Monday, September 17, 2012

The Pratergarten: Drink and Be Merry!

You can't and probably shouldn't live in Germany for long without experiencing the Biergarten (beer garden) culture. Hummmm...It's only taken me six months! The only experience I have ever had of this type of drinking 'arrangement' was in Madrid a couple of years ago at the famous Plaza de Toros de las Ventas (Madrid largest bullring) where they used to host an annual Oktoberfest-style "Feria de La Cerveza". I don't remember the whole event clearly but I do remember lots of German beer, sausages, long tables and German Oom-pah music. I also woke up with an over-sized beer glass in my house the next day so I must have had a good time!

I had the opportunity recently to experience something closer to the real deal at the PraterGarten in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin. I've now been to the Pratergarten twice, once in the evening and once in the daytime. Both times it was fairly quiet (due to my choice of unsociable drinking times!) but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The beer is maybe a little over-priced compared to other bars in the area but you are paying for the location. I think it is also fairly 'touristy' too and it attracts a more international crowd more than locals.    

The Pratergarten dates back to 1837 when beer was first served at the location and in 1852 it became a place of all-round leisure activities. It became a well established performance venue hosting theater, ballroom and political events. 

The Biergarten itself is an impressive size with lots of wooden trestle tables set out in rows (fairly typical biergarten stuff I suppose). There is a stage area which I assume they use from time to time for bands or live entertainment although I didn't see it in use. There are a few self-service bars where you buy beer, sausages and pretzels and also a more formal restaurant area.  

The history of the German Biergarten is an interesting one and merits it's own dedicated blog (watch this space). Of course, we are all familiar with the most famous beer-related celebration of them all, Oktoberfest in Munich. I don't have enough money or stamina right now to visit Munich so the Pratergarten will just have to do for now. 

Do you have a favourite Beer Garden in Berlin?

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