Some hard learned tips to help you get the most out of the Oktoberfest and get through it in one piece.
1) Get there early, like 10.30.
2) If you get a seat, hang on to it for dear life. Do not move, chances of getting another seat will be slim. This is true even if you arrive at 11am.
3) However, look out for company names on tables, companies reserve blocks of tables and could kick you out. The only truly safe seat is one with no company name on it.
4) Don’t be afraid to leap over tables and benches to claim an empty seat. It’s survival of the fittest, but bear in mind point 17.
5) Be bold, often more people will fit on a bench, sit on a bench and make others make room for you.
6) Tents all have outdoor areas to sit and drink, these can be a nice alternative to the smokey madness of the beer tents.
7) Drink Radlers, or at least pace yourself. The beer is very strong.
8) Wearing a silly hat will identify you as a tourist, to really do it properly, buy traditional gear.
9) Eat! Yes you can get food in the tent, a half chicken ‘Halbe Hendl’, is just the right thing to balance the alcohol.
10) You will have one waitress for your table, give her a good tip and you will get served more quickly.
11) “But I like wine!” There are wine tents e.g. Käfer.
12) Do not take anything valuable.
13) Have a strategy for getting to your hotel.
14) Be nice to the security people at the tent doors. If you’re a girl, you have an advantage.
15) If you leave a tent for a breath of fresh air, make sure that you tell a friendly security guard that you are going for fresh air. Your chances of getting back in again are higher.
16) There are cash machines at the site, but the queues will be enormous, have cash ready before you go. But also bear in mind point 10.
17) Behave and don’t attract the attention of either security guards or the police.
18) Don’t take small children into tents, it’s no place for them.
19) This is my tip for getting a seat. Find a company table that isn’t too busy and sit down, people will immediately complain and say “This is a company table more people are coming” to which you say “Ah right..no problems, can we stay for a bit then go as soon as the places are gone”. Usually the others will say “erm.. ok”, but the trick is that after a couple of beers everyone is so drunk that no-one will care any more.
I’ve done this a few times and also seen it work a few times when I’ve been the guy saying “This is a company table”.