Labor Day has come and gone, and fall weather is approaching. September is the time to start digging out your sweaters and retiring shorts and flip flops for the season.
In the beer world, it’s also time for Oktoberfest, a German celebration of beer, food and culture. But you don’t have to book a flight to Europe in order to raise a pint and enjoy a pretzel with friends. There are several bars in D.C. that bring the spirit of Germany close to home. Here are some options to consider:
1355 H St. NW
This multi-level bar has a convivial atmosphere and a full menu of German beer and food. The outdoor garden and rooftop are perfect spots to drink and mingle, and there are outdoor heaters and an inside bar space to accommodate cooler weather.
Beer selections rotate with the season and there’s always a variety of options like Hefeweizens pilsners and lagers from popular breweries like Warsteiner, Paulaner and Hofbrau. Most beers are available in half liters or liters, and you save a few dollars by ordering a larger size. When it comes to the food, I always go with an order of the Bavarian pretzel rolls, called laugenbrotchen. Other good bets include traditional dishes like schnitzels, or sausages like pork bratwurst or the veal and pork knackwurst.
There’s also live music from time to time, as well as a weekly trivia night on Tuesdays and TVs for watching your favorite team.
1216 18th St. NW
This Dupont Circle bar features 16 draft beers, and they’re almost exclusively German. There are also a few domestic options for drinkers who can’t get away from the comfort of an IPA or a cider.
If you get hungry, I’d recommend getting some friends together to tackle the large soft pretzels. You can get a one-pound pretzel for $10, or go all out with a $20, two-pound pretzel. There’s live music each Friday and Saturday night, featuring performances by many local artists. And the bar rotates local sports on the TV in addition to showing some international soccer matches.
150 M St. NE
This NoMa pop-up bar serves plenty of German beer, as well as cider and wine. Beer and wine are 15 percent off during Monday happy hour, which runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There’s also a rotating food truck schedule, with a new offering each day.
As a bonus Wundergarten will be celebrating Oktoberfest from September 28 through October 4. There are events daily during this time, and tickets are required on certain days. Check out the detailed schedule of events online.
1600 7th St. NW
Head to the Shaw neighborhood and grab a pint at this lively neighborhood gathering spot. It’s a large outdoor space and gets pretty crowded, but the bar welcomes everyone – even kids and dogs. Dacha is hosting Oktoberfest through October 4 with special prizes and beer cocktails. And fest beer will be on sale for $5 for singles or $10 for boots during happy hour Monday through Thursday
The cool thing about Dacha is that it serves a variety of beers, including American craft beers and ciders in addition to German and European styles.
You’re likely to find something to satisfy a variety of tastes. Food options include things like fried pickles, fries, potato pancakes and even cured anchovies. There’s also a full brunch menu available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.