You never really need an excuse to drink more beer, but this year's NYC Oktoberfest events are giving you some anyway. Here are the eight best spots for you and your brat-pack to raise a stein.
Miss Lily's "Jerktoberfest" That New York City being a melting pot would lead to the fusion of German and Jamaican cuisine, few could foresee. But wow, are we happy it did. This SoHo and East Village staple will be offering an Oktoberfest-inspired menu every Monday night next month at $38/person. Its festive family-style jerk platter includes whole jerk oxtail, jerk pork sausages, purple "Sorrel"-kraut, jerk potatoes, coco bread and apple strudel hand pies.
132 W. Houston St. (SoHo location) and 7A 109 Avenue A (East Village location), (212) 812-1482; (212) 812-1482
Zum Schneider For the Oktoberfest purists, look no further than the city's favorite Bavarian Beerhaus, known as Munich on the East River. In its second year, the New York City location will be hosting two back-to-back weekends of festivities, on October 2-4 and October 9-11 from 4:00 - 10 p.m. on Fridays and 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. With over 5,600 guests at their inaugural Oktoberfest bash, Zum Schneider is expecting an even bigger turn out this year.
Their tent accommodates close to 1,000 people so be ready to clink steins with friends new and old. Food stands boast roasted almonds, classic gingerbread hearts, giant Brezn and cotton candy along with Oktoberfest roast chicken and pork shank (vegetarians don't fret! There's an option for you, too.) And remember that time you took German in high school when everyone else opted for Spanish? It'll finally pay off. Zum Schneider's staff is fluent.
107 Ave C @ East 7th Street, (212) 598-1098
The Standard Biergarten at The Standard, High Line Enjoy the crisp fall air (crisp being a relative term—we are still in New York City, after all) at The Standard's street-level beer garden to the tune of a 35-piece live Polka band. Every day from noon to 2 a.m. Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner will prepare Oktoberfest fare including super-sized German pretzels, special Oktoberfest designed cookies and their rich beer (which The Standard describes as having notes of dark copper, a hint of apricot and a hoppy aftertaste). On the other side of town, check out the South Garden Terrace at The Standard, East Village, offering dishes like cheddar bratwurst with house kraut, curry ketchup and mustard and duck schnitzel with apricot mustard, all for only $9.
848 Washington St (High Line location), 25 Cooper Square (East Village location), (212) 645-4646; (212) 475-5700
Watermark Bar Beer with a view. What more could you ask for? Feast your eyes on the Brooklyn skyline as you feast your mouth (?) on traditional Hofbrau beer, as well as Weihenstephan and Radeberger, to wash down brats, pretzels and more, all priced at $8. There's no admission fee to access this 3,500 square-foot venue and live music, ping pong, foosball and face-painting means you can bring the whole family along.
Pier 15 78 South Street, (212) 742-8200
(courtesy Standard Biergarten)
Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten Though Loreley consistently delivers an impressive slew of German offerings year-round—offering 12 German beers on tap and an array of delectable menu items from sausage to schnitzel—they've pulled out all of their stops for this year's 17-day event. Though we may have missed their September 19th kick-off (there was a PIG ROAST, people!), it's not too late to catch their closing party on October 4. For its last hurrah, Loreley will be breaking out a free keg.
If you're not feeling quite so bold, try some of the restaurant's new menu items: the Sausage Party, a platter of seven different kind of sausages with beer-marinated sauerkraut and bacon keeping them cozy, or Wurst Tacos, filled with bratwurst, onion, cilantro and a spicy guacamole sauce.
7 Rivington St., (212) 253-7077
Aviator Sports and Events Okay, so apparently cornhole isn't some frat-boy invention, which is news to me. The classic BBQ, tailgate game actually has its roots in 14th-century Germany, where I'm sure some frat-boy's Teutonic ancestor played it for the first time. In any case, Aviator will be hosting a cornhole tournament as part of their Oktoberfest party on October 3. This year, they're moving the whole shebang outdoors to their picnic area, where there will be classic Oktoberfest food and drink, in addition to the thumping beats of live oompah band, DIE SPITZBUAM.
3159 Flatbush Ave, (718) 758-7500
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden One of the city's most beloved outdoor drinking spots, this Astoria fixture is pairing live music with their Oktoberfest eats every weekend until October 11. This Saturday, don't miss the stein hoist and Sam Adams Octoberfest sampling at 6 p.m. and stick around for their pig roast, which they'll host on Sunday, too. Don't forget to check out their regular menu though, offering chicken or pork schnitzel and sauerkraut alongside other East European favorites like pierogies and Czech-style dumplings.
29-19 24th Avenue Astoria, (718) 274-4925
Black Forest Brooklyn Hailing from small towns in Germany's Black Forest, owners Ayana and Tobias Holler later met in Brooklyn, fell in love and poured that love into their authentic biergarten and kaffeehaus in Fort Greene. The couple is ready to turn it up a notch for Oktoberfest on October 2 at 7 p.m. The modest $10 cover will include a keg-tapping ceremony with free beer from the first keg, a mug-holding competition and the musical stylings of Slavic Soul Party, a Brooklyn-based Balkan brass funk band (try saying that five times fast!). With 14 classic German beers on tap and other good home cooking like homemade German egg noodles and flammkuchen, the Black Forest region's culinary magnum opus, you'll leave plump and content.
733 Fulton St., (718) 935-0300