Seattle boasts first place in German restaurants per capita and fourth place in Oktoberfest festivals and parties per capita, so it’s no surprise the city knows how to do Oktoberfest (Sept 22–Oct 7) right. To our biergarten-lovers and stein-searching friends, we give you eight places to pour a pint (or ten)...
Sept 21–23 If you really want to go full Rhineland, you head to Leavenworth in October. But if you need to don your dirndl more locally, Fremont offers the city’s major option. The German festival is also one of the city’s bigger beer fests, filling your stein with more than 80 local and international brews. For oompahing tubas you’ll have to head a little closer to Munich, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
2nd Annual Weihenstephan Oktoberfest at Die Bierstube
Sept 28 & 29 Four words say it all: David Hasselhoff look-a-like showdown. Finally an excuse to dust off your red speedos, leather pants, and button-less shirts this September 28. Tabletop dancing isn’t just offered, it’s encouraged. A live DJ will be by your side with a background bop of traditional Oktoberfest tunes, John Denver, and the Backstreet Boys. Rally for day two as the next evening features carnival games, rides, and of course a Brotzeit Teller.
Sept 28 & 29, Oct 5 & 6, Oct 12 & 13 One weekend of festivities obviously isn’t enough. Over the course of three weekends communal tables and over 75 different biers (including the seasonal Weihenstephaner Festbier) will host nightly stein-holding contests and returning champions—who will compete once more in a final showdown as Seahawks tickets dangle in the distance. Dance along to Bavarian Beer Garden Band while downing a healthy dose of rabbit stew, venison roulladen, or chicken paprikash.
Sept 22–30, & Oct 5 Cue September’s OktoBEERfest, where upwards of 50 different rotating German beers will likely quench all of Seattle more than the rain itself. Fair warning though, things will get competitive. Receive a punch card and a check mark for every liter downed. Hit 12 different beers, and receive a plaque and custom mug for your efforts. First person to reach 12 receives a hefty title: Speed Champ. The bier fiend who drinks the most? You’re now the “King of Marzens,” and you’ll be performing the traditional tapping of the keg at next year’s celebration. The staff will sport their favorite drindls and lederhosens at the annual Oktoberfest celebration on October 5, so obviously you should too.
Oct 5–7 After 13 years of practice, it’s really quite simple: Provide authentic brats, bier, and wiener dog races, and the prost tends to take care of itself. While adults take their swing at the Washington State Fair’s hammerschlagen, kids can enjoy the half-mile rootbeer run (plus, if they’re 12 or under, their admission is free.) Fair warning though, you might get pulled into one of the polkas before calling it a weekend.
Oktoberfest at Feierabend
Oct 5 & 6 The buzzing South Lake Union neighborhood has another thing coming with this wood-clad German pub’s plans for Oktoberfest. On Oct 5, Feierabend will partner with multiple taps from Ayinger Brauerei, a longstanding and renowned German brewery. For $20, pour out any of their taps and keep the stein. Then, on Oct 6, Feierabend will join ranks with Weihenstephaner, the world’s oldest brewery. No worries if you’re on the hunt for an authentic snack too, two of their biers gets you a free Schweinhaxen (slow-braised pork knuckle.)
Oct 6 Grab your closest and most competitive three friends because it’s OktoberFEAST. It's essentially a food-feast relay washed down with a half-liter of lager. Going into its fourth year, Rhein Haus will host its annual charity eating contest, and donate $250 to the winning team’s charity of choice. You might walk away with bragging rights, a $50 Rhein Haus gift card, and a commemorative Oktoberfest T-shirt, but definitely a stomach full of pretzel bites, Nuremberg sausages, currywurst and German doughnuts. What’s more: The entry fee is just $25 per team, which will be donated to benefit hunger relief agency Northwest Harvest.
Oct 6 Big Chickie and Slow Boat Tavern are teaming up for their second Oktoberfest from 11 to 9. Slow Boat's providing the German beer while Big Chickie supplies the German fare: brats, potato salad, kraut, pretzles, spatzel. Bonus: a special glass beer stein purchase will earn you two 20-ounce pours.