Photo by Manfred Lehner
Munich isn’t just for Oktoberfest. It’s also for these good times.
Berlin is the capital of staying out until sunrise with impossibly cool locals, but Munich excels at a different kind of nightlife: sophisticated cocktails, friendly crowds, and, yes, traditional pours of Germany.
The oldest (and only indie-owned) brewery
Most people hit Hofbräuhaus for epic beer hall times. It’s fine, really. You’ll see plenty of locals there, who store their steins in the lockers along the wall, but it’s also more than likely the site of a mob of tourists and actual tours, too. Augustiner, meanwhile, is the last of the city’s six breweries that hasn’t been scooped up by a bigger conglomerate and is less of a circus. Go for the helles, an easy-drinking bright lager that the region is known for.
Cheap drinks in a timewarp
In a former life, Café Kosmos was the studio of a photographer in the 1960s. A lot of details remain untouched: there’s a spiral staircase to the second floor, paint is still chipping off the walls, and arty folks are still having a good time in there. (Your first hint that it’s counter-current: the “No Lederhosen” sign out front). Don’t go if you’re afraid of actually rubbing shoulders with locals. It gets very crowded.
For fancy cocktails
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In America, you stumble into a bar with friends after a bit of deliberation about where to go. In Munich, you call ahead and reserve seats even at pubs. Reservations are needed particular at Flushing Meadows, a sleek cocktail spot with a rooftop view, plush couches, a wood-fired fireplace, and a Negroni menu.
A bar with history
One of many, many things Hitler hated: modern art. So after the war, his Haus der Deutschen Kunst museum was transformed into a hub for works by modernist artists. Attached to the building, you’ll find Goldene Bar, an over-the-top cocktail spot with chandeliers and a golden glow. Order anything with scotch whiskey, an obsession of the house.
Beer Brewed by Monks
For centuries, pilgrims have made hikes to Andechs, 26 miles outside the city, to visit its Benedictine monastery. Unless you’re a diehard Catholic and like really long walks, just hire a driver to take you on the half-hour drive from Munich. Then you can tour the actually worth-it rococo chapel and drink the monks’ brews.
Andech’s is famous for its extra strong doppelbock dunkel—a caramel-y beer that packs 18.5 percent abv, over four times the alcohol level of a Budweiser. The monks, who still roam the grounds, consumed it to survive Lent. For something mellower, stick to the frothy, tangy weissbier (white beer).
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