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Oktoberfest kicks off in NYC this weekend (yes, in September)

Oktoberfest kicks off in NYC this weekend (yes, in September)
Photograph: Courtesy Watermark Oktoberfest

Raise a mammoth stein to the German-born festival taking over your favorite biergartens starting today: Oktoberfest! (Yes, we know it’s only September, but that’s just how Oktoberfest works.)

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Oktoberfest in NYC

While we’re always down to day-drink and eat soft pretzels, we understand glugging brews served in das beer boot can be, y’know, trite. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best Bavarian happenings this weekend that offer unique perks in addition to the usual suds-soaked festivities. And don’t worry if you can’t celebrate this weekend. Oktoberfest events continue through October, too.

Watermark Oktoberfest

At this waterfront bar’s annual Oktoberfest extravaganza on Pier 15 you’ll get a killer arm workout while carrying one-liter steins ($16) filled to the brim with Hofbräu, Weihenstephan or Radeberger. And all that lifting means you can gorge on brats guilt-free! Get the most beer for your buck by reserving a two-hour tasting ($60) featuring the aforementioned suds on tap.

Why GO? For the amazing views along the East River. Bonus: Everything on the menu (including beer) is $8. Pier 15, 78 South St (oktober-fest.nyc). Fri 15–Sun 17, Sept 22–24, Sept 29–Oct 1 noon–midnight; free–$60. 


Paulaner on Bowery

For six Saturdays, this brewpub is hosting one of the most traditional Oktoberfest bashes in NYC, equipped with Bavarian grub like veggie spaetzle and wiener schnitzel. On Saturday, September 16, head to the Lower East Side watering hole at 6pm to watch notable “Citizen Mayor” Bryan Woody (general manager of private membership club Spring Place) get the party started after he taps the keg—a German Oktoberfest tradition since 1810.

Why go? Paulaner is brewed under a strict German purity law called reinheitsgebot, so the suds will be as fresh and authentic as if you were drinking in Munich. 265 Bowery (212-780-0300, paulanernyc.com). Sat 16, Sept 23, Sept 30, Oct 7, Oct 14, Oct 21 at various times; admission free.


Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten

Billed as “the mother of all Oktoberfests,” this month-and-a-half–long celebration includes drink specials ($2 off half-liters, and $14 liter steins) and fun events such as a Sausage Fest, during which guests sample 12 kinds of meat, plus a Haunted Beer Garden Halloween Party (Oct 31) with an all-day happy hour.

Why go? There’s a free pig roast during Loreley’s kickoff shindig on Saturday 16! 7 Rivington St (212-253-7077, loreleynyc.com). Sept 16–Oct 31 at various times; admission free.

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