By Laurie Jo Miller Farr
If you can’t get to Munich, take solace in this lineup of San Francisco Oktoberfest happenings. From blow-out party to biergarten gathering, there are no Oktoberfest rules. You can celebrate your own way as long as you make great seasonal beer central to your plans.
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Oktoberfest By The Bay
San Francisco, CA
Date: Sept. 22 through 24, 2017
Prost! It’s that time of year again. Big, bold, brassy, and beer-driven, Oktoberfest By The Bay is happening all weekend long at its vast indoor/outdoor biergarten and venue, Pier 48. It’s always a sell-out event and always a great place to show off your best dirndl skirt and lederhosen get-ups. Entertaining the crowd, the 21-piece Chico Bavarian Band will be blasting out the oom-pah-pah tunes that get everyone dancing. Beer, food, wine are separately priced in addition to admission tickets and Sunday is family day.
240 Front St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
Dates: Sept. 15, 2017 at 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Sept. 23, 29 and Oct. 7,14, 21.
You want to drink a liter from a traditional glass beer boot? Do you want to do the Chicken Dance? Hang out in a traditional German beer hall? Are you craving some Hofbrau, potato pancakes, wiener schnitzel, bratwurst, and pretzel knots? Go to Schroeder’s, where they’ve been celebrating Oktoberfest since 1893. Always the first place to kick off the harvest festival, Schroeder’s Financial District annual block party spills out onto Front Street as the celebration begins at 3 p.m. on Sept. 15. This year’s live music is by Wonder Bread 5 and the DJ is Jerry Ross. They keep the party going with more live music on five additional dates in September and October. Free tickets and discounted food and drink tickets on Eventbrite.
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525 Laguna St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Date: Sept. 16, 2017 at 5 p.m. through 10 p.m.
What’s an authentic German restaurant without tradition and what’s more traditional than Oktoberfest? Nothing…So, come along to Suppenküche in Hayes Valley, an essential slice of Germany in San Francisco at any time of year. Some of the city’s best Wiener Schnitzel, potato pancakes with homemade apple sauce, and Nürnberger Bratwurstpretzels await, not to mention the Bock, Doppelbock, Schwartzbier and Dunkel Oktoberfest brews served by the glass (taste them all!) or in a range of sizes up to their massive five liter stein (bring some drinking buddies).
424 Octavia St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Biergarten is the little sister of Suppenküche, says the two brother/owners. When you want a stein in the sun and a delicious pretzel, too, you’ll tolerate the lines to get into Biergarten, say the loyal fans. Another Hayes Valley hangout serving up German street-garden cuisine every day means you don’t need Oktoberfest as an excuse to celebrate warm pretzels and cold beer.
381 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94103
With a back room that seats up to 18, you bring the party to the place. Less about Bavarian-inspired Oktoberfest than about authenticity in East German-inspired food and décor, at Walzwerk the real party is inside your mouth. Note that Walzwerk gets high marks from natives who know. Oktoberfest for two? Make a dinner reservation (not open for lunch), get a cozy corner table, and ask for a smooth Oktoberfest on tap when you arrive. Two of the owners’ East German favorites are KöstritzerSchwarzbier and Radeberger Pilsner.