Even among Germans, Munich has always been seen as a little bit different to the country’s other major cities. Independent and royal, but with a distinctly wild side too, it’s a contrast of young and old, tradition and revolution which is hard to find anywhere else. And nowhere is this alluring blend better showcased than in Munich’s nightlife. Where the hippy communes of the 60’s reverberated to the sounds of the Rolling Stones and the techno freaks of the late 90’s danced with the “Union Move” parade through the city’s streets, today’s stars of rock and pop play to sell-out audiences at the Olympic Stadium. Names such as Robbie Williams, Rihanna, Coldplay, Linkin Park, Pink, Madonna and U2 have all recently flown in to perform. But if it’s the after-show party you’re really interested in, make a bee-line for P1, the city’s best-known club; a hot-bed of the rich, the famous and the beautiful.
When the sun goes down over the Munich skyline, the city really comes out to play. Streets and squares come alive with residents and visitors alike, turning Munich’s cafés, bars, beer gardens, restaurants and clubs into one massive, extended living room, humming with activity. Time to explore, so let’s start at the beginning: 7 pm and a nice cold lager.
An essential of the Munich lifestyle, an after-work beer is best enjoyed with friends at a traditional bar or beer hall. Head towards the Old Town and you’ll find plenty to choose from, including the world-famous Hofbräuhaus, complete with Oktoberfest feeling but without the Oktoberfest crowds. For the residents of the city, these places are the epitome of Gemütlichkeit, a quality dear to the hearts of all Bavarians, roughly translating to “relaxed coziness”. Don’t stand at the bar, but take a seat at one of the well-worn, wooden tables and enjoy a few moments of people watching. Old men in original Bavarian costume swop insider jokes with waitresses packed into Dirndls, suited city workers tap last-minute notes into their laptops and grinning young backpackers tuck into their first ever “Mass”,the famous full liter of beer. These places are a microcosm of Munich life, and perfect for planning the night ahead.
An increasingly popular alternative is the After-Work Parties springing up at changing locations throughout the city. A sure-fire means to meet some locals, these chilled-out events take place from Monday to Thursday, and generally include a food buffet and a very eclectic dress code, ranging from jeans and T-shirt to cocktail dresses. t’s a “come as you are” affair, as are the Happy Hours many Munich bars offer on the weekends from 7pm to 9pm. Aim for Gärtnerplatz or the Glockenbach area of the city, where you’ll find no end of small, lively pubs and bars offering early evening specials and bites to eat. Here the music is a little softer, the atmosphere loungy, the clientele cool and the flirt factor high. This part of town is also home to Munich’s vibrant gay and lesbian scene, centered on Müllerstrasse and Hans-Sachs-Strasse.
Not tired yet? What better way to work off dinner than with some dancing! Munich’s club scene is renowned for its variety and energy. More and more clubs are relocating to the heart of Munich, and new locations pop up frequently. By now Munich’s nightlife has reached the city center. Between Sendlinger Tor and Maximiliansplatz numerous clubs align in the shape of a banana, giving it the nickname “Party Banana”. Things tend to kick off late though, so don’t bother to arrive before 11 pm. In Munich’s East End, the scene is more mainstream with DJs playing Ibiza sounds, house and chart tunes to big crowds in big clubs. This area around the Ostbahnhof (look out for Optimolwerke and Kultfabrik) is reckoned to have the highest density of clubs and music bars in the whole of Europe, so dress to impress and take your pick!
And there’s no need to worry about how to get home in the wee small hours. Not only are taxis reasonably priced and easy to find, but an excellent network of night buses runs throughout the week and weekend. Munich is safe, easy to navigate and cheap to get around in. So check out some of the nightlife websites to see what’s on during your stay (see suggestions below), or pick up one of the local listings magazines when you arrive, such as the German language “in-München”. Or better still, just ask the locals. We’re a friendly bunch, proud of our city and happy that you’ve decided to pay us a visit. Join us for a beer and get some real insider tips… What are you waiting for? Get out, dive into the dusk and discover your own perfect night!
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