Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival. Every year since 1810, Munich comes alive as a destination for beer lovers and transforms into a playground for 18 days starting mid-September. Across several weeks and many tents, people swig Bavarian beers from massive glass steins, march in costume parades, play on amusement rides, listen to live music, partake in keg tapping, and consume an enormous amount of traditional German food.
For serious beer lovers, Oktoberfest in Munich is a holiday destination and rite of passage. For others, it’s glorious fun to attend local festivities and pay homage to the region of Bavaria in your own city. Melbourne has its fair share of Oktoberfest celebrations, including pop-up festivals and dedicated events across the city. If you’re not the type to don lederhosen or dirndl, another way to celebrate Oktoberfest is with an incredible meal at one of the city’s many German eateries.
Here’s how to celebrate Oktoberfest in Melbourne – from raucous partying to quieter homages to the fine food and beverages of Germany. And if you are not satisfied with any of these order your own personal chef melbourne.
Oktoberfest at Melbourne’s best German eateries
For some people, Oktoberfest means an excuse to party and binge drink Bavarian beers while dressed in lederhosen. For others, it’s about paying homage to Bavarian culture by way of appreciating its traditional food and drinks. If you’re part of the latter group, take Oktoberfest as an opportunity to visit one of Melbourne’s authentic German restaurants for a traditional feast.
Hofbräuhaus in Chinatown is known for its massive Oktoberfest party. But not many people know about its sister venue, The Hof in Melbourne’s Docklands. You’ll find the same fantastic range of Bavarian and Austrian biers as at Hofbräuhaus, as well as themed cocktails and imported wines. On top of that, the menu is made up of ‘new age’ Bavarian dishes styled and created by Executive Chef Sunny Gilbert and Head Chef Neil Salonga.
The Hof’s menu showcases a more modern take on Bavarian cuisine, combining traditional recipes with modern techniques and new flavours. You’ll find fresh takes on currywurst, maiskolben, Bavarian fried chicken, German gnocchi, pork belly, and the usual Kransky and schnitzel affairs. The restaurant also offers a special 3-course meal curated by the chefs as well as a feast platter featuring pork knuckle, pork belly, sausages, schnitzel, cabbage, mashed potato, sauerkraut, and more traditional delicacies.
German Club Tivoli
Head to the German Club Tivoli for a deep dive into German culture in Melbourne. The German social club has a bar, restaurant, and function room – the Bauernstube – that are all dedicated to preserving German cultural traditions, language, and lifestyle. Every year, German Club Tivoli hosts a special Oktoberfest celebration, but after a year of lockdowns, they’ve decided to take this year off. But that doesn’t mean you can’t visit the social club for your own Oktoberfest celebrations – this is the place to go for an authentic German experience without the wildness of an Oktoberfest party.
German Club Tivoli dates back to 1860 when Victoria’s gold rush attracted an influx of German migrants. It’s one of Melbourne’s best German restaurants and the perfect spot to get a dose of traditional German culture. Visit on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night and you’ll get to experience live entertainment like traditional music and dancing.
Dine on a diverse menu of authentic German dishes like deep-fried pickles, eintopf, kartoffelpuffer, sausages, sour roasted beef, oven-baked strudel, and meatloaf. To complete your Oktoberfest experience, the German Club Tivoli has various biers on tap and in bottles, as well as German spirits, schnapps, and imported German and Austrian wines.
The Cuckoo Restaurant
This is Bavarian hospitality at its finest. The Cuckoo Restaurant is a great example of Melbourne fine dining, renowned across the world for its infamous celebrity chef Willi Koeppen. Though Koeppen has passed, the restaurant lives on as a legacy and cultural institution embodying Bavarian culture and food. Nestled in the Dandenong Ranges, the restaurant lies just outside of Melbourne but makes for a fantastic Oktoberfest getaway destination.
With a traditional alpine-style chalet interior, you’ll find all the Oktoberfest necessities here like German smorgasbords, yodelling, and even folk dancing. The restaurant has three dining areas with a dancefloor, band area, outdoor gazebo, and staff dressed in traditional Bavarian clothing. There’s also a schnapps bar, six German beers on tap, and many a stein to choose from. Open for lunch and dinner every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, there’s always some form of live entertainment whether it’s music, yodelling, or folk dancing.
When it comes to food, there are plenty of German smorgasbords offering authentic classics in a fine dining style. During the day you’ll find Kaffee und Kuchen, a more laidback cafe-style menu with sweet treats like sachertorte and schwarzwalder kirschtorte. In the evening is an a-la-carte menu as well as various banquet selections with a multi-course range of German dishes depending on budget and hunger level.
The simplest option offers a schnitzel, salad, and apple strudel. The Der Bauer smorgasbord includes charcuterie, frankfurt or Kransky, and a special recipe potato salad with black forest cake. The more elaborate Die Konigin has the addition of goulash, spaetzle, and dumplings while Der Kaiser goes all out with smoked and pickled fish, a platter of sausages, pork belly, various salads, goulash, dumplings, spaetzle, and four different cakes. Wash it all down with complimentary schnapps and you’ll feel just as satisfied as you would at any Oktoberfest celebration in Munich.
The biggest Oktoberfest events in Melbourne
These are for those of us who want to don our costumes and get lost in a packed crowd of beer lovers for a day or two. Melbourne’s Oktoberfest events are large and loud, with DJs, dancing, plenty of beer flowing. Grab your friends, reserve a table, and get ready to party like you’re in Munich at one of these Oktoberfest celebrations.
If it’s an authentic Bavarian Oktoberfest experience you’re after, head to Hofbräuhaus in Melbourne’s Chinatown. This authentic German restaurant is a hub for Bavarian food, imported Bavarian and Austrian beers, and all the usual Oktoberfest shenanigans like traditional music, competitions, and Bavarian feasts.
Hofbräuhaus’s Oktoberfest celebrations are set to be wild this year after a year off in 2020, so dust off your lederhosen and dirndl and get ready to party! The fun kicks off with an opening event on the 18th of September and celebrations continue until the 30th of October. There’ll be traditional Bavarian foods, massive steins with a wide selection of beers, and keg tapping and stein carrying competitions.
Drink yourself silly with the huge range of (extremely alcoholic) Austrian and Bavarian beers, schnapps, and special cocktails. Eat your Bavarian heart out with freshly baked bretzels, raclette, kartoffelsalat, spaetzle, schnitzels, sausages, and a special menu of authentic Bavarian classics like pork knuckle and duck breast.
Yarra Valley Oktoberfest
For a more traditional Oktoberfest blowout, head to Lilydale for the annual Yarra Valley Oktoberfest celebration. This pop-up festival has all the Oktoberfest essentials, including an enormous beer hall, beer garden, food trucks, German entertainment, DJs, and more. Drink stein-loads of authentic German beers like Hofbrau, Lowenbrau, and Paulaner Pilsner, all staples of the Oktoberfest celebration in Munich. The festival also has plenty of local brews, apple cider, wine, and sparkling for those who don’t fancy Bavarian beers.
This is another one of those lederhosen and dirndl Oktoberfest parties in Melbourne, and there’s even prizes for best dressed with a daily ‘Fashions in the Beer Hall’ event. It’s not all wild and raucous, however, you’ll find plenty of quiet nooks to settle with your friends and a beer. You can even reserve a table for an all-day hangout spot. When it’s time to eat, head to the food truck park for various German-themed foods like bratwurst and pretzels.
Oktoberfest St Kilda
This is set to be Melbourne’s biggest Oktoberfest blowout, held in St. Kilda’s Catani Gardens. Get set to party with a massive beer hall, plenty of DJs, silent discos, live music, amusement rides, and a tonne of hosted games like German limbo. There’ll also be competitions for best dressed, holding the stein, and some non-Bavarian competitions like ‘best selfie’.
If we’re honest, this sounds like less of a traditional Oktoberfest party and more one that’s merged with Australian culture. Still, there’ll be plenty of German (and non-German) beers on tap and a range of traditional foods like bratwurst, pretzels, and a selection of pork dishes as well as a food truck park with Aussie classics.
Host your own Oktoberfest celebration in Melbourne
Prefer to celebrate Oktoberfest your own way? The festival is a great opportunity to have some fun with friends or family, work friends, or work clients.
Celebrate Oktoberfest at home
It’s hard to predict the future with Melbourne going in and out of lockdown, but there’s a chance you’ll be celebrating Oktoberfest from home. There are plenty of ways to bring the fun and games of Oktoberfest to your home. Order a selection of imported Bavarian beers or schnapps and enjoy sampling them with your loved ones. To soak up the beverages, grab takeaway foods from the city’s German eateries like The Hof or German Club Tivoli. For a more luxurious experience, hire a Melbourne home chef to prepare and cook a traditional German feast with your favourites – whether that’s slow-roasted pork, spaetzle, potato dumplings, or bratwurst is up to you.
Corporate Oktoberfest celebrations
Encourage workplace team building by throwing a corporate Oktoberfest party that lets your employees relax, mingle, and make a toast to Germany’s greatest export – beer! Reserve a venue like German Club Tivoli’s Bauernstube for an authentic Bavarian environment and encourage your team to dress up in their best dirndl and lederhosen. Host live entertainment like an oompah band or yodellers and get set to host your own set of German games like stein-carrying and keg tapping. Hire a Melbourne private chef to prepare a traditional German smorgasbord for the party, complete with pretzels, schnitzels, sauerkraut, and all else your heart desires!
Celebrate Oktoberfest with business clients
Have visiting clients you want to entertain throughout September or October? Show them something different and celebrate Oktoberfest with a refined and luxurious multi-course dinner. Hire a personal chef in Melbourne to curate a special German-themed menu that can be innovative and inventive, or traditional and hearty. Talk business, eat fine foods and sip on schnapps, imported beers, and fine German wines without having to lug around a heavy stein.