LA Oktoberfest: 7 biergartens to drink like a German

Get out your lederhosen and fete Oktoberfest with a pint of beer and Bavarian eats from wurst to schnitzel at LA's best biergartens.

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Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Das boot at Red Lion Tavern

Sure, LA may not have grilled fish on sticks as they famously do in Munich, but the spirit of Oktoberfest is in effect year-round at these seven biergartens and beer bars. Stop in for a beer and some cheap eats, in the form of wurst and big-as-your-face pretzels. You may even momentarily forget the annual Bavarian revelry taking place 6,000 miles away.


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Biergarten

  • Price band: 2/4

L.A.-raised Neil Kwon took a cue from the biergartens of Berlin and Munich in bringing craft beer to Koreatown in 2010. His beer hall. Biergarten, views Germany through a Korean prism. Platters of brats are dished up alongside Korean fried chicken, kimchi short rib fried rice and burgers both American and international—try spicy Chosun One with red chili paste aioli and pickled daikon or a Southwest version with chipotle-infused black beans and fried green tomato. The beer list combines Old World ales like malty Spaten Optimator with West Coast IPAs like Bear Republic Racer 5, none of which appear in yard-long glasses served at kitschier neighbors. The space also touts flat screens that draw UFC and sports fans.

  1. Koreatown
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Red Lion Tavern

  • Price band: 2/4

A beer stein-shaped sign greets visitors to the divey street-side bar, but it’s all about the back patio at this Silver Lake institution, a fixture since 1959. Current owner Aidas Mattis and his family still maintain the Bavarian connection with imagery of the Berlin bear and a 3-D mural of old-school, beer-toasting Germans and wall-mounted promotional tins from classic German breweries like Warsteiner and Bitburger, also served on tap. Schnitzel and sausage are series regulars at Red Lion where they'll be pouring Hofbrau Oktoberfest, "the original beer of Bavarian kings" in commemorative steins and featuring live music in the downstairs bar through mid-October.

  1. Silver Lake
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Standard Biergarten

  • Price band: 2/4

The weekend pool parties are legendary, but the Standard Downtown has managed to carve out a corner of their rooftop for Bavaria's sake. A gigantic birdhouse that feels like it belongs in a fable dispenses tickets—each good for a pretzel, wurst or strudel from a wagon that resides at the other end of the Astroturf. Fichus trees frame yellow patio furniture but don't block the prized views of surrounding Downtown. Trade in tickets for grilled bratwurst, a large pretzel and a stein of schwartzbier, and perch yourself at a high-top communal table.

  1. Downtown
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Steingarten LA

  • Price band: 2/4

Near Fox Studios in Rancho Park, Abraham Berookhim planted a "California beer garden," with craft beer featured in a communal dining hall with a retractable skylight. The space also incorporates a back patio with a fire pit—a 20-foot wide art piece crafted from 360 tiles—and a full bar. Sausages fall into three categories: Country, Game and Vegan. They’ve also got burgers, bar bites, and a top-notch craft beer program. Look out for brewery events, pairing dinners and special beer tastings scheduled by the bar’s hop-fueled beer maven David Watrous.

  1. West Los Angeles
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Verdugo

  • Price band: 2/4

Ryan Sweeney, Brandon Bradford, Cherith Spicer and Kyle Bilowitz set Los Angeles abuzz when they opened Verdugo Bar in the Eastside's Glassell Park, featuring only a sign that reads "Cocktails" to signal their presence. Their craft beer roster turned Verdugo Bar into a destination. Here, people seek their booths and curved wooden bar. Over the years, they’ve added a back patio that features communal seating and a wall of craft brewery tins. Food trucks often take up residence at Verdugo Bar’s parking lot and game nights and weekend board games are in the weekly lineup. Verdugo holds an annual Oktoberfest party, complete with boot races, stein-holding competitions and prizes.

  1. Glassell Park
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Wirtshaus

  • Price band: 2/4

Wear you lederhosen to this Mid-City West biergarten, where an extensive selection of German brews are served up alongside traditional German fare like schnitzel, sausages and homemade pretzels. Grab a seat at the bar or at a communal table on the dog-friendly patio and sample over 35 beers—if beer isn't your thing, there's wine on hand, as well as a ping-pong table and flat screen TV. And, of course, Oktoberfest festivities are an annual occurrence, and include live music, food and drink specials, and a ceremonial first tap.

  1. Mid-City West
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Wurstküche

  • Price band: 2/4

Cousins Tyler Wilson and Joseph Pitruzzelli have the uncanny ability to transform a triangular space into a Wurstküche, contemporary "sausage kitchen," each one outfitted in industrial, geometric furniture—crafted by Pitruzzelli himself—and a DJ booth. The cousins' crew will gladly grill sausages like Polish-style Kielbasa or more adventurous Rattlesnake & Rabbit to pair with a "groot" worth of skin-on frites. In case you didn't know, that amounts to a lot of fries. Wurstküche primarily pours Belgian and German beers from (surprisingly) brand-free tap handles. Try the notoriously tart Duchesse de Bourgogne or sweet Aventinus Eisbock that packs a punch.

  1. Downtown
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Users say

1 comments
Cheffe
Cheffe

Only Wirtshaus on La Brea and I think Red Lion in Silverlake actually celebrate Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest cheat sheet: 8 German phrases to know


Bone up on your ‘Kraut speak before you hit the beer gardens—you’ll impress your friends and get better service from bartenders who know their bocks from their rauchbiers. Prost!

Dieses bier is sehr gut....This beer is very good.

Noch ein bier, bitte....Another beer, please.

Bitte leiten sie den senf fur meine bratwurst....Please pass the mustard for my bratwurst.

Ich fordere dich zum saufduell heraus...I challenge you to a drinking contest.

Mehr wurste!...More sausage!

Mehr bier!...More beer!

Wo ist die toilette?...Where is the bathroom?

Ich glaube ich habe in den krug gekotzt...I think I threw up in this stein.

Kannst du mir bitte ein taxi rufen?...Can you please call me a cab?