Travel Diary: Drinking In Oktoberfest Alone

November 4, 2019
Oktoberfest Munich Beer Tent

I had planned to go to Oktoberfest Munich for the first time ever with a friend of mine. Together we would drink, dance and have the best time. The only problem was, my friend had other ideas.

Wednesday. Three Days Till Oktoberfest, Munich

“If you don’t mind I’m going to listen to my music,” she said as she put her headphones back in. If the budget airline seats weren’t so restricting, I believe she would have turned her back to me too.

We were on a plane to Munich and I was excitedly telling my friend about all the things we had planned to see. It was three days until Oktoberfest Munich- the most famous beer festival in the world. But, apparently my friend Holly just wasn’t as enthusiastic as me.

When we arrived at the hotel, I threw my suitcase at the end of my bed and asked where we should go for food. I started thumbing through potential dinner outfits when she replied flatly, “I’m not hungry, I’m going to bed.”

So, I found myself in Tantris, a ’70s Michelin star restaurant. Although the gnocchi was worth every Euro I spent, I couldn’t help but be a little saddened that I was eating alone. But the interior distracted me a little. The room was laced with nostalgic decor and pumpkin-style lights. Although I was sad, I thought to myself, damn this place is great.

I wanted to stay much longer but I was worried that someone might show me their German sausage on the way back to hotel.

Thursday. Two Days Till Oktoberfest, Munich

I drank a cashew milk latte in Cafe Jasmin. Alone. Holly had wanted to stay in bed a little longer and told me to go on without her.

I couldn’t help but sit with my head in my hand and a pout on my mouth. I wanted to tell someone about how much I was enjoying the plush seats, the way the lights looked like flowers or how annoying the guy slurping next to me is. But instead, I just let the thoughts dance in my head until I almost shouted sheiße (as I learned from a Lady Gaga song) at the slurper.

I left and walked through the English gardens with a cigarette to chill out. The gardens were huge and calming. As I smoked, I began to wonder if Holly was ok on her own. So I texted her. But as I walked further into the woods, my signal started failing. I began to wonder if I had gone too far and that I was officially lost. I sparked another cigarette.

As I turned a corner I saw a huge wooden gazebo full of people, with hundreds of tables at its feet. I could hear the murmur of conversations and that occasional jolly laughter that gets deafening after a few beers. A nearby sign read Chinesischer Turm. This was the second-biggest beer garden in Munich, and the largest beer sesh I had ever seen.

I grabbed a drink and sauerkraut from the cantine-like cafe and devoured it on a nearby table. It felt like I had found a secret party in the forest and it was alive. The surrounding tables were full of friends laughing and clinking their beers. I wished I had someone to share it with.

After a day of exploring the garden, I headed back to the hotel. Holly wasn’t there. She also hadn’t replied to my message. I sat on the bed and debated going to a beer hall but felt a little anxious going out on my own. So I watched a Marilyn Monroe movie and drifted to sleep.

Oktoberfest Munich

Friday. One Day Till Oktoberfest, Munich

When I woke, Holly was sat up on her phone texting.

“Where have you been?” I asked sleepily.

“Oh nowhere,” she said flatly. And this time, she did turn her back on me. I stared at the back of her uncombed dark hair, wondering if I had done something wrong or if something had happened.

“Is everything ok?” I asked. She grunted like a pig and put her headphones in again.

I threw myself out of bed, stroppily threw on a slip dress and jumper and stormed out with my laptop under my arm. Fuck her. I had had enough. I walked to the restaurant Ratskeller and sat outside so I could smoke. I ordered a ton of Bavarian food and tapped away on my laptop, venting my frustrations.

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I was so annoyed that I was alone when I had come with another person. I was annoyed at her rudeness. I was annoyed that the waitress dressed in a Drindl was being super nice to me so I felt like I couldn’t be stroppy with her. I smashed down my sausages and contemplated Oktoberfest tomorrow. Would I be alone? Should I ask this waitress to come with me?

Later in the day, I couldn’t face going back to the hotel so I ignored my anxiety and headed to one of the beer halls I wanted to visit- The Lowenbraukeller. It looked like a gloomy turquoise castle in the evening sun. The entrance was guarded by a stone lion, making everything look far more intimidating.

Inside, my anxiety went crazy. It was busy and many waitresses in traditional dress ran around carrying several steins of beer. One pointed and shouted at me in German and I replied with confused noises and jazz hands. Not wanting to get in the way, I grabbed a beer from a canteen-style section and sat outside.

I realised that I hadn’t taken any photos so far so I tried to take a selfie with my stein. A group of German boys sat not too far from me began looking over. I put my phone down. I don’t know why, but being caught taking a selfie makes me feel as embarrassed as someone catching me singing Black Magic by Little Mix. I’m an adult, I swear.

One of the boys came over and offered to take my photo for me. I smiled and thanked him. I posed awkwardly with my stein as he took it. He then asked if I wanted to join his friends. Not having a decent conversation since I came, I jumped at the chance.

The boys were roughly 20/21 years old and had a basic understanding of English. Better than my GSCE German. They were shocked to see me drinking alone and wanted me to come with them to another beer hall. The thought of continuing to drink alone pushed me to trust these strangers and go with them.

Mandy Morello In Munich
My Awful Selfie

We went to the Hofbräuhaus– one of the oldest and biggest beer halls in Munich. The ceilings were tall and painted, and beneath it, the room was packed with people drinking and singing along the traditional music. We sat at an empty table which the boys made sure was immediately filled with beer. I learned that the boys were from another part of Germany that I couldn’t pronounce but it was their second time in Munich.

I noticed my speech was getting a little slurry as I explained where I’m from. Although these boys were nice, I didn’t feel comfortable being drunk on my own with them. Who knows, after a few more steins, I might end up in a surprise gang bang. So, I thanked them and grabbed a taxi right outside the beer hall. I was so grateful for the experience that these strangers had shared with me.

Saturday. The Day Of Oktoberfest

I was dressed in a dirndl walking with the crowd to Oktoberfest, Munich. I had overslept and Holly had gone before I woke up, but I didn’t care anymore. I was going to the biggest beer event IN THE WORLD. A festival that is so good it’s been held since 1810.

And by god it was huge. Each brewery had its own ‘tent’ that looked more like cartoon castles. Hardly anyone was without a traditional Bavarian outfit. Music played out loud over the cheers and there were a few rides dotted around as well as a cosy little wine shack that I was tempted by.

Oktoberfest Munich Beer Tent
The Festzelt Marstall Tent

A few tents were already full and not allowing anyone else in. But I got into the Festzelt Marstall tent. It seemed even bigger on the inside with bandstands, tables lining the hall, balconies and huge heart-shaped windows overlooking it all. It looked like stepping into a Baz Luhrmann movie.

Eventually, with a stein in hand, I got talking to an English couple from Essex. It was their first time at Oktoberfest too and the girlfriend was having a great time. She began dancing on the table, flashing her frilly knickers from underneath her dirndl while nearby men in Leiderhosen cheered. Her boyfriend laughed and told me that this is normal for her.

In the distance, I was surprised to see Holly wandering through the crowds on her own. I smiled and called her over. She looked and her mouth twitched but she walked towards us. I offered to buy her a beer but she didn’t feel like drinking. I asked if she fancied a wine instead but before she could answer the Essex girl threw up all over Holly’s white dress.

“What the actual fuck??” Holly screamed. I couldn’t help but laugh as she stormed off towards the toilet.

Maybe it was a bit mean of me to laugh. I never did find out what was wrong with her. After we arrived back in England, we didn’t speak ever again. But after I was done venting to friends over glasses of wine, I realised I had learned a few things. 1. Don’t rely on other people to have a good time. 2. You can experience things on your own. 3. Don’t travel with shit people.

Mini Munich Guide

Cafe Jasmin

Vintage-style cafe that does a delicious breakfast and a good choice of dairy alternatives. Visit Website


Award-winning restaurant that’s been open since the 70s. Visit Website


130 Year Old Brewery, Beer Garden & Ballroom. Visit Website

Chinesischer Turm

Famous Munich Beer Garden & restaurant with a three tiered tower in the middle. Visit Website


16th Century Beer Hall & probably the most famous in Munich. Visit Website


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