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July 2003

Glass Houses

Shedding a little light on three of Munich’s beer halls

Augustiner Bräustuben
Landsberger Strasse 19
Tel. (089) 50 70 47
Open daily 10 am–midnight
Reservations recommended
U4/5 Theresienwiese,
Tram 18/19 Holzapfelstrasse

Considered by many dyed-in-the-wool Münchner to represent the pinnacle of Bavarian cooking, the Augustiner Bräustuben showcases dozens of regional specialties on a menu where every item is under € 10. Such reasonable prices might alone draw the masses. Add the attractive, traditional setting with its high vaulted ceilings, wooden paneling, long communal tables and instant camaraderie and the result is pure Gemütlichkeit (coziness). Isar Valley Holzfällersteak (€ 6.80) in a beer-based sauce is cooked to perfection and served with green beans and roast potatoes. You rarely find better duck (€ 9.10) than is served here. Though the thin, leathery skin lacks crunch, the tender, earthy meat beneath possesses a gamy succulence. Generously portioned Allgäuer Käsespätzle (€ 4.60) is filling but disappointingly lacks flavor. Accompanying many of the main dishes is either a salad with pockets of sauerkraut, carrots and potato salad beneath leafy greens bathed in a creamy dressing; thin-cut pommes frites; or a warm bowl of sweet-and-sour red cabbage. Freshly baked Apfelstrudel (€ 3.50) has outstanding potential, but servers aren’t always quick enough to deliver it to the table before an unappetizing skin forms on the surface of the vanilla sauce and the whipped cream has begun to melt. Don’t bother bringing this point to the server’s attention as the only acknowledgement you’re likely to receive is a scolding. But as long as you don’t let the rude (even by Munich standards) service ruin the experience, an outing to the Augustiner Bräustuben is sure to delight both the palate and the soul.
Food ***, Service *, Atmosphere ****

Weisses Bräuhaus
Tal 7
Tel. (089) 29 98 75
Open daily 8 am–1 am
S1–8, U3/6 Marienplatz

From the time its doors open at 8 am (when native Bavarians dig into the classic Weisswurst breakfast of sausages and beer) until the last tourist stumbles out around 1 am, the Weisses Bräuhaus buzzes with activity. The Lederhosen- and Dirndl-clad wait staff navigate the indoor and outdoor dining areas with extraordinary efficiency and politeness, executing orders with astonishing rapidity and the Bräuhaus’ signature, Schneider Weissbier, as well as the more potent Aventinus Starkbier, flow steadily. The original Schneider Weissbier brewery, established in 1872 by Georg Schneider, occupied this central location until it fell victim to Allied bombing in 1944. Beer production was relocated to Kelheim after the war, and the former brewery became the Weisses Bräuhaus. It quickly grew into one of the city’s most popular dining establishments. The Weisses Bräuhaus offers a reasonably priced menu that spans the full spectrum of traditional Bavarian cooking. Dishes, such as the potato-based Erdapfelkäs (€ 4.50) and various organ meats like tongue, brain and tripe recall the cuisine of Bavarian peasants, enjoying recognition as gourmet delicacies today. Though the food is average, it’s obvious that much care has been taken to preserve the authentic feel of old-time Bavaria. No doubt that’s just the thing that keeps people coming back.
Food **, Service ***, Atmosphere **

Innere Wiener Strasse 19
Tel. (089) 45 99 25-0
Open daily 9 am–midnight
U4/5, Tram 15/18/19/25

Second only to Oktoberfest itself, the Hofbräuhaus enjoys worldwide fame as the place to indulge in a Mass of Munich Helles and sway to the sounds of scintillating oompah music. But for a quieter, equally authentic beer-guzzling, sausage-noshing experience, don’t overlook the Hofbräukeller. Occupying a massive building on Wienerplatz in the heart of Haidhausen, the Hofbräukeller offers a number of capacious dining rooms with high ceilings and tasteful traditional furnishings. In addition, non-smokers will appreciate the 60-seat room set aside for them. In fine weather enjoy the fresh air in the chestnut tree-shaded beer garden or on the wide terrace—and don’t panic when the babysitter cancels at the last minute: the Hofbräukeller even offers childcare (Mon.–Sat. 10 am–10 pm and Sun. noon–8 pm). Amicable staff and servers prove that Bavarian Gastfreundlichkeit (hospitality) is alive and well. The gamut of Bavarian fare is well represented here, as are other classic pan-Germanic specialties, such as Wiener Schnitzel with red cabbage and cranberries (€ 13.90) and rich, savory Allgäuer Käsespätzle (€ 7.90) garnished with the traditional fried onions and accompanied by a salad of leafy greens. The absence of accordion music and drunken patrons stomping on table tops makes the atmosphere at the Hofbräukeller more sober than that of its world-famous counterpart across the Isar, but that just may be what makes it so enjoyable.
Food ***, Service ***, Atmosphere ***

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