What started out as a wedding celebration in Munich is now the world’s favorite reason to drink German beers and subsist on a diet of sausages for a few weeks. That’s right, Oktoberfest is back, and we’ve rounded up where to celebrate Oktoberfest 2018 in NYC from casual outdoor parties to a traditional tent on the East River and even family-friendly fun.
The official holiday runs from Sept. 22-Oct. 7, but most New York City bars are starting their celebrations on Sept. 21 (why waste a perfectly good Friday night?) and keeping them going well into October.
Where to celebrate Oktoberfest 2018 in NYC
The gloriously sprawling backyard of Ridgewood bar Nowadays should make for the ideal hipster hang during Oktoberfest. Their Nowafest celebration kicks off on Sept. 21 from 7-10 p.m. with all-you-can-eat sausages and sides courtesy the The Meat Hook’s outdoor food truck, plus specialty beers from Brooklyn’s Threes Brewing ($25). The food and beer specials continue through Oct. 6. nowadays.nyc
One of our favorite boat bars is getting the Oktoberfest treatment. The Frying Pan at Pier 66 will deck its… decks with Oktoberfest finery, including costumes for the staff, with the biggest authentic menu we’ve found: apple-brined roast chicken, currywurst, giant pretzels and strudels. There’s live music from Melinda & the Oompahs and Morningside Lane, costume contests if you’re feeling like an early Halloween, raffles, stein hoisting and more. Entry is free, but if you buy a souvenir stein online ($20), your first drink is included and entry is guaranteed before 4 p.m. Sept. 22-23, Pier 66, 207 12th Ave., pier66maritime.com
Want to spend your next Oktoberfest in Germany? All five locations of Clinton Hall are offering raffle tickets with the purchase of a Bitburger or their two Oktoberfest special brews from Sept. 21-Oct. 14 for a four-day trip with airfare and brewery tours for you and a friend. For more chances to win, take part in Oktoberfest-themed challenges like speed-eating a giant pretzel and stein hoisting. The winner will be announced at a closing party from 2-5 p.m. at the FiDi location on Oct. 13. clintonhallny.com
Oktoberfest may be a Munich tradition but Anne Becerra of Treadwell Park curated a list of nine beers highlighting various styles across German cities, plus a menu of special traditional dishes to pair with them. Pick up a Trip Through Germany passport at any of the beer hall’s three locations (opening in Hudson Yards at the end of the month) starting Sept. 21; completed passports get you a 32 oz. stein (yours to keep) of your favorite Oktoberfest beer. Treadwell Park UES and Downtown will also hold opening day parties with live oompah bands, stein-holding contests and more. Sept. 21-Oct. 14, treadwellpark.com
Take part in a traditional keg-tapping with a free round every weekend night of Oktoberfest (8 p.m. on Sept. 21, 22 & Oct. 5, 6, 19) at Bierhaus NYC in Midtown, the city’s only German bar with ties to Munich’s famous Hofbräuhaus (so it’s more or less Oktoberfest all year long). The Bavarian-style restaurant and beer hall will have special events throughout the holiday for contests like the Biggest Beer Belly (Oct. 5), giveaways, a traditional feast (Oct. 7), kid-friendly events like cookie decorating every Sunday (through Oct. 21) and live music. bierhausnyc.com
The South Street Seaport’s riverside spot for cocktails and lawn games Watermark Bar flips to Oktoberfest mode for four weekends with brats and pretzels and six traditional beers on tap straight from Munich from noon to midnight. There’s no admission though if you’re coming as a group, springing for a priority package could save you some cash. Sept. 21-23, 27-30, Oct. 4-7, 11-14, oktober-fest.nyc
Hope you’ve been training for Radegast Hall’s annual stein-holding contests, a highlight of the Williamsburg beer hall’s epic celebration taking place over the two Saturdays of Oktoberfest. It all starts at 11 a.m. with a keg-tapping ceremony and pig roast, with brass bands throughout the day and DJs from 8 until late. Sept. 22 & 29, radegasthall.com
Bear Mountain Oktoberfest Cruise
Combine German fun with leaf-peeping every weekend from Sept. 22-Nov. 11 on Circle Line’s Oktoberfest cruise. The 2.5-hour trip up the Hudson River from Pier 82 gets you to Bear Mountain National Park, where you’ve got three hours to hike and explore before setting back out for home. Along the way, enjoy live polka and oompah bands plus traditional Oktoberfest fare like schnitzel and bratwrust (and beer, of course) for purchase. Boarding at 8:30 a.m., return by 5:30 p.m., $65 adults, $52 kids 3-12, circleline.com
Munich on the East River
It doesn’t get more authentic outside of Germany than Zum Schneider’s riverside Oktoberfest tent. Decked out in traditional decor with room for 1,000 and German-speaking staff in lederhosen and dirndl, Munich on the East River is always a lively crowd knocking back liter steins of imported Oktoberfest beers exclusive to the event plus authentic food like pork shanks and giant pretzels, with live entertainment and sing-alongs. Sept. 28-30, Oct. 3-7, various times, 24-20 FDR Drive Service Road E., $20 and up, nyc.zumschneider.com
Lower East Side restaurant and biergarten Loreley does German food and beer year-round, so you know their Oktoberfest game will be on point. During the month-long party, they’ll tap a keg of various Oktoberfest beers at 1 p.m. every Saturday, handed out free until it’s kicked — and same for a pig roast starting at 3 p.m. Beers will rotate through the month with happy hour prices on tap brews every weekend, and special events like a Beer Tasting & Dinner (Oct. 4) and a Sausage Fest (Oct. 10-14). Sept. 22-Oct. 14, no cover, loreleynyc.com
Keep your Oktoberfest celebration local with Blocktoberfest, a gathering of more than two dozen breweries from the five boroughs pouring their own takes on the traditions of Germany plus new and rare beers at indoor-outdoor bar The Well in Williamsburg. Your tickets includes either 5 or 15 beer tickets redeemable for a 4 oz. pour; local restaurants take care of keeping you upright, plus a live DJ and yard games. Proceeds benefit NYC Beer Week. Oct. 6, 1-5 p.m., $24-$35, nycbrewed.com