At the heart of the German state of Bavaria and at the foothills of the Alps, Munich is one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. This colourful cultural hub takes pride in clashing the old with the new, with one eye looking back to a rich past while the other is firmly set on what the future holds.
One thing that remains a constant in this corner of the world, however, is a love for the hoppy stuff. Beer is an irrefutable and much-loved element of Bavarian culture, and nowhere is this connection more on show than at the city’s annual Oktoberfest. But you need not brave the crowds at this busy time of year if you’re looking to soak up some of that legendary beer hall atmosphere.
The Hofbräuhaus München is among the most famous Bierhalles in all of Germany, and public patrons have been clanking steins inside its walls for just shy of two centuries. If you’re looking to toast to traditional Bavarian tavern culture, mixing with locals and fellow international guests, there really is no better place than the Hofbräuhaus Munich.
So let’s waste no time. Where is it, and what’s the best way to get there?
How to get to the Hofbräuhaus München
It’s often said that German cities have public transport down to a tee, and Munich is no exception. You have plenty of options for making your way around town, making use of an underground metro (U-Bahn), local trains (S-Bhan), a network of trams and plenty of buses. All these systems are reasonably priced and easy to navigate, even for novices.
It goes without saying that using two feet is a great way to get around Munich. Particularly in the heart of the old town, you never know what the city’s streets might offer up. But if you’ve lots to fit in or find your accommodation is a little further out, you’ll be pleased to know Munich Hofbräuhaus is well served by public transport.
Which station is nearest to Hofbräuhaus München?
Hofbräuhaus München is right at the heart of the city’s old town, meaning you’re connected from all sides if you need to reach it by public transport. The U-Bahn is often the quickest and easiest way to get around Munich, with two stops conveniently close to the beer hall.
Travelling on the U3 (orange) or U6 (blue) lines, you can hop off at the Marienplatz stop and head northeast from the square along Sparkassenstrasse. Alternatively, the Lehel U-Bahn Station is served by the U4 (turquoise) and U5 (brown) lines and lies just a 10-minute walk from the Hofbräuhaus.
The S-Bahn is an option too if you’re travelling in from Munich’s outskirts. Simply head for the Isartor stop on any services numbered from S1 to S8, then walk eight minutes northwest to reach the Munich Beer Hall Hofbräuhaus. This station is also where you’ll find one of the closest tram stops. However, the Nationaltheater stop along the famous Maximillianstrasse is a touch closer and is called at by number 19 and 31 trams.
Which public transport ticket is best?
It is possible to buy single, return, and day tickets for Munich public transport. If you only plan on making one or two journeys while you’re in the city, this should be the most economical choice.
You’ll find these ticket options available via machines at each stop or station, and the great news is that you can use the same ticket no matter what mode of transport you go for. That means you could use any combination of U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram, and bus services to get from your A to your B on a single ticket. Or use each to your heart’s content for 24 hours via a day ticket.
But if you’re staying a few days and want to fit lots in, there’s a much better way to go. The Munich CityTourCard can be purchased in advance of your trip or as soon as you arrive. Prices start at €13.90 for one day up to a maximum of €41.90 for six days. For as long as the card is active, you can use all of central Munich’s transport as much as you like.
Sound good? Well, the discount on entry price you’ll receive at 80 of the city’s most popular attractions should be the cherry on the cake.
What to see at the Hofbräuhaus München
History has brought us several incarnations of the Hofbräuhaus, and the Bierhalle as we see it today was completed in 1897. No expense was spared when designing the magnificent structure, with beautiful frescos and ornate woodwork to be marvelled at all around.
The Hofbräuhaus is divided between several different rooms and areas which each offer something of their own. These include:
- Schwemme – the vaulted main taproom and beating heart of the Bierhalle, complete with long tables, lederhosen, and oompah bands
- Bräustübl – a much cosier and quieter spot up on the first floor, more suitable for those needing to unwind after a busy day exploring the city rather than get the party started
- Wappensaal – with wood-panelled walls and chandeliers, the ‘Coat of Arms Hall’ is the most rustic room at the beer hall
- Festsaal – the vast and intricately painted top floor space, hosting up to 700 guests for some of the beer hall’s most significant events, including live music and dancing
- Biergarten – a perfect spot for the summer, with a capacity of more than 400 across a tree-shaded garden
Wherever you choose to pull up a chair, you’ll experience the same electric atmosphere that the Hofbräuhaus is famous for.
Hofbräuhaus München History & Facts
Being the Munich institution that it is, you won’t be surprised to hear that the story of this legendary Bierhalle is deeply intertwined with the tale of the city itself. And it all begins back in 1516.
Bavaria’s introduction to beer
Enacted by Duke William IV that year was the Beer Purity Law. It dictated that “no other ingredient shall be added to beer, only barley, hops and water shall be taken”. This strict code remains the basis for beer brewing throughout Germany to the present day!
But for all that, beer drinking was not a popular pastime in Bavaria in the 16th century. Wine was much more of the fashion, and beer often needed to be imported, making it unduly expensive.
A bold vision
In 1589, Duke Wilhelm V had had enough of paying over the odds for the hoppy stuff and planned to reduce state expenditure by building a brewery that the Ducal Court could drink from. At the time exclusively reserved for the court’s members, it stood on the present-day Sparkassenstrasse would quickly become known as the Brown Hofbräuhaus. Demand was so high that a larger facility had to be found by 1607, on the present-day site at the Platzl.
The rise of Hofbräu
The beer at the Hofbräuhaus was certainly popular. Still, it lacked quality, which is why Duke Maximilian paid over the odds to bring in experts like master brewer Elias Pichler. Soon, the bierhalle’s “Bockbier” or “strong beer” was a huge hit.
So popular did the brewery become and as the only major brewery in the state of Bavaria, it’s said that by the 17th-century taxes on the Hofbräuhaus’s produce made up 30% to 50% of the entire state’s income. The Free State of Bavaria still owns the Hofbräu brand today, and it contributed €2 million in profit to its coffers in 2018 alone.
The Hofbräuhaus as we know it
Realising Munich had become a popular destination for holidaymakers and day-trippers, Ludwig I opened the Hofbräuhaus’s doors to the general public from 1828. This was before Prince Regent Luitpold rebuilt and expanded the Bierhalle to its current guise in 1897 at a considerable cost.
Now a certified Munich institution and famed for its lively atmosphere, guests like Lenin, Mozart, and Empress Elisabeth of Austria would pass through the doors of the Hofbräuhaus in the decades to come.
In 1920, it would play a much more troubling role in German history when Adolf Hitler presented his 25-point Program and founded the Nazi Party at the beer hall. As we well know, the actions agreed at this meeting would eventually be put into practice, leading to the outbreak of the Second World War and incomprehensible murder of millions during the Holocaust.
With the division of Germany that would follow, before the fall of the Berlin Wall and glory of reunification in 1990, the Hofbräuhaus’s role in the history of modern Germany is undeniable.
Restaurants, Bars, and Stores at the Hofbräuhaus München
Nestled among the tight streets of the city’s old town, you won’t be surprised to hear that the area around the Hofbräuhaus München is chock-full of legendary haunts and hidden gems. Whether you want to fill up pre or post your beer hall experience or keep the kegs flowing at another bar, you’ve plenty to pick from.
The best restaurants near Hofbräuhaus München
Beerhalling is hungry work! Thankfully, you won’t need to wander far from the Hofbräuhaus to find something tasty to tuck in to. Some nearby spots we’d recommend are:
- El Gaucho Steak – some of the best Argentinian-style steaks in all of the city, served up in a relaxed and colourful setting
- Nero Pizza & Grill – a clean, stripped-back interior unveils fresh and similarly simple pizzas to die for
- Yuki Hana – a hidden gem of a Japanese spot, with superb sushi and sashimi that’s put together with passion
- Nage & Sauge – a backstreet bar with a comfortable vibe, offering classic European dishes that are perfect for a large lunch
- Spatenhaus at the Opera – a beautiful and ornate dining hall meets homecooked Bavarian grub, including mouthwatering sausages, cheeses, and stews
- Müller-Brot – a charming and traditional German bakery where pretzels are the order of the day, ideal for eating lunch on the move
- Bratwurstherzl – expect mountains of sausages and sauerkraut inside this 17th-century brick vault Bavarian-Franconian eatery
The best bars near Hofbräuhaus München
Whether you’re warming up for your beer hall experience or are thinking of one for the road, you’ll be pleased to know the Hofbräuhaus is in good company. There are loads of bars to try nearby, especially if you think it’s time to switch from beer, including:
- Pusser’s – a proper old-school cocktail bar with a Caribbean edge and a specialism in rum concoctions
- Jazzbar Vogler – a gorgeous, dimly-lit night spot with a superb line up of live jazz, Latin and soul each and every night
- Cohibar City – a little Latin basement bar with tropical cocktails and a party vibe as the night rolls on
- Ory Bar – a super-swish hotel bar with a jaw-dropping interior and endless stocks of champagne
- Bianco Rosso e Nero – a classy and refined speciality Italian wine bar with a superb selection of bottles to sample
- ROCKBOX BAR – a small and friendly music bar with a comic book printed interior and a shots menu that’ll get the night going
The best shops near the Hofbräuhaus München
If you were planning on coming back from Munich with something special, either for yourself or somebody else, you’re right where you’d want to be when you call in at the Hofbräuhaus.
A couple of minutes’ walk north of here is the city’s prestigious Maximilianstrasse, home to notable international names like Moncler, Fendi, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, and Christian Louboutin. There are even a few upmarket independents, including the likes of TOD’s Boutique for men and Unützer Boutique for women.
If that doesn’t sound like your scene, there are plenty of other areas in the city to try. Head towards Marienplatz for high street favourites like Urban Outfitters and Zara, while the Glockenbachviertel district further south is heaven for quirky boutiques.
Opening Times and Prices
Bavarians are pretty serious about their beer, and as such, the Hofbräuhaus is open every single day of the year. You can call in at any time from 9:00 until midnight. However, reservations aren’t always possible, so it’s quite common to turn up and queue.
If you’d like to guarantee your visit you can reserve for the Bräustübl. However, there isn’t a reservation system for the Schwemme and beer garden areas. Either way, the Hofbräuhaus’s friendly team will do all they can to ensure you’re swinging those steins in no time.
The Hofbräuhaus Munich Oktoberfest event is the highlight of the annual calendar, and the atmosphere is beyond anything you’ll have experienced before. Still, it’s a hectic time, and no reservations are taken during this period. You can expect to queue, but most visitors find it’s well worth the wait.
There’s no charge to enter the Hofbräuhaus, you simply pay for what you drink. Prices vary depending on your choice of tipple. Still, they are mainly in line with the regional average, and you can expect to pay €6 – €9 per pint. The Hofbräuhaus even operate an authentic beer token system to make ordering and paying for your drinks even more straightforward.
Toast off your trip to the Bavarian capital and enjoy the region’s best-loved export, when you pop in for a pint or two at the world-famous Hofbräuhaus.
Getting to Munich by train
It's easy to take the train to Munich from the main destinations across Europe. Travel direct from Prague to Munich in just 4h 56m on a high-speed Deutsche Bahn service, or why not whizz from Berlin to Munich on another direct DB train in about 4h 49m. Frankfurt to Munich is also another well-connected route, taking just 3h 12m.
Ready for your next train journey to Munich? Check out our guide to trains in Germany to learn all about the German trains, timetables and popular routes.