The dos and don’ts of the Bavarian beer garden experience

The dos and don’ts of the Bavarian beer garden experience

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

Slowly but surely, life in Germany is returning to some semblance of normalcy. On May 10, beer gardens in Bavaria got the green light to open up their leafy premises to thirsty patrons.

While it’s not quite business as usual, at least it’s a start. Re-openings are tied to incidence rates remaining below a certain number in the given district, and visitors must still follow numerous safety protocols. Another important change: reservations are a must these days. The beer garden you wish to visit will be in a position to advise you of the COVID- 19 rules currently in place at the time you book your spot.

While visiting one of Bavaria’s summertime oases isn’t an experience in which a visitor is likely to commit a cultural faux pas, it’s still nice to know the general rules of behavior. There’s even a law that regulates how these bastions of tradition function: the Bayerische Biergartenverordnung. Note these rules apply specifically to beer gardens in Bavaria; in other states, the laws are quite different.

Here are some do's and don’ts of the Bavarian beer garden experience:

Do: Pack a picnic. Beer gardens are often divided into two sections, one offering meals and the other for patrons who have brought along their own provisions.

Don't: Bring takeaway meals from other restaurants into the beer garden. Ordering a pizza or a Döner kebab and bringing that in is a definite no-no!

Do: Bring the kids. Larger beer gardens will often have a playground available for the little ones, and it's perfectly normal to allow them to run wild and free as the adults enjoy their beverages.

Don't: Break out any of your own provisions while seated in the area designated for those ordering off the establishment’s menu.

Do: Bring along fold-out chairs and picnic blankets.

Don't: Crack open any of your own beverages. Anything imbibed on the premises should be purchased from the Biergarten.

Don’t: Break out a grill and start roasting your own bratwurst.

Do: Live like a local and create a “Brotzeit” sure to be the envy of those seated at the next table over. This might include radishes, tomatoes, pickles, cold cuts, potato salad and Obatzda cheese, a creamy concoction of Camembert and butter, spiced with paprika.  And don’t forget the pretzels. Prost!

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