Although Oktoberfest has been going strong for a couple of weeks, there's no better time than right now to get in all of the action. You know, it being October, and all. This weekend marks the official conclusion of Bavaria's favorite annual festival. But you need not be in southern Germany to drink in all the excitement of the world's largest celebration of beer. In and around the city, this weekend affords ample opportunity for lager lovers to raise high their oversized, boot-shaped glasses. Consider these notable shindigs in the days ahead.
[jump] PARK CHALET
On Saturday, from 2-5 p.m., Park Chalet's Coastal Beer Garden brings Oktoberfest to Ocean Beach. Located on the western edge of Golden Gate Park, the brewpub offers a family-friendly al fresco venue spacious enough to host Deustcher Musik Verein; a 30 piece traditional German brass band. They'll be jamming out to all your favorite polka classics while discounted steins of housemade lager flow from the heavens — or the outdoor taps, more likely. Food specials, including Bavarian-style pretzels will be served by the good-humored staff, who are forced to wear Oktoberfest attire all day.
Park Chalet Oktoberfest. 1000 Great Hwy, 415-386-8439.
San Francisco's historic German beer hall has been holding court for Oktoberfest since the middle of September. This Friday and Saturday brings more of the same. On both evenings, from 6-9 p.m., live German Volksmusik will reverberate from the rafters as an array of Bavarian culinary staples come out the kitchen. Wiener Schnitzel, Bratwurst and Spätzle, are all on special, served as obvious accompaniments to the dozens of German beers on tap and in bottle. Admission is free and drinks start at $5 a piece.
Oktoberfest Continues…240 Front St, 415-421-4778.
Those willing to BART to downtown Oakland on Saturday will be rewarded with an all-day festival offering steins of traditional German suds, along with regional craft specialities. Oaktoberfest kicks off at 11 a.m., hosted by the Dimond Improvement Association, with funds benefiting community development. Although the gathering is a distinctly Oakland-ish affair, there figures to be plenty of lederhosen in the crowd. You can snag seven hours of unlimited pours from over 40 breweries for only $50. Even factoring in the round trip BART fare, it's a bargain that's tough to beat.
Oaktoberfest Tickets. MacArthur Blvd. at Fruitvale Ave.
GERMAN TOURIST CLUB
It's always Oktoberfest at the German Tourist Club. But the magical hideaway in the middle of the Marin Headlands is even more of a desirable destination on this ultimate weekend of Bavarian beer-binging. If you can find it. Turn left onto the barely-marked Ridge Avenue as you climb the Panoramic Highway towards Mt. Tam. Hike down the pathway about 1/4 mile from the parking lot, through a portal leading directly into southern Germany.
Tourist Club San Francisco. 30 Ridge Ave, Mill Valley. 415-388-9987.
MOUNTAIN VIEW OKTOBERFEST
If you don't mind trekking down to the Peninsula this weekend, Steins Beer Garden has erected a tremendous 7,000-square-foot tent for two days worth of Oktoberfesting. Beer tickets will be sold at four for $30, but you'll have to first purchase an imprinted half-liter stein for $10. The event goes from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on both days, and features continuous live entertainment, and heaping mounds of German fare. Proceeds benefit local charities.
Mountain View Oktoberfest Tickets. Parking lot behind Steins Beer Garden, Villa St and Bryant St., Mountain View.
And if you just don't feel up for anything this weekend, Sierra Nevada has allowed you to have some Oktoberfest-themed fun in the comfort of your own home. To celebrate a seasonal beer, brewed in collaboration with Germany's Brauhaus Riegele, Sierra snuck an “Easter Egg” into its website. At the top of the navigation bar, move your cursor underneath where it says 'BIER.' A little German-dressed cartoon figure will pop up, and if you click on him, you're linked to a secret throwback-style arcade game. Help Kenny the Braumeister collect water, hops, barley and yeast so that he can brew enough beer to last thru Oktoberfest. With all the beer drinkers headed out around the Bay this weekend, he's gonna need all the help he can get.