Every year Oktoberfest seems to get bigger and better than ever. More than six million people make it to the famous Theresienwiese in Munich where the sixteen-day celebration of German Beer and Bavarian culture takes place.
It’s no surprise that the tents fill up fast and that many first-timers are left to wait outside to wonder if they’ll ever get a seat. There are fourteen large and twenty-one smaller tents at Oktoberfest and each caters to a particular crowd, though the atmosphere in all of them is welcoming and family friendly.
Oktoberfest Table Reservations
On weekends the tents open at 9:00 am and on weekdays at 10:00 pm. All tents close at 11:30 pm with last call (yes, that is a concept you will observe even in Munich) at 10:30 pm. Keep in mind that while entry is free, finding a place to sit will be an entirely different matter.
Knowing the times that specific tents are most and least busy is important if you don’t want to leave things to chance. Your best bet is to arrive as early as you possibly can regardless of the size of your entourage.
Plan to arrive no later than 2:30 pm on weekdays and try to make it to your desired tent sometime in the morning on weekends to avoid the midday rush. For people travelling in larger groups who want the assurance of knowing a table will be available, you should consider making Oktoberfest table reservations.
How to Score Oktoberfest Table Reservations in Beer Tents
Unfortunately the reservation system is up to the discretion of each individual tent meaning that you will have to contact the owners directly. The same goes for beer and food vouchers which must be bought in advance at a set price. Reservations are free but are limited to groups of 10 persons.
As reservations can only be made in the month of December this information might come a little late to those who haven’t yet booked their reservations. But that’s okay, if nothing else you’ll know for next year.
Making Alternative Arrangements
If you cannot book yourself a table for any of the nights that Oktoberfest runs, don’t worry. The rule isn’t that you must be seated to enjoy the festival, just that you are associated with a table. In fact, most people attending the festivities stand. You’ll find that a lot of people are very inviting if you ask nicely, preferably in German.
An invaluable trick that not many people know about is to arrive early on your first day, secure yourself an empty table and take a seat. Then, go about ordering whatever food and beer takes your fancy, remembering to tip your waiters and waitresses generously.
They may know which tables will go unattended that night as people cancel their plans or fail to show up. They may be able to help you secure a table in their section. If not, you can always return the next night.