I drank beer at many (many, many, many) places in Munich and while the beer was almost always great there were definitely some winners and some losers. This list is only the winners in order of how much I liked loved them.
Worth noting: in Munich pretty much every tavern, bar, and restaurant has an English menu, you just need to ask! We struggled through with German menus a few times before we realized this!
Weissbier is my favorite German style so Schneider was at the top of my list when we arrived in Munich. The Brauhaus has way more going on than just the original weissbier and aventinus weizenbock we get in the U.S. I was really into the festbier and the “Tap X” Nelson Sauvin, made with hops from New Zealand was floral and wine like with the qualities of wheat beer that I love.
The food here is also highly rated and some of the best we had at the beer bars we visited. I sampled several apple strudels (my favorite dessert) and Schneider’s was a definite winner. We came back for dinner one night and even though the space was crowded we were still seated right away and the noise level was manageable.
There are several Augustiner locations around the city but I loved that this one is a bit out of the way and has really great food. We sat inside in view of the bar (this was one of the cooler restaurants we visited as in the AC seemed to be turned on during the heatwave) meaning we got to see the bartenders tap the wooden casks of Helles with the easiest swing of the mallet.
All of this mallet swinging felt even more German with our massive “snack plate” featuring four kinds of meat, three cheeses, a cheese spread, excellent butter, pickles, and bread. We could have easily sat here all day and snacked on that platter and sipped helles. I will say the apple strudel here was inferior.
(There’s also a weird bathroom attendant situation here that I didn’t experience elsewhere in Munich.)
The oldest continuously producing brewery in the world is a short 45 minute train ride outside of Munich. The Weihenstephaner campus has a traditional German restaurant, the working brewery, a beer garden, and several shops plus there is plenty to do in the quaint town of Friesing, I wrote about planning a day trip here.
4 - Ayinger Am Platzl
Just like Augustiner there are several Ayinger locations in Munich. This one happened to be attached to our hotel (great for a rainy day) and directly across from Hofbrauhaus (great for people watching). The location was definitely the most appealing thing about this bar and the service was better than what we experienced at similar locations.
Unlike the straightforward beer selections at Augustiner and Schneider there were all kinds of beers to choose from at Ayinger; tap, bottle, lager, ale, and some wines and other drinks as well. This would be a great stop for groups that have a few non-beer drinkers. The ambiance is a little more refined than the other beer bars because it is attached to the hotel and there is a larger selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
The inside is cozy but sit outside if you can to watch the tourists pack into and stumble out of Hofbrauhaus and the Hard Rock Cafe which are both visible from the front patio.
This Franziskaner tavern is just on the other side of the Marienplatz but feels totally different than the bars above. It’s tucked between luxury stores on a cobblestone street steps from the National Theatre. Don’t skip the Kellerbier while you’re here, but it is also nice that the menu isn’t exclusively Franziskaner beers.
The food here was typical Bavarian fare (or should I say lots of pork and potatoes) but everything was cooked and presented really well. Unlike other restaurants our dishes (at least appeared to be) made to order and came out hot and crispy. I got the Leberkäse (basically a very finally ground meatloaf that is then seared in a pan and topped with an egg) and I definitely suggest trying it somewhere, if not here!, while you’re in Munich.
We went to Ratskeller because, well it feels like you have to go to Ratskeller when you stay in old town. It is located below the “New Town Hall” and is made of a sprawling dining room with several bars. We ended up in one of the smaller bars that also served cocktails to avoid the noise and crowds of the main dining room.
Ratskeller is definitely worth a visit but unlike many of the bars on this list it’s not somewhere I could spend hours. It’s very dark (I mean it’s named after the cellar after all) so going during the day is a bit jarring. Since there are constantly people coming in and out service is spread thin compared to other places around Munich so you might end up with an empty glass for a while.
They did give us free snacks to pick at while at the bar which I enjoyed. The food in the main dining room looked very traditional and served in giant portions. The tables were nice and big so people looked comfortable and relaxed. All I could think as I walked through was how everything was so spread out compared to New York City.
If you’re in Munich in a 95+ degree day like we were this a great option to cool down for a bit. It’s centrally located so it’s easy to pop in for a drink, some AC, and time out of the sun.
7 - Paulener Im Tal
Paulaner makes excellent beer (do not miss getting a Ur Dunkle while you’re in the city) but most of the Paulener bars seemed just ok. This one does have a nice back courtyard/beer garden which set it apart from the rest. We chose to sit out front so we could people watch. There is an American-style burger restaurant next store serving truly gargantuan burgers and the people watching was too good to pass up.
Service here was great, one of the only servers to bring us an English menu without asking. Very closer to Schnieder Brauhaus, get beers from both and dinner at Schnieder.
8 - Hofbraeuhaus
This place was not for me. It was fun to walk through and I see the appeal: live traditional music, oversized pretzels and casks, lots and lots of beer. But the crowds were too much for me and honestly the smell was...not great. If I was to sit down for some food and hopefully a maibock I would ask to sit in the outdoor portion where the smell wasn’t quite as strong and it was a little less boisterous, but then you miss out on the live music and commotion so I guess, what would be the point!
It’s very close to the center of old town so you’ll likely be nearby anyway, take a walk through and see what you think. It could be different when it’s not summertime too!