Food & Drink

Where to find the best of Oktoberfest

Published On 09/25/2013 Published On 09/25/2013
Pouring a boot of Kwak at Bru

Congrats on winning that liter-lifting throwdown at Brauhaus Schmitz -- now bulk up more than your biceps with Thrillist Philly's guide to the besten Oktoberfest essentials. We've separated the lederhosen from the lame-derhosen to find the only bar in town with harvest drafts on SELF-SERVE TAPS, perfect for washing down the ultimate brew-braised bacon-sauerkraut-smothered sausages

And if you absolutely have to burn off those 'brats playing ping pong in Fishtown 'til last call, ja, we've got a beer garden for that too.

Best Drafts: BRU
Because the future is now, the self-serve draft system at this block-deep Midtown Village beer garden features touchscreen iPads and magnetic fob taps to help you choose and pour seasonal suds like BRU Hausfest, Ace Perry Cider, and Avery Brewing's The Kaiser, and because history repeats itself, there's also an old-school stone drainage system built underneath. At 30 cents an ounce, it's easy to lose your grip on more than your decision-making.

Best Sausages: Wursthaus Schmitz
The Brauhaus Schmitz crew's Reading Terminal Market stall is a Bavarian bodega-meets-butcher shop stacked with year-round Oktoberfest necessities like boxed knudel and curry ketchup, while the sizzling grills behind display cases, packed with take-away head cheese and Hungarian salami, cook up 17 specialty sausages like beef goulash-piled 'brats, horseradish mustard-slathered kielbasa, and cole slaw-smothered Bavarians.

Best Pretzels: Frankford Hall
The oversized warm Bavarian dough-knots roving vendors peddle at Stephen Starr's Fishtown beer garden are bigger than the ping pong paddles swinging inside the Frankford Ave courtyard's outdoor tables, and are sure to land in your cuppa cheese dip before the ball ever does.

Best Cocktails: Stratus Lounge
Prefer rooftop lounges to beer gardens and brew-floating booze to steins of hard suds? Hide yourself high above Old City on the Hotel Monaco's indoor-outdoor party deck, where the resident mixologist's shaking up Oktoberfest with the rye-and-honey Reinheitsgebot topped with Yards Brawler, and October in the Caribbean, a two-rum-and-lime 'tail with a Flying Dog IPA rising above it all.

Best Patio: City Tap House
Not a real pagan celebration unless you're bathed in harvest moonlight and the glow of five high-flaming fire pits? Sorry, but Oktoberfest is actually a commemoration of the marriage of... never mind. Once your date's warmed up to you on this UCity upper deck, she'll believe pretty much anything you say, except maybe how you're descended from King Ludwig I and... what's her name?

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1. BRÜ Craft & Wurst 1318 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

BRU Craft & Wurst brings the German a biergarten-like experience to Washington Square West in a block-deep craft beer retreat, from the team behind Finn McCools and Prime Lounge. An impressive beer list draws sud hounds, with Austrian, German and Belgian imports accompanied by American craft ales on a lengthy list. iPads mounted on a copper backboard control taps that you can pour yourself, allowing you to self-serve by the ounce. And all that beer needs to be soaked up somehow: here, Bavarian pretzels are dipped in smokey gouda fondue, veal cutlet is slathered in mushroom gravy, and doner kebab gets doused in spicy yogurt.

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2. Wursthaus Schmitz 51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (Market East)

If there's one thing Germans and Philadelphians have in common, it's that they can be total jerks when they're backing the same cause. But if there's another, it's liking German food. So thank the glorious bastards behind Wursthaus Schmitz, a white-tiled mega-stall inside Reading Terminal Market from the dudes behind Brauhaus Schmitz.

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3. Frankford Hall 1210 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125 (Fishtown)

One of the only year-round beer gardens, Frankford Hall is also the most traditional German biergarten. The brick-walled Fishtown spot has a menu that features German classics like spätzle, schnitzel, and six different types of sausages. Additionally, the draft beer list has over 10 different German beer selections, all available in large, liter steins. It's especially popular in the summer months, when an opening at one of the picnic tables is harder to find than a parking spot in Fairmount.

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4. Hotel Monaco 433 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (Old City)

A jewel in Philadelphia's Old City district, Hotel Monaco Philadelphia boasts luxury suites and the famous Stratus Rooftop Lounge, equipped with an awesome fireplace. If only the Founding Fathers could ball this out of control.

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5. City Tap House 3925 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (West Phillyu City)

City Tap House has an extensive selection of micro-brews and delicious food to go along with them, as well as a killer patio for outdoor drinking.



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