Jeremy Schaller knows a thing or two about Oktoberfest. In addition to being the third-generation owner of the German butcher shop and delicatessen Schaller & Weber, he's heading to Munich this year for his sixth Oktoberfest. But that doesn't mean there aren't proper ways to celebrate the festival of German beer, food and music, which kicks off Saturday, right here in NYC. Just take it from him.
"[Oktoberfest in Munich] is one of my favorite things to do, but now people can have that same experience here in New York City," Schaller says.
So grab your lederhosen and dirndl -- here's where to get your fill of Bavarian brews and bratwurst.
Ambrose Beer & Lobster
Try for a shot at going to Germany's Oktoberfest at the restaurant's stein hoisting competition this Friday. Interested competitors should arrive before the 6 p.m. start to sign up, while those looking to just watch can enjoy soft pretzels, bratwurst, German beers (including Schofferhofer and Radeberger) and giveaways. The winner will be entered for a chance to win a trip to Oktoberfest and to compete in Jimmy Kimmel's stein hoisting competition on TV later this month; 18 Fulton St., 212-480-0300.
Stone Street Amerikaner Oktoberfest
An outdoor beer garden will take over Stone Street between Coenties Alley and Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan this Saturday from noon-10 p.m., with live music and German beer and food like Bavarian pretzels alongside American classics, barbecue, whole pig roasts and more from nearly a dozen restaurants, including Bavaria Bierhaus. Get a head start on the Oktoberfest celebrations during a keg-tapping ceremony on Friday at 6 p.m., featuring free Sixpoint Amerikaner Oktoberfest beer, brewed especially for the celebration, and live oompah music; Ulyssesnyc.com.
Watermark Bar on Pier 15
For three weekends, the waterfront restaurant will turn into a traditional Oktoberfest, complete with decor, food, brews, live music and stein-holding contests. Enjoy brats, dogs, giant pretzels and more, as well as traditional Hofbrau beer at communal picnic tables on the pier. Admission is free, but reserve a spot in advance online. The festival runs now through Oct. 4 on Saturdays and Sundays from noon-midnight, with two-hour unlimited beer tastings for $60 on Fridays from 6-8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 3-5 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. 78 South St., 212-742-8200.
Schaller & Weber
The German-style food store is going all-out for Oktoberfest this year with a new rotisserie that will be serving up schweinshaxe, or crispy pork knuckle, for $6.99/pound starting Friday, just like you'd find during the celebrations in Munich. And per usual, it will be serving German beers and sausage sandwiches at its new next-door stand, Schaller's Stube, modeled after a Berlin-style currywurst stand. For an at-home feast, there's also its popular Oktoberfest Pack ($42.99) featuring various wursts and mustards that can be picked up in store or mail-ordered; 1654 Second Ave., 212-879-3047.
The annual German-American parade marches along Fifth Avenue from 65th to 86th streets starting at noon this Saturday, followed by a party at Central Park's Rumsey Playfield with live music from German-American acts Spitze and the Alex Meixner Band from 1:30-7 p.m. "They do like a St. Patrick's-style parade up Fifth Avenue, and that's what really kicks off Oktoberfest for us," Schaller says. "Our store gets really packed for that event." Parade grandstand $15, Oktoberfest party $25/general admission, $130/VIP tent; germanparadenyc.org.
Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten
The Oktoberfest festivities at this beer garden include a party on Saturday featuring free beer until the keg runs out, a pig roast and traditional German music; daily specials from Saturday through Oct. 4 on Oktoberfest beers ($1 off half-liter, $2 off liters) including Hofbräu Oktoberfest, Weihenstephan Oktoberfest and Spaten Oktoberfest; and an Oktoberfest closing party on Oct. 4 with more free beer from the keg. New dishes just in time for Oktoberfest also include a shareable sausage platter; 7 Rivington St., 212-253-7077.
The Standard High Line
Grab a mug of the Standard Brauhaus Oktoberfest and get moving to a 35-piece German polka band during the hotel's dirndl- and lederhosen-filled celebration in its Biergarten this Saturday at 5 p.m. "The Standard is always a traditional-style beer garden, but they bring in a lot of traditional German bands, oompah bands, to play during the month," Schaller says. "People don't expect them to be very good but they're awesome. It goes perfect with the beer-drinking atmosphere." -- 848 Washington St., 212-645-4646.
Celebrate the city's craft brewery scene at this Brooklyn block party, hosted by the New York City Brewers Guild on Saturday from 1-5 p.m. Try specialty beers from more than 20 breweries while you enjoy live music, food truck fare, a beanbag toss tournament and more. $10-$30; 525 Waverly Ave., Clinton Hill, newyorkcitybrewersguild.com.
The German restaurant begins its Oktoberfest celebration with a weekend of live music from Mösl Franzi and the JaJaJa's, imported Oktoberfest beers on tap, giant pretzels, Oktoberfest roast chicken and staff dressed up in dirndl and lederhosen on Sept. 26 and 27. Doors open at 1 p.m; free admission; 107 Ave. C, 212-598-1098.
Black Forest Brooklyn
The beer garden will mark Oktoberfest with a big party on Oct. 2, featuring a keg-tapping ceremony (with free beer from the first keg), a mug-holding competition, a live performance from the Brooklyn-based Balkan brass funk band Slavic Soul Party! and food and drink specials, all starting at 7 p.m. $10; 733 Fulton St., Fort Greene, 718-935-0300.
Munich on the East River
Zum Schneider's Oktoberfest celebration continues with this authentic outdoor party, modeled after the Munich tradition. From Oct. 2-11, find original Oktoberfest beers on tap, live music from Mösl Franzi and the JaJaJa's, strongman competitions, games, giant pretzels and more under a massive tent that can fit close to 1,000 revelers. "That is probably as close to what you'd get to the one in Munich here in the United States," Schaller says. Starting at $25; Solar One, 23rd Street and the East River, zumschneider.com.
The Edible Oktoberfest
Get your wurst on with this traditional Oktoberfest meal at Brooklyn Brewery on Oct. 7 from 6-8 p.m. prepared by Emily Peterson, the executive chef at Astor Center. $45; 79 N. 11th St., Williamsburg, ediblebrooklyn.com.