It’s all change for Oktoberfest 2020 with beery bear hugs OUT and table service for six IN. So don your best lederhosen and dirndls and get set for London’s best socially distanced celebrations of Bavarian beer and bratwurst
Lead image: Camden Oktoberfest (photo: visionseven.co.uk)
1 Camden Oktoberfest at The Electric Ballroom
Camden Oktoberfest is going for a socially distanced version of events this year. Taking place across the first four Saturdays in October, Camden Oktoberfest will pair the usual merry traditions with a modern twist featuring live brass bands and DJs. The fully decked out Bavarian beer hall will set the scene for tonnes of authentic German bratwurst, grilled Black Forest sausage, Currywurst, pretzel alternatives Brotzel, plus giant sloshing steins of German beer. You’ll find only the finest Bavarian brews, supplied by Spaten, Löwenbräu & Becks, and legendary Bratwurst sausage street food trader Herman Ze German is the exclusive food partner. Headline act No Limit Street Band, an eight piece brass band made up of some of London’s leading street musicians, will lay down a mix of pop, rock, hip hop, R&B, funk and soul covers, and dancers, competitions and unique challenges will keep the energy levels high until the Club De Fromage DJs switch things up later on. Covid-secure measures include a 50% reduced capacity, the use of face masks and gloves by staff, Plexiglas shielded bars, hand sanitisers throughout, increased hygiene and cleaning, an ushered one-way system throughout and apps for additional table service. Daytime sessions run 12pm-4.30pm and evening sessions run 5.30pm-10pm. Tickets from £20 (minimum four tickets, maximum six), with a four-person beer table available from £140 including eight beers per table. VIP Booths on the private balcony are available for up to six including two beers per person for £300.
184 Camden High Street NW1 8QP; camdenoktoberfest.com
Check out the highlights of Camden Oktoberfest 2019 (pre social distancing):
2 Oktoberfest at Neverland London, Fulham
Bavaria heads for Fulham from 24-27 September 2020 as Neverland London is transformed into a traditional German bier hall with long wooden tables and bunting, fit for a decadent bohemian Schloss. There will be sloshing steins of Krombacher beer, brotzles (intriguing pretzel alternatives), authentic German wurst and staff dressed in traditional dirndl and lederhosen. Live music from a traditional oompah band will play covers and classics, with an eclectic mix of DJs to keep the party going. Fancy dressed is fully encouraged! Thursday tickets start from £6, with Friday tickets from £8, Saturday tickets from £10 and Sunday tickets from £5. You can also book a Beach Day Bed for six from £36, or a Pergola Sofa for two, four or six people. For something completely different, why not try Pop Up Yoga Club’s first ever Beer Yoga Class on Sunday 27 September at 10.30am? Tickets are £20, see popupyogaclub.com to book. Covid-secure measures at Neverland London include temperature checks on arrival, track and trace, a one-way system, ordering and delivery space and additional loos.
364 Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham SW6 2TY; neverlandlondon.com
3 Bierschenke Oktoberfest, Liverpool Street
Bierschenke has been throwing authentic Oktoberfest parties for 10 years, with huge steins of the venue’s exclusively brewed German beers, authentic German Wurst and live oompah bands playing a mixture of German classics and modern anthems. The show goes on this year, although things will be a little less ‘beery bear hug’ and a lot more Covid-secure. The Tower Hill branch remains closed, so celebrations will take place at Liverpool Street only from Thursdays to Saturday every week from 1-31 October 2020. Plus, on 31 October, Halloween party meets Oktoberfest with a ghostly Spooktoberfest. Entry is free, but a deposit will be required when booking.
London Wall buildings, 4 Blomfield Street EC2M 5NT; bierschenke.co.uk
4 Oktoberfest at German Gymnasium
17 September-4 October
German Gymnasium has teamed up with Ginger Pig to offer a number of special Oktoberfest dishes, while offering a selection of German beers (Rothaus Märzen on draught plus barrelled and bottled beers including Rothaus and Oechsner), all served by staff dressed in traditional Bavarian lederhosen and dirndl. Enjoy German delicacies like Bayrischer Wurstsalat (smoked pork sausage with gherkins, red onions and cheese) or brand new specials like the Oktoberfest Burger (made with prime beef, pulled pork, Bavarian cheese and sauerkraut) and grilled Oktoberfest sausage (an apple and bacon infused duck and pork sausage served with braised red cabbage, Lyonnaise potatoes and red wine sauce). Plus, special Oktoberfest Weekend Boxes can be delivered to your home. Priced, £25, the box includes four of the limited-edition sausages, along with brioche hot dog rolls, Hengstenberg Sauerkraut, lingonberry sauce, Bautzner Senf mustard, pickled gherkins and two Rothaus Tannenzapfle Pils Bottles (available to buy here until Saturday 17 October).
King’s Blvd, King’s Cross N1C 4BU; germangymnasium.com
5 Signature Brew’s Alternative Oktoberfest, Walthamstow
Signature Brew is hosting an Alternative Oktoberfest in Walthamstow on Saturday 26 September with gourmet bratwurst, live oompah band and the launch of a new beer! Luftballon, Signature’s new Festbier, is a clear, golden-yellow beer with lively carbonation providing a big fluffy white head – lightly toasted bread and light grassy hops on the nose, with a fairly sweet, lightly biscuity malt flavour and gentle bitterness and herbal hoppiness on the finish (5.5% ABV). Oompah band Prostbusters will be providing the feels with covers of James Brown, ACDC, Beatles, The Clash and more, while those gourmet bratwurst will be made with either Dingley Dell pork or vegan goodness. The Brewer’s Bar – located within Signature Brew’s brewery on the Walthamstow Beer Mile – will be open from midday to 10pm and no is booking required, although social distancing and Covid-secure measures will be in place.
Unit 15, Uplands Business Park, Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow E17 5QJ; facebook.com/events
6 Prairie Fire BBQ x London Beer Factory, White City
26 & 27 September
Progressive SE London craft brewery, London Beer Factory, is taking over the taps at Prairie Fire BBQ in White City on 26 & 27 September to kick off Oktoberfest. Together, the indie brewery and Kansas City BBQ restaurant and taproom will be offering plenty of beers, bratwursts, burnt ends and live bluegrass from the Lunch Special Band. On the taps, London Beer Factory will have two serves from their Barrel Project, two limited-edition seasonal brews, as well as four flagship beers to choose from. Tickets are £15 and include a London Beer Factory welcome pint, smoked beer Bratwrust made with LBF’s Hazy Days Session IPA, seasoned fries and papa P’s braised butter cabbage, and smoky burnt ends (a Kansas City speciality rarely found in the UK). Ticketed sessions run from 12.30pm-3.30pm both days. Prairie Fire is accepting max group bookings of six and there will be social distancing measures and full table service.
Arches 88/89 Wood Lane Arches, White City W12 7LH. See designmynight.com to book
7 BOXPARK Oktoberfest, Croydon & Wembley
17-18 & 24-25 October
BOXPARK is celebrating Oktoberfest for the first time this year, with a Bavarian-themed socially-distanced party at its Croydon venue this weekend, followed by another Bavarian brew-haha at BOXPARK Wembley from 24-25 October. The weekend long Oktoberfest celebrations – in partnership with Czech brew Staropramen – will features live performances by Premier Oompah, alongside the host DJ Disco Disco, as well as traditional Bavarian games, stilt walkers, lederhosen steins of Staropramen and Bavarian-style eats from the local street-food traders. To keep things socially distanced, three sessions will run across the day at each venue (2pm-4.30pm, 4.30pm-7pm and 7pm-9.30pm), with admissions in groups of six. Tickets are £20, including a jug of beer and guaranteed entry for two people. All visitors will need to download the BOXPARK Black Card to enter.
BOXPARK Croydon, 99 George Street CR0 1LD; boxpark.co.uk
BOXPARK Wembley, 18 Olympic Way, Wembley Park HA9 0JT; boxpark.co.uk
London Oktoberfest events cancelled due to Covid-19
The raucous London Oktoberfest, which usually takes place at two venues – the traditional blue-and-white-themed tent at Millwall Park on the southern tip of the Isle of Dogs and Moorgate in the City – has taken the cautious approach of becoming Oktoberfest@Home this year. Hop online to oktoberfestathome.co.uk and bag yourself the Oktoberfest@home full package, with two five-litre Bavarian Beer kegs with an integrated draft system, six one-litre Bavarian Stein glasses, a blue and white Bavarian Tablecloth, and 20 blue and white Bavarian napkins, all for £59. You can also order in individual items like the five-litre Bavarian draft beer kegs for £12.99 or original Oktoberfest one-litre stein glasses for £9.
The London Bierfest
This corporate hospitality event usually sees the iconic Old Billingsgate Marketing transformed into a traditional Oktoberfest with live music, dancing and a host of other entertainment, but alas it’s all on hold until 2021.
The UK’s largest Pink Oktoberfest was fast becoming an unmissable date on the LGBTQ+ calendar, but it looks like last year’s event, which took over Dock X in Surrey Quays, was its last, as the website has now been taken down.
Oktoberfest at Pop Brixton
Last year, Pop Brixton’s Oktoberfest celebrations took place over two weekends with steins of traditional German beir plus a brilliant selection of Bavarian bratwurst, but there’s no sign of it this year.
Vegan Oktoberfest at Greenwich Market
Vegan Oktoberfest debuted at Greenwich Market two years ago, but while the market is now open seven days a week again, there’s no sign of any events yet. Still, you could pop along for some street food and then head to the pub for a beer, which is kinda the same thing, right?
Greenwich Market SE10 9HZ; greenwichmarket.london
Oktoberfest South London at Electric Brixton
Electric Brixton hosted its first ever Oktoberfest last year with an all-singing, all-dancing Bavarian beer hall, but sadly it won’t be happening this year as the club is temporarily closed.
Town Hall Parade SW2 1RJ; electricbrixton.uk.com
Brewhouse & Kitchen, Highbury, Islington & Hoxton
Last year, Brewhouse was offering two-pint steins, sauerkraut and an Oktoberfest Burger with pulled pork, curry sauce, sauerkraut & mustard in a pretzel bun. There’s no sign of it this year, but if all you want is a good beer and a burger, then they’re totally there for you.