Five days soaking up the culture of Munich is a sobering experience. Five days on the piss, soaking up the beer of Munich isn’t. It’s rather knackering, actually. But mix the two and you can have yourself a great time. In fact, you can save yourself some time and energy by eliminating the former. After all, what self-respecting member of the bloggerati would waste valuable drinking time on culture?
The first thing you notice about Munich is that although it’s big, it’s perfectly navigable once you get your bearings. There are the S-Bahn and U-Bahn rail systems, but like many cities, the best way is to see it on foot. Alas, like many cities, they seem to have an aversion to signposting the streets, but a good map and/or sat nav to pinpoint your position should help with that.
Another, somewhat surprising, discovery was the relative difficulty in obtaining a late drink. We’re not talking about a very late drink, but just a nightcap. Tandleman (yes, Mr München was there) and I set quite a pattern in being the last patrons of several establishments. Of course, there are places you can get a drink, but not necessarily the places you’d choose. As this is something it shares with London, perhaps it’s a quirk of places with more money than sense?
Apart from that gripe, it has to be said that the pubs were wonderfully busy with people eating and drinking. Consumption remains at a very healthy level here, despite the relatively high prices. How long that can last, with Munich veterans complaining of rising prices, and the daily delivery of Euros to Ireland, is anyone’s guess. But hold on, what about the smoking ban? Hasn’t that caused 99% of drinkers to stay at home in an onanistic orgy of petulance? No.
Hofbräuhaus: Much beloved by Tandleman, not so much by Mr’s T, you can’t visit Munich without visiting here at least once. Thousands of litres are drunk each day in this massive, rambling beer hall. Great for people watching, but there is better beer to be had elsewhere, I feel.
Augustiner-Großgaststätten: A well run, impressive building in the heart of Munich’s pedestrian precinct. A great place to sample their Edelstoff straight from the barrel.
Two other excellent Augustiner places were the Bräustuben, right by the brewery and the Keller, which has a terrific beer garden.
Altes Hackerhaus: Good selection of Hacker-Pschorr beers in this cosy, welcoming upmarket place. There was also an interesting menu with a rare (for Munich) sighting of salmon. Also memorable for the excellent waitress who provided first rate service all evening.
Der Pschorr: Just off the Viktualiemarkt, this was a smart, pricy, modern pub that also had a memorable waitress. Sadly for all the wrong reasons. Having spent a good few Euros in here keeping her in work, she came over, and very unprofessionally, complained about the size of her tip.
There were many more, but two outside Munich stand out.
Herzogliches Bräustuberl: This former monastery on the shores of the Tergensee is in a very picturesque setting, and the beer, particularly the Spezial, was terrific.
Klostergasthof Andechs: The hour walk up to this resplendent monastery is well worth it and, thankfully, a lot easier on the way down.
Munich really does have something for everyone. Just watch out for the cyclists. And take your brolly.