If you get a chance, you must go the Hofbrauhaus in Las Vegas! I went there recently and I had a blast! It was so much fun!
This is what the front page of their website claims. . .
“As an exact replica of the legendary Hofbräuhaus in Munich, Germany, we take great pride in giving you an experience as authentic and unforgettable as the 400-year-old original. From the traditional Beer Hall bursting with nightly live entertainment, to the tree-lined Beer Garden, everything has a bold touch of Bavaria you won’t forget any time soon.”
I know I won’t forget my experience any time soon! Located across the street from The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the Hofbrauhaus has been rockin’ the house in Vegas since 2004. This is what I was thinking as I was waiting to get in to this exciting place that had so many unknowns to me. . . as I was watching people enter the restaurant in full German costume, yes, men were arriving dressed in lederhosen and women dressed in dirndl . . . I noticed that they seemed to be getting in right away. They didn’t work there. Maybe they had reservations. Hmmm, what did they know that I did not know? Do you get a free drink if you dress up? Was it dress up night on Saturday nights? What is the catch? Where are the cameras? Were they getting punked? I later scoured the website and newsletter and found absolutely no mention of perks for dressing up. Either these people dressed that way to enhance their dining experience or they were coming there straight from Germany (or a convention, perhaps?) It didn’t matter, because it did enhance my experience! I loved it!
I found out later that people dress up for Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival celebrating beer held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It was well past that time period when I was at the Hofbrauhaus, so I figure, it is always Oktoberfest there! Why not?
There was a very long wait but it was well worth it. During the long wait, I looked at everything they sold at the gift shop. There were lots of cute things to buy. I tried on all the funny hats and pointed out all the sexy aprons and other fun things to my hubby. I found it extremely Vegas style touristy and borderline cooky, but some friends that were waiting with us said it is EXACTLY like the Hofbrauhaus in Germany, including the gift shop. There is also a bar in the waiting area so folks can start drinking as they wait. I think the seating system and waiting area should be considered the 8th Wonder of the World because somehow they filter thousands of people through the front doors of the Hofbrauhaus every night. There is one way in and one way out. Everyone must go past the gift shop, just like Disneyland. (Smart people. We dropped another $35 on our way out and we bought one glass and lots of chocolate.)
I could hardly wait to get in! Every time the door would swing open, I could hear music and singing. At one point they were singing the National Anthem and everyone was standing on their seats and singing! I was standing on my tippy toes to see into the main dining room. I wanted to be where the action was. I was also a little nervous that this crowd was going to be too rowdy. Yes, even too rowdy for me! I was looking forward to trying some authentic German food. What if I couldn’t see the menu? What if I couldn’t hear the waiter? I wanted to be able to ask questions and enjoy my meal. And, by the way, I was really getting hungry! Let me in!
The music was pumping throughout the whole building and got louder every time the doors opened. People were singing along. They were songs that I knew. I wanted to be inside with a beer in hand, singing along. Eventually, our party was called and we were taken inside. We walked through the entire length of the first room, which was the Beer Hall, passed through a center area where they were roasting nuts and where the kitchen and restrooms were, then we were led to a huge patio area which was the indoor Beer Garden, that had about ten times the dining capacity as the main room. This place was ginormous. As we got further and further away from the action, I was saddened and relieved. I wasn’t going to be standing on my chair singing at the top of my lungs with the rowdiest crowd in Las Vegas, but hey – I wasn’t going to be standing on top of my chair singing at the top of my lungs with the rowdiest crowd in Vegas! I could eat and enjoy and ask questions.
I still drank a giant beer and sang out loud. I was able to watch everything that was going on around me (there was a lot going on, more on that in a moment) and see what was happening in the Beer Hall on large screen TVs. While I was waiting for my meal, I watched a stein holding contest. Yes, it was a contest to see who could hold the one litre stein of beer the longest with one hand outstretched in front of them. The winner got a $500 gift certificate to the Hofbrauhaus. There was some stiff competition and I was amazed at how long some of the non-muscular people stayed in. It did end up between a few Marine looking guys with big muscular arms whose veins in their necks looked like they were going to pop before they would let one drop of their beer spill much less drop their full stein! I held a mini-contest at my table, and I was the winner! (I think I was near the bottom of my stein by that point!)
For starters, I shared a Jumbo Complete– Giant pretzel served with “Obazter” cheese, sweet mustard, and onion mustard. Yummy!
The beer I drank was the “bottom-fermented lager” made especially for Oktoberfest, called Hofbräu Oktoberfest. It is said that this crisp beer is historically made with a higher than usual alcohol content and is brewed from pure water, the best quality malt and exquisite hops. I am not much of a beer person, although I have tried many over the years. This was very good.
I tried the Jägerschnitzel – Pork Cutlet “Hunter Style” topped with creamy Mushroom Sauce, Bacon and Onions, served with Spätzle (special German Noodles) and Cranberries. It was amazing! If I wasn’t full from the litre of beer that I drank by the time the food arrived, I would have eaten every last bite. Trust me, I tried. Everyone at my table loved the foods that they tried. Everything was authentic and cooked by German chefs and was quite enjoyable.
Now for the confession. . .
I swear I did not participate in this, but I am guilty for watching and getting a “kick” out of it! At the Hofbrauhaus, if you buy a shot of Jager, it is served to you by a Jager Girl (or boy) who spanks you with a paddle after you drink it. In case you are not familiar with this practice and think you read that wrong, I will repeat it. They spank you on the bottom with a paddle when you drink a shot of Jager at the Hofbrahaus. And everyone watches and cheers you on!
Again, I scoured the Hofbrauhaus website looking for mention of this practice and could find none. Was this another German Oktoberfest “thing” like the Chicken Dance, that everyone knows but doesn’t know how or why it started? I wanted to know more. I found this bit of information in the blog for the OktoberfestHaus ,which is an online store for everything related to Oktoberfest. I found out that the spanking part is an American thing. In fact, it is a Vegas thing. What can I say? I think it’s best to leave it at that and say nothing!
Please don’t tell me if you get spanked at the Hofbrauhaus, but let me know if you go there! I hope you have as much fun (or more) than I did!