What’s more in demand in the month of September than a pumpkin spice latte and a first-round fantasy draft pick? I’ll tell you what: Oktoberfest reservations! With 6 million+ thirsty people visiting each year and only enough spots for 10,000 butts at a time, the seats in each tent quickly become a hot commodity. But how do you make damn sure your rear gets a beer? Here’s everything you need to know on acquiring your Oktoberfest reservations.
DO YOU NEED OKTOBERFEST RESERVATIONS?
So, do you really need Oktoberfest reservations? The answer is no. But also yes. Whether or not you actually need Oktoberfest reservations depends on a few factors:
WHEN DO YOU PLAN ON ATTENDING (OR WISH TO ATTEND) OKTOBERFEST?
Certain times of the day and certain key dates are busier than others resulting in it being harder for you to get a seat (a prerequisite for getting a beer).
- Are you going to attend first thing in the morning? You’ll be fine without Oktoberfest reservations.
- Attending early on a weekday? No sweat.
- Hoping to party at night? Don’t hold your breath.
- Looking forward to experiencing opening day or closing night? Fuggedaboutit.
Oktoberfest reservations aren’t necessarily needed for early mornings and weekdays when attendance is at its lowest (which isn’t really ‘low’ at all); but experiencing late night party time or the opening and closing ceremonies can really only be done with Oktoberfest reservations.
HOW BIG IS THE SIZE OF YOUR GROUP?
Groups of two, three, or even four (and especially pity parties of one, womp-womp…) shouldn’t have a problem finding seats together in a beer tent without a reservation. By law Oktoberfest beer tents must set aside a hefty chunk of their seating for walk-ins, reservation-free, and the smaller your party the easier it will be to claim your own butt zone.
Larger groups wishing to sit together will have a much tougher (i.e. friggin’ impossible) time finding a table to call their own. In this case, Oktoberfest reservations are downright mandatory.
WHAT IS YOUR TRAVEL STYLE?
If you’re the kind of traveller who doesn’t know if he/she is even going to Oktoberfest yet (it literally doesn’t matter what day of the year you’re reading this), then it doesn’t look like Oktoberfest reservations are in the cards for you. If you’re into winging it internationally then Oktoberfest reservations are probably the last of your worries.
On the other hand, if you’re a hardcore planner, Oktoberfest reservations may be just the thing to settle your travel worries. With Oktoberfest reservations, finding a seat at the world’s largest beer and pretz’ fest is just one less thing to stress about and may make planning the rest of your trip so much more fun.
HOW DO YOU GET OKTOBERFEST RESERVATIONS?
There are only two legit ways to get Oktoberfest reservations and, no, selling your soul to the devil is not one of them.
FROM THE SOURCE
The #1 way to get Oktoberfest reservations (and some will tell you it’s the only way) is from the tent owners themselves. Each tent uses its own methods to obtain Oktoberfest reservations and their rules must be followed to the letter. Some still require fax and snail mail requests [insert eye roll here] while others have finally joined the rest of us here in the 21st century and provide online reservation forms. To acquire Oktoberfest reservations:
- Decide which Oktoberfest beer tent you wish to join.
- Find their reservation request page (below).
- Follow their instructions, no matter how ridiculous.
JOIN A TOUR GROUP
Should it be that the time to acquire Oktoberfest reservations has passed or, hell, you just don’t want to deal with it in the first place, there’s a tour group for that! Here at Thirsty Swagman, for instance, all of our Oktoberfest tours include Oktoberfest reservations so you can spend less time sending international faxes (does anyone know how to do that anyway?) and more time getting your stein-chugging record down to under a minute. When you book a tour with Thirsty Swagman, you always have a reserved seat at Oktoberfest—your spot in the hall of Oktoberfest chugging legends is entirely up to you though.
BEER TENT RESOURCES FOR OKTOBERFEST RESERVATIONS
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR OBTAINING OKTOBERFEST RESERVATIONS?
If only acquiring Oktoberfest reservations was as easy as filling out a form, stuffing it into an envelope, writing out the full German address, driving to the post office, paying for international postage, and waiting six weeks to see if you’re letter actually made it—right? Instead, there are a few extra things you should know about acquiring Oktoberfest reservations.
WHEN TO THINK ABOUT OKTOBERFEST RESERVATIONS
Yesterday. No, scratch that—months ago. Each beer tent begins their process for securing Oktoberfest reservations at different times of the year because they be the boss and they do what they want. Even if that means making you pick up a dusty ol’ fax machine at an elderly couple’s garage sale. Some begin taking reservations as early as the previous year’s Oktoberfest (no rest for the beer-y). Some start in January, some in March, April, and May. Some, like Augustiner, are so damn popular they’re automatically full every year so you can forget about them and just hope that one day you’ll get to sit at the cool kids lunch table. The tents’ pages on reservation requirements will say when they start taking reservations.
IS THERE A MINIMUM REQUIREMENT?
So glad you asked! Because yes, there is. Oktoberfest reservations are strictly for tables only, not people. No one can reserve just seats at Oktoberfest; instead, an entire 10-person table must be reserved. You know what that means, right? Lock up your lagers! The whole crew is coming!
But what if you have less than 10 friends? (there, there…) If you have fewer than ten people in your group you can still make Oktoberfest reservations–you just have to pay for the equivalent of ten people. Which brings me to…
IS THERE A COST FOR ACQUIRING OKTOBERFEST RESERVATIONS?
The answer again is no. But also yes. (Isn’t this fun?)
Oktoberfest reservations themselves are free, but to reserve your table you must purchase food and drink vouchers for each of the “10” people attending. These vouchers typically include 2x litres + 1x Wiesnhendl (half chicken) per person, but each tent has its own requirements/kickass food. Because, if you’re doing Oktoberfest right, 2 litres of beer and a meal will absolutely be consumed making your Oktoberfest reservations “free” in the long run. And that, class, is how technicalities work!
OKTOBERFEST RESERVATIONS // THINGS TO KNOW
- Oktoberfest reservations can only be made for tables inside the beer tents. No beer garden tables are reserve-able. They like to leave those open for the amateurs who slept in.
- Oktoberfest reservations are only valid for certain parts of the day—time blocks of typically four hours each—not for the entire day. Unless you want to reserve all the time blocks because holy cow your ambition is on point.
- You must be on time for your Oktoberfest reservations. Otherwise you risk losing your table altogether. And when we say “on time” we really mean “at least 15 minutes early”.
- Reselling your Oktoberfest reservations is strictly forbidden. Don’t try to auction off your Oktoberfest table to the highest bidder. They will find out; you will be in trouble. We don’t know what Oktoberfest time-out looks like and we hope you never find out.
Interested in letting us handle the Oktoberfest reservations for you? Join one of our Oktoberfest tours then sit back and relax.
Written by Ashley Smith
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