Bier, brezels, bratwurst and more at Oktoberfest 

click to enlarge It’s nearing the end of September, that means it’s time for the Bavarian celebration of Oktoberfest, being commemorated by Bay Area events and restaurants. - COURTESY REDWOOD CITY
  • It’s nearing the end of September, that means it’s time for the Bavarian celebration of Oktoberfest, being commemorated by Bay Area events and restaurants.
Theresienwiese fields in Munich, Germany are 5,000 miles, eight time zones and an 11-hour plane ride away from San Francisco. But the Oktoberfest festival held in that location nearly every year since 1810 is reason enough to dress up, eat up and raise up bier steins around the Bay Area. After starting as a truly epic October reception for a Bavarian royal wedding, the festival grew into a three-week event that traditionally starts in the third weekend of September and brings more than 6 million people to Munich’s beer tents every year. For those looking to avoid lining up for beer with millions of their closest friends, there’s plenty of Oktoberfest action closer to home.

Gaumenkitzel Restaurant

The Berkeley restaurant, which puts a lighter twist on traditionally rib-sticking German fare, is ready for the official Oktoberfest kickoff in Munich. “We just got dirndls from Germany, so all the ladies in the front of the house will be dressed charmingly,” owner Anja Voth reports, referring to the traditional Bavarian dress with ruffles and an apron. On the menu will be Leberkäse, or meatloaf with a German accent, served with sunny-side eggs. It’s not Oktoberfest without brezels (big, soft pretzels), and Gaumenkitzel pairs them with obatzter, a Bavarian blend of spreadable cheeses. Erdinger Oktoberfest Weisse beer will be on tap. [Today through end of October, 2121 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley; (510) 647-5016,]

Oktoberfest at AT&T Park

The special-ticket theme night includes a pre-game party and Giants-orange “German” hats. There will be no special Oktoberfest fare, but garlic does grow in Germany, so surely some argument can be made for the authenticity of those allium-infused ballpark fries. [5-7 p.m. Thursday, Seals Plaza, AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, S.F.;]


The Financial District beer hall recently glammed up its space and fancied up its food, but the Oktoberfest menu is strictly old-schule with wienerschnitzel (a flattened, breaded and fried pork cutlet), tender spätzle egg noodles and more. Schroeder’s dove into Oktoberfest festivities early last Friday, but the party will continue over the next two weekends with live music, stein-holding contests, polka dancing and dirndls, dirndls, dirndls. [6-9 p.m. Sept. 27-28 and Oct. 4-5, 240 Front St., S.F.; (415) 421-4778,]


The Bavarian-focused restaurant has already kicked off its Oktoberfest celebration, but Suppenküche is still pouring beer flown in specially from Germany along with the regular menu of classics like jägerschnitzel (pork loin) and reibekuchen mit hausgemachtem (potato pancakes and apple sauce) just like mom used to make. [525 Laguna St., S.F.; (415) 252-9289,]

Oktoberfest By the Bay

The festival is wrapping up three days of sausages, sauerkraut, steins and more today with an observation of Germany Day, which marks the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990. It’s a special year for the event, which is also plating up schweinshaxe (roasted ham hock), goulash, schnitzel and more. “We are so proud to be celebrating 15 years of Oktoberfest by the Bay in beautiful San Francisco, a city that has embraced us from the very start,” festival co-founder Tom Martin said. [11 a.m.-6 p.m. today, Pier 48, S.F.;]

Oktoberfest Downtown Redwood City: Bier! Brezeln! Bratwurst!

Redwood City isn’t exactly known for its German heritage, but where there’s a will, there’s an overflowing beer stein. The festival promises authentic German fare and beer, live music and dancing under a decorated tent, as well as stein-holding and yodeling competitions. The $15 entrance fee includes a stein and free beer or soda. [11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 11, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City;]

Oktober Tech Fest

First they disrupted property values. Now, the techies are pivoting toward Oktoberfest. This Tech in Motion event at the Southside Spirit House promises biers, pretzels and ... tech trivia. Just gulp the bier and think of Bavaria. [6-8 p.m. Oct. 8, 575 Howard St., S.F.;]

About The Author

Giselle Velazquez

Giselle Velazquez was born and raised in the shadow of San Francisco's Diamond Heights and now lives in the shadow of South San Francisco's Sign Hill. She has written for publications such as The S.F. Examiner, Ventura County Star, and the S.F. Bay Guardian.
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