It may have started as a royal nuptials celebration in the city of Munich back in 1810, but today Oktoberfest is celebrated worldwide to provide yet another cultural holiday to use as an excuse to overindulge. If you live in Los Angeles, you’ll have an array of Oktoberfest festivals and festivities to partake in. Ranging from low key to outrageous to outright insane, these five events cover the party-level spectrum, allowing you to choose your own Oktoberfest adventure.
Date: Through Oct. 20
If you’re looking for something festive but close to home, German restaurant and beer garden, Wirtshaus, will celebrate Oktoberfest Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 20. In addition to the fan favorites of wildschwein wurst (wild boar), ente-schinken wurst (duck bacon sausage) and its scharfe wurst (spicy sausage), Wirtshaus will include regularly changing food and drink specials during the four-week Oktoberfest celebration. Specials will be posted in the restaurant, and also announced on its Facebook and Twitter pages. Enjoy live, traditional German music throughout the celebration.
LA Live Rocktoberfest
Date: Oct. 15 to Oct. 21
If you’re the kind of person who loves everything about Oktoberfest except for the Polka music, which after a while makes you want to strangle the musicians with their lederhosen, then this year you’re in luck. In a dynamic pairing no one saw coming, Wolfgang Puck and Gene Simmons have teamed up to knock the German tradition on its Polka-music-playing-butt by combining the best of Rock & Roll, crisp beer and five-star food for the ultimate Rocktoberfest to ever hit L.A. The week-long, nightly event runs from Oct. 15 through Oct. 21 with a star-packed charity gala to kickoff the event and a Craft Brew Festival featuring more than 50 craft beers. GA, and VIP tickets and tables are available for Monday to Saturday’s events, and each guest receives a commemorative beer stein.
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Dog Haus in Pasadena is the perfect place for those who are looking to celebrate Oktoberfest with minimum participation. At Dog Haus you get festive würst and dogs without having to deal with betrunkene leute or be force fed relentless Polka music that won’t leave your head for days. The Dog Haus offers Andouille, bratwurst, three-pepper kielbasa Italian chicken, and spicy Italian sausages that you can top with sauerkraut, spicy peppers, sweet peppers and/or caramelized onions. Its specialty würst includes The Abe Froman (three-pepper kielbasa with fried egg, white american cheese, grilled jalapeños and onions); currywürst (berliner curry sauce with a sliced frankfurter) and The Fonz (spicy Italian with hot pastrami and melted mozzarella cheese). At The Dog Hous the pressure is off. You can be as much or as little German as you want.
Red Lion Tavern
As Irish pubs are to St. Patrick’s Day, German pubs are to Oktoberfest, only with more stamina as the celebration carries on for about a month. As one of L.A.’s landmarks for traditional German food, wide selection of German beer and cozy Old World atmosphere, The Red Lion Tavern in Silverlake will celebrate Oktoberfest from Sept. 22 until the middle of October. Enjoy an abundance of German food and imported beer in the Beirgarten (decked out in the traditional white and blue Oktoberfest colors) with friendly servers in dirndls and lederhosen for added authenticity. Snag a 2012 commemorative stein or beer boots that represent the Red Lion. Oktoberfest beer will be in abundance as well as combination specials only offered during Oktoberfest.
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For the last 44 years Alpine Village has been home to one of the largest and most famous Oktoberfests in America. This year, take it to a whole new level by joining the annual Viking Invasion that is set to pillage and plunder the festivities. The Norse Hollywood Dining Vikings, helmed by Viking artisan Tony Swatton of Sword & Stone, is an army of Viking enthusiasts that have turned restaurants, grocery stores and movie theaters from Long Beach to San Francisco into a scene from one of those Capital One commercials. This year, join the conquest when the Vikings invade Alpine’s Oktoberfest Oct. 13 for Bjorn the Hydrated’s birthday celebration. (Rumor has it there are also plans for a momentous Viking raid of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in the works for Oct. 27). Contact Tony Swatton at Sword & Stone for details and costume rentals (818) 562-6548 and check out the Norse Hollywood Dining Vikings on Facebook.