What better time to welcome fall — with the end of swimsuit-fitness stress — than a holiday devoted to chomping down on brats with beer? Fortunately, Oktoberfest is here, and many city spots are keeping the German holiday running through the end of October. With autumn rolling in, plenty of places in the city — from beergardens to a Japanese restaurant — are ready to welcome you with this warmer-weather fare.
Chef Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen & Bar (299 Bowery, 212-933-5300) will be celebrating Oktoberfest to the max for the whole month. Every day from 5 to 7 p.m. through Oct. 31, enjoy a large stein of Hofbrau beer, regularly $15, for $8. They're also hosting a Beer and Brat dinner Oct. 2 with charcuterie, choucroute royale — a dish with braised sauerkraut and roasted vegetables — and dessert with, of course, unlimited Oktoberfest beers. Tickets are $75.
Hop over the Hudson River to Hoboken, known for boisterous celebrations of holidays involving beer and food. The brick-walled Pilsener Haus Biergarten (1422 Grand St., Hoboken, N.J. 201-683-5465), with its third annual Oktoberfest celebration, will have German brews alongside Austro-Hungarian eats like meatloaf and pork shank through Oct. 31. Get ready to grab your brew competitively, because they also host traditional Oktoberfest contests like mug-holding and keg-tapping.
The next time your coworkers are wondering where to celebrate Friday with a beer and some meaty apps, consider Blaue Gans (139 Duane St., 212-571-8880). They're anchoring their festivities with happy hours tomorrow and Oct. 4 (tickets are $47) with a cornucopia of unlimited beers like Licher, and bratwurst and currywurst sausages (würste). That's plus pretzels, doughnuts and strudel.
If you're the type that likes to get gastronomically involved, consider the National Bratwurst Eating Championship at Bierhaus NYC (712 Third Ave., 212-867-2337). It’s exactly one month away, Oct. 26, so you have some time to prepare. The second annual food fest will include No. 1-ranked competitive eater Jamie "The Bear" McDonald from Granby, Conn., to dominate sausages as a live band and emcee cheer on contestants. Last year, McDonald ate 33 bratwurst in eight minutes. Their other festivities include live music by acts like The Polka Brothers. Wash it all down at a long wooden table with one of six types of Hofbräu bier, or another of the 24 draft options.
Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten (7 Rivington St., 212-253-7077) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, so the party here includes a fleet of extra-special events. Another restaurant carrying the festivities through Oct. 31, they will feature a different beer every day, $8 for a half liter, $15 for a liter, including Hofbräu Oktoberfest, Weihenstephan Oktoberfest, Spaten Oktoberfest and Schneider Wiesen Edel-Weisse. Drop by on a Tuesday or Wednesday and keep the mug your brew arrives in. If you’d rather taste more than a few beers, get a $55 ticket for the Oktoberfest Beer Tasting Dinner Oct. 16, where guests try seven different beers in a three-course tasting. More focused on the brats than beers? Their Sausage Festival is Oct. 5 through 13, with a dozen different kinds ready for sampling.
Double up the culture
Not only beer — excuse us, bier — gardens are getting into the German holiday. Sen (12 W. 21st St., 212-388-5736) is showing New Yorkers a Japanese-style version though Oct. 6, boasting a flight of three Japanese beers, like lighter Sapporo or rice lager Echigo Koshihikari, with three dishes for $28. Their food, which they describe as classic but modern, includes sushi plates, rice pots and dumplings.