With September and fall comes Oktoberfest, the German celebration we've adopted as our reason to drink tons of beer and, eat soft pretzels the size of our heads.
Officially, Oktoberfest is the world's largest beer and fun fair. It usually lasts about 16-18 days from mid-September to early October– so it's basically September-fest.
And while it may be more fun to actually travel to Germany to celebrate with the true originators of the festival, there are more than enough ways to capture the spirit from right here in NYC.
If the idea of seeking out biergartens and events here at home is overwhelming, have no fear. We're giving you a mini-list of some of the best places to get your fest on.
When it comes to German treats, it's no secret, the pretzel is a staple. What would a biergarten be without soft pretzels and oozy cheese (sometimes spiked with beer like at Crimson & Rye)?
While the pretzel may not be spiked with beer here, the ice cream certainly is.
Tipsy Scoop is asking you to expand your pretzel loving palette and sub cheese for ice cream. Trust me, it works! They take a pretzel bun made by Bronx Baking Co. and create a savory and sweet boozy ice cream treat. The bun is split open and filled with "Vanilla Pilsner" and "Chocolate Stout and Pretzel" Ice Creams and topped with crunchy pretzels and chocolate syrup. This is essentially an Oktoberfest in your mouth.
Get there quick though because it's only available from September 15th- October 5th.
Treadwell Park is bringing the fun to both of their locations (Battery Park (301 South End Ave. and Upper East Side (1125 1st Ave.) from September 15 – October 8. With food sourced from local farms and vendors you can chomp on Wurst samplers and Giant Schnitzel.
They're also having a special promotion during which you can toast with beers, collecting "stamps" for each beer you try from a different German region in your "passport". Once the "passport" is filled, you get a free stein.
And if you want to learn a bit about the traditions behind the brews, we're told "guests will actually learn about the history of these beers and be able to fully immerse themselves in the German beer and food culture."
Clearly beer is big during this festival, and Davio's is making it easier than ever to get your fill. On September 22 from 5-8 PM, their private terrace is transforming into a biergarten for the ultimate beer-tasting event, with Coney Island Brewery at the helm. They'll fill it with an all-inclusive tasting bar and chef inspired appetizers to go along with your brews.
Check out more details and grab tickets here.
For three weekends, Watermark is saying Prost! with their all-out Oktoberfest celebration. The Pier 15 locale boasts a lineup of live music, decorations and games along with their authentic German eats and drinks.
Entry is free, but they also have $60 packages for two-hour beer tastings before the official start of each event, including choices between Hofbrau, Radeberger, Weihenstephan and more.
Is it even a holiday if there's no cruise to celebrate?
Circle Line Sightseeing is taking it to the sea with a two-and-a-half hour cruise up the Hudson. Dine on classic German food and beer while oom-pah and polka bands make you feel like you're in German waters.
For one weekend only (October 6/7), The Archway in Dumbo is transforming into a traditional "German" beer hall with a full line-up of entertainment. With rotating bands, contests, photo booths and inventive menus, this is one you won't want to miss.
What's Oktoberfest without a traditional beer-house?
Highlights added to the menu include Chef Thomas Slivovsky's traditional beer cake known as “The Big O’Fest Torte” filled with salted chocolate Weissbier cake, white chocolate and butter cream mousse cake, and a clear, glossy gel topping of fragrant Elderflower mousse, along with their everyday German options.
A new keg is tapped by notables each day, then the celebration really begins. You can chug on beers from one of only six official breweries at Munich’s Oktoberfest (a little taste of real Germany over here), and even host private parties with an hourly price for unlimited beer and house wine or a full bar, beer, wine, and cocktails. They even offer Mini Party Kegs in all five styles of Paulaner brewed beer and Brewery tours or tastings with the brewmaster.
You're welcome to go to Germany, but we'll be partying German-style right here.[Feature Image Courtesy Ashley Steinberg]