How to order at a German beer garden?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Ordering at a German beer garden can be a unique experience, as it often differs from the typical restaurant setup. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the ordering process:

1. Find a seat: Upon entering the beer garden, take a stroll around to find an available table or spot. Unlike traditional restaurants, you can usually choose your own seat in a beer garden.

2. Approach the beer pouring station: Once you’ve settled on a spot, locate the central beer pouring station. This is where you’ll place your order for drinks. In some larger beer gardens, there may be multiple stations, so choose the one closest to your table.

3. Decide on your drink: Take a look at the menu or display board near the pouring station to see the available beer options. German beer gardens typically offer a variety of local and regional beers, including lagers, pilsners, wheat beers, and more. If you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to ask the staff for recommendations.

4. Order and pay: When you’re ready, approach the staff at the pouring station and place your order. It’s important to note that cash is often preferred in German beer gardens, so make sure to have some on hand. Some larger beer gardens may accept card payments, but it’s always safer to assume that cash is the way to go. Pay for your drinks upfront, and don’t forget to tip the staff if you’re pleased with the service.

5. Collect your drinks: After placing your order and paying, the staff will pour your beers and hand them over to you. They’ll typically provide you with a tray or carry them in a beer crate if you’ve ordered multiple drinks.

6. Return to your table: Once you have your drinks in hand, make your way back to your table. If you’re with a group, it’s customary to help carry the drinks for everyone.

7. Order food separately: In addition to drinks, most beer gardens also offer a variety of traditional German foods. However, the food ordering process is usually separate from the beer ordering process. Look for a designated food ordering area, such as a counter or a separate station, where you can browse the food menu and place your order. You’ll typically receive a number or a ticket, which the staff will use to deliver your food to your table.

8. Enjoy your drinks and food: Once you’ve settled back at your table with your drinks and food, it’s time to relax and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the beer garden. Raise your glass, say “Prost!” (Cheers!) and take in the sights and sounds around you.

Remember, each beer garden may have its own unique ordering system, so don’t be afraid to ask the staff or observe other patrons if you’re unsure about anything. Embrace the convivial spirit of the beer garden, and savor the experience of ordering and enjoying traditional German beers and cuisine in a relaxed outdoor setting.