As per the German custom, it’s time to celebrate beer again. Oktoberfest begins on Saturday, Sept. 17, with 16 days of Bavarian cookouts, giant steins and parties all over town. We’ve got your best bets for Munich-style good times.
From noon to midnight on all three weekends of the festival, Pier 15 (78 South St.) transforms into an authentic waterfront Oktoberfest, kicking off Sept. 17 with a traditional keg tapping ritual. The Hudson River pier will be decked out in Oktoberfest finery, with live music, stein-holding contests and games like giant beer pong and cornhole. Everything on Watermark Bar’s menu will be $8 during the event, with 1-liter steins of Hofbrau, Weihenstephan and Radeberger going for $16 (or spring for a two-hour unlimited tasting with food for $60). Oh, and the event is totally free to enter, but you have to RSVP.
If you’re not under a giant tent dripping with decorations and rows of long picnic tables, and there’s no talking over the oompah band (and, sometimes, celebrity guests), then it’s not really Oktoberfest. German-speaking staff (in lederhosen, of course) from Bavarian haven Zum Schneider will greet you with a stein to fill with four Oktoberfest brews (including, exclusively, Andechs Festbier) at Solar One (24-20 FDR Drive). Maybe take a spin on the carnival rides outside first, then come in for traditional eats including pork shank (don’t worry, beer-loving vegetarians, they’ve got food for you, too) and decorated gingerbread. Sept. 23-25, 29, 30, Oct. 1-2, $25-$35
Every day while the weather is warm is a bit like Oktoberfest down in the Financial District, with eateries all along Stone Street from Coenties Alley to Hanover Square turning it all into al fresco dining by filling it up with picnic tables. Ulysses kicks things off the night before the celebration officially begins, with a cask tapping party on Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. where the specially brewed Sixpoint Amerikaner Oktoberfest beer flows free for everyone, followed by a day-long free block party with 10 restaurants setting up stalls serving traditional fare, but also Sicilian-style pizza, roasted pig and more ($5-$10) from noon to 10 p.m.
It’s called Oktoberfest, isn’t it, and that means it should last all of October! And it will at Loreley (7 Rivington St.), where the party continues right through Halloween night, and admission is always free. Their Saturday night launch party (which repeats Oct. 1) goes from noon to 4 p.m., with free Hofbrau Oktoberfest and a pig roast (also free!). Stop in for various specials and rotating taps throughout the month, and if you’re into the brats, don’t miss Sausage Fest (Oct. 13-16). All events are held rain or shine in their covered and heated Radeberger Outdoor Beer Garden.
Nobody celebrates harder than actual Germans on Oktoberfest, though it’s more about rocking cultural heritage than contests of who can shotgun their stein the fastest (don’t try that). Lederhosen and tracht-wearing revelers from the U.S., Germany, Austria and Switzerland will take over Fifth Avenue from 68th to 86th streets on Sept. 17 beginning at noon for a three-hour parade of historic floats, marching bands, dancing and more. Alas, tickets for the beer garden in Central Park are sold out, so you’ll have to mark your calendars for next year — tickets go on sale mid-July and are snapped up almost immediately.