As you know Wilhelm V founded the Hofbrauhaus brewery. His people did not like the crappy beer in Munich; they preferred the beer in the next state. Being a bit of a cheap bastard, he ran a spreadsheet and found it was cheaper to start his own brewery than get a truckload from the next town. Willy went for the best brewmaster he could find, and the Hofbrauhause was born. He was also a selfish prick and only let his household drink the beer. Ludwig I was the nice one that let regular peasants drink the good stuff.
The Hofbrauhaus is the mothership of all beer halls; it has various interesting atmospheres to drink your stein of beer. Sit outside in the shaded chestnut tree gardens, listen to the oompah band inside, sit at the tables near the kitchen or a cozy, quiet corner if you are on a hot date. We sat outside under the chestnut trees. I was with a rather large group, and it was hot as hell when I was in Germany.
Fun fact: The Hofbrauhaus brewery was so famous for their beer that the Swedish King Gustavus made a deal to not invade Munich during the Thirty Years War. In exchange, he got a little over half a million barrels of beer. Munich agreed, as it would have been an easy win if the drunk Swedes invaded them. I would have wanted to be on the Swedish team at that time, free beer.
The place is enormous and has enough room to hold weddings and concerts. The restaurant is top-notch and has the best Weiner Schnitzel ever. The main taproom can hold more than 1,000 drunks. The barmaids carry big steins of beer in traditional attire, and hot dudes wear lederhosen. It does not get any better or more German than this.
The first floor is rather boring, with more restaurant than a festive beer hall feel to it. The ceiling is painted nice, but it was so hot and humid when I was there that I had to go outside as fast as possible. So take the kids home after dinner, then come back and head to the other fun rooms.
On the second floor, you’ll find the cavernous Festsaal, lined with the flags and standards of the various dominions once belonging to Bavaria. That’s where, incidentally, Hitler founded the Nazi Party in 1920. You just knew there would be something weird about the place, so there you go.
Another fun fact: The Munich communist government established its headquarters at the Hofbrauhaus. A year later, Hitler had his meeting of the national socialist party.
During WWII, a good portion of the Hofbrauhaus was destroyed, of course. It took a while, but it was re-opened in 1958. When in Munich you have to go to the Hofbrauhaus. While there, look for the “Stammtisch” signs. These tables are regular customers tables and have been for as long as 70 years. The Germans that own these tables store their personalized steins at the bar.