While there’s no denying that Munich, Bavaria, Germany hosts the ultimate Oktoberfest celebrations, Pittsburgh’s countless German pubs, festivals and biergartens are proof that you don’t have to leave the country to experience the sights, sounds and flavors of this celebration of Bavarian culture. The city’s German restaurants and bars boast some of Oktoberfest’s best seasonal brews and treats while a variety of ethnic festivals deliver plenty of authentic Oktoberfest fun. From Bavarian dance troupes and the iconic smell of sauerkraut to the city’s largest Oktoberfest bashes, there’s plenty of ways to get in touch with your inner Bavarian. If you’re searching for the best ways to celebrate Oktoberfest right here at home, check out these Bavarian bars, heritage festivals and German biergartens.
2705 S. Water St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
With its selection of Bavarian brews and bites, Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh is perhaps one of the city’s most well-known German bars. There’s no better way to kick off your Oktoberfest festivities than in Pittsburgh’s most authentic Bavarian beer hall where you can celebrate the merriment with seasonal lagers like Oktoberfest, the very beer served at Hofbrauhaus Munich’s Oktoberfest. Chow down on the restaurant’s Oktoberfest giant pretzel, bratwurst chili, sauerbraten and other traditional German dishes while listening to live music. Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh is located in the city’s South Side area.
Penn’s Brewery Oktoberfest & Autobahn
800 Vinial St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Date: Sept. 27, 2013
If you’re looking for a one-stop brewery where you can find the best Bavarian brews, music and food, Penn’s Brewery is the place to be. Celebrate this year’s Oktoberfest on Friday, September 27 with the German/Bavarian music of Autobahn from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Indulge in the restaurant’s selection of German-inspired appetizers, soups, sandwiches and desserts paired with a stein of Penn Weizen, Oktoberfest Bier or Cool River Kolsch. Penn Brewery is situated in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Troy Hill neighborhood.
Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest
Various locations throughout downtown Canonsburg
Canonsburg, PA 15317
Dates: Oct. 20-22, 2013
The annual Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest returns for its 15th year to downtown Canonsburg bringing with it plenty of Oktoberfest activities, vendors, crafts, music and food. Enjoy the Bavarian-inspired performances of Pittsburgh’s Bavarian dance troupe Alpen Schuhplattler on the German Stage or simply wander streets sampling the incredible German treats. Beer connoisseurs won’t want to miss their chance to participate in the Name the Brew III Contest for a special beer brewed specifically for this year’s Oktoberfest fun. Street and lot parking will be available as well as free shuttles to take you to and from the festival. The 15th annual Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest is organized by the Greater Canonsburg Chamber of Commerce.
Pittsburgh Renaissance Fair Oktoberfest Weekend
112 Renaissance Lane
West Newton, PA 15089
Dates: Sept. 28-29, 2013
On September 28-29, Pittsburgh’s Renaissance Festival gets a Bavarian twist with a special Oktoberfest theme weekend. Arrive to a German welcome from King Henry and Queen Katherine who invite you to partake in a weekend of traditional Oktoberfest food, dancing, music and more. German biergarten wenches will be serving authentic Bavarian treats like bratwurst, chocolates and sauerkraut while the city’s best German musicians and dancers put on an amazing display of ethnic sights and sounds. For a fun, family-friendly Oktoberfest celebration, gather the kids and head to the Renaissance Festival in West Newton, a 40-minute drive from downtown Pittsburgh.
Barley’s & Hop’s Beer Café
5217 Library Road
Bethel Park, PA 15102
Experience the ethnic food and microbrews of a traditional German biergarten just minutes from the heart of Pittsburgh with a stop at Barley’s and Hop’s Beer Café. Let the café regulars welcome you with their recommendations of the best Bavarian bites, which include favorites like German potato salad, kielbasa and bratwurst. If your idea of Oktoberfest is less about the lederhosen and more about awesome imports and Bavarian brews, this laid-back beer kingdom is the place for you. Barley’s & Hop’s Beer Café is located on Library Road in Bethel Park.
Jessica Wasik lives in Pittsburgh where works as a full-time figure skating coach sharing her passion with todays generation of young skaters. A graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies, Jessica is also a contributing writer for Allegheny West Magazine. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.