The best places to get your fix of the German hop festival
The annual Oktoberfest hop festival originated in Munich, Germany, in 1810, when festivities were held to celebrate the wedding of Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen to Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I). In Germany the annual celebrations take place over a period of 16 to 18 days, and usually run from late September to the first weekend in October, although in Dubai things kick off a little later. With the biggest and best-known of Dubai’s Oktoberfest celebrations opening on Wednesday September 12 at the Grand Hyatt and Dubai Cricket Stadium, we take a closer look at these two, plus four more spots to get your fix of bratwurst and Bavarian brews. Prost!
Grand Oktoberfest Now in its fifth year, the Grand Hyatt’s hop festival will take place in an air-conditioned tent decked out in the authentic Bavarian style. Though there are no drinks deals, there are four different types of German hops available, as well as all manner of Bavarian dishes – there will also be a Friday brunch (alcohol must be bought separately) on October 14, 21 and 28 from 12.30pm until 4.30pm. At last year’s celebrations, 3,468 Nuernberger bratwurst, 822 Municher sausages and 800 pretzels were consumed, and more than 9,000 litres of hops were sold. In 2010 the brunches were fully booked within days, and a total of 6,000 guests visited the tent – in fact, 33 per cent more hops were consumed per head at the Grand Hyatt’s Oktoberfest than at the original celebration in Munich.
This year, oompah band Die Kirchdorfer will be flying in from Munich’s Hacker Tent to provide tunes every night. The hotel is expecting to cater for more than 8,000 guests during the period, so book early for brunch – there will also be a laides’ and mothers’ night every Tuesday, with deals for women. Expect a party atmosphere with plenty of people in fancy dress. Free entry. Sat-Wed 7pm-1am; Thu 7pm-3am; Fri 12.30pm-4.30pm, 7pm-3am. October 12-29. Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha (04 317 2271)
Oktoberfest-Wiesn Party On Friday October 7, The German Emirates Club and The Els Club will host what they claim is the biggest Oktoberfest in the Middle East at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai Sports City. Set up in tents like the original Munich festival, the event will have a capacity of up to 5,000 revellers, and will host all manner of activities. Expect a bouncy castle, bucking bronco, face painting and a football competition during the day. In the evening, the Oktoberfest-Wiesn Party kicks off with live music from Bavarian band Bayern Express, while German DJ Sabrina Terrance will play a mix of Bavarian sounds and hits to get everyone on the dancefloor. There will be competitions for the best dirndl (a traditional Bavarian dress) and yodelling, so dig out your outfit and get practising. Dhs95, including one free glass of hops. Doors open noon. Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Sports City. (050 819 7973)
Der Keller Impressive interiors at this German restaurant lend the celebrations an authentic feel – you’d be forgiven for temporarily forgetting you’re in Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
Dishes and deals: Naturally, there will be plenty of traditional and contemporary dishes to choose from here, with options such as German salad and sausage. As well as hops, there will also be German grape-based beverages available by both the glass and bottle, and a happy hour from 6pm until 7pm every evening. Free entry. Mon-Sat 6pm-1am. Until October 15. Jumeirah Beach Hotel (04 406 8999)
Hofbräuhaus For the entire month of October, grab your lederhosen or dirndl and prepare to swing to music from the live band, while sipping two different types of German hops.
Dishes and deals: Expect everything from Bavarian beef goulash to smoked mackerel, plus live cooking stations serving sausages and more. It’s à la carte Saturday to Wednesday, but there’s a buffet on Thursdays and Fridays priced at Dhs330 including house drinks. Free entry. Daily 7pm-2am. Until October 31. JW Marriott, Deira (04 607 7977)
The Irish Village German oompah band The Pik As will be flying in for the weekend to provide the soundtrack for a celebration of all things Bavarian.
Dishes and deals: The buffet (priced at Dhs150 per person) will contain a spread of German specialities, such as sauerkraut, herring, sausages and pretzels, alongside German hops to sup while you enjoy the music. Free entry. Thu-Fri 7pm ’til late. October 13-14. Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud (04 282 4750)
Brauhaus Tap your feet to traditional Bavarian tunes from live band Volte while you munch pretzels at the bar.
Dishes and deals: This venue serves German food and drinks year-round, and throughout Oktoberfest will be offering a buffet of Bavarian classics with selected drinks for Dhs259. Free entry. Daily 7pm-2am. October 18-22. Jumeira Rotana Hotel, Satwa (04 345 5888).