After a quick siesta over at our hotel, we prepared ourselves for the mayhem that the evening was undoubtedly going to bring. Heading back over to Theresenwiese, we realized exactly what nighttime at Oktoberfest might mean; drunk milk maids and guys in lader housens screaming their heads off. But we were prepared. However, upon entering the park, and seeing that damned spinning ride we took earlier, our main concern was finding a beer tent that was open and available.
Having heard about Oktoberfest and Munich for the last couple of years, the Hofbrauhaus has, of course, been my main draw about this place. Almost like my holy grail of beer halls. So as we fought our way through the crowds of drunks and onlookers staring at the death defying riders, we saw that the Hofbrauhaus line was longer than early that day. But, along our trail, we noticed a line for a beer tent that was rather short, so we scurried through the hoards of people; we finally arrived at the line.
The Ochsenbraterei beer tent, or the Spatan beer tent, was line that we had fought to get to and when we got there, I felt as if I was transformed back to the 1970s in Manhattan. The line was something right out of Studio 54. People were screaming at the guards who were enjoying themselves on their own little power trip of who enters and who doesn’t. Every time a spot became free in the tent, they would look over the crowd and the people waiting went into a somewhat feeding frenzy, pushing, shoving, yelling, and screaming until they were noticed and allowed to enter. After about an hour and a half (I know!), just as we were getting ready to leave, the guard pointed our way and allowed us enter the world we had only been able to see through the doorway some thirty feet in front of us.
Upon entering the cloud of smoke and raucous sounds, we were ushered to our table by our waiter, placed at a large picnic table with 5 Germans we didn’t know and prepared for our evening. The waiter said he would be right back with our beers and we started by introducing ourselves to our neighbors at our table. Luckily, for us, they were very nice and took us under their wings and explained the going ons. We entered the mayhem when the band was taking a break, so finding our seats and assessing our surrounding was rather easy.
After our first sip, the band seemed to be aware that we were there and immediately got back on stage. Now, I don’t really know any German songs, but the one that I do know (99 Red Balloons) had just been played, so the band tore into a new set and ripped the roof off. We were immediately instructed to stand up and dance on our table and sing and scream, so we did. This place felt like a high school cafeteria that had an open bar and a food fight all at the same time. After a couple of songs and two 8 euros beers each, we were in desperate need of food, otherwise, the night would turn down an ugly path. Luckily, for us, there were people strolling by selling things and we went straight for the giant pretzel for 4 euros. The whole place was a bit pricey, but totally worth it.
Our neighbors, who had been there since 9am (at this point it was 9pm) had told us that they were heading home and that the tents closed at 11pm and that we should leave a little early to avoid the heart of the crowd. As we said our good byes, a new group of people emerged and, low and behold, they were Americans. We immediately struck up a rapport with them and partied with them the rest of the evening. One kid had the best shirt on every; An awkward morning beats a boring night. So he became our new friend.
After our third liter of beer, it was time to go. So we packed up our sh@t, said our good byes and headed off to the U-Bahn. The train was just like the beer tent, smoky, reeking of beer, and loud. It was such a show to see, that just seeing that was fun enough. For us, finding our way home was an adventure all in its own because of how strong