you’re fasting, fascist or carrying the plague, this really is the place to go.
2. Take a rain check on dinner
If they hadn’t been overshadowed by two World Wars, and their ability to build good cars, the Germans would be famous for their food. And these guys have really got it down. They have a menu translated into a couple of languages, but you won’t need it. You’ll order the pork knuckle, and then send me a teary letter of thanks.
3. Order Another
Or do, if you hated the first. Let me explain: in parts of Germany, depending on the dialect, ‘another one’ seems to translate more accurately as ‘a different one.’ So while you’ll definitely find yourself with a drink in your hand, it might be something completely different. Rather point at your glass and say ‘again,’ if your German is as bad as mine.
4. Stand on the Furniture.
This can be a little challenging, especially if you took my last piece of advice, and secretly think you would have been an excellent backup dancer. But trust me, resist the urge. They take this one quite seriously.
5. Keep to Yourself.
If your knowledge of Germanic culture comes from Asterix and Obelix comics, you’re in luck. The Hofbrauhaus will look exactly as you expect. It’s laid out in a series of long, shared tables and benches, and the patrons come from all over the world and all walks of life. If you find yourself seated between a Dutch doctoral candidate and a Venetian nun, believe me, you’re in for the evening of your life. Mingle.
6. Stare at the Ceiling
Yes, it is almost possible to make out the faint outlines of the old Swastika beneath the Bavarian scenes painted over it on the ceiling. No, you shouldn’t do it. The Hofbrauhaus was taken over by the Nazis as a meeting hall during the Second World War. For the history nuts among you, I agree that this is very interesting. But it will take you a good five or ten minutes to make it out (if you can). To the people who know what you’re doing, you’ll look like you have pretty poor taste. To the people who don’t, you’ll just look like an idiot.
7. Ask for the Wifi code.
I’m talking to you, Millennials. Get off of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Put the selfie stick away. The Hofbrauhaus has been a functioning brewery since 1592, and is a celebration of culture, history and community. Eat the pork knuckle and talk to the nun.