Date Night at Hofbrauhaus: Beer, Brats and a Bash

If you don’t have time to fly to Munich, a date night at Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont is the next best thing. The official Oktoberfest has been on my bucket list for quite a while. My husband and I used to throw an Oktoberfest party at our home, welcoming over 100 of our friends with handmade German food and homebrewed Oktoberfest beer. Yes, we even own authentic attire. I ordered genuine leiderhosen from a German imports company in New York. My dirndl dress could pass for the real deal (if you saw me across the room).  For a date night filled with heavy steins of crisp, rich beer, hearty German fare, and foot-stompin’, shoulder swaying fun, Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont is the ideal location.

Date Night at Hofbrauhaus

Here is a little taste of what the Hofbrauhaus has to offer!

Hofbrauhaus History

Hofbrauhaus Rosemont is related to the 400-year old original establishment in Munich, Germany. I can vouch for the authenticity. I visited the Munich location in 2001 and had a few steins amongst a rowdy crowd. The word “hofbrauhaus” translates to “official brewery for the Duke’s Court.” In the late 1500s, the Duke of Bavaria hired a brewmaster to create a rich brown ale to suit his taste. By 1607, this concoction was so popular that they built larger brewing quarters- the current location of Hofbrauhaus in Munich. The beer has remained famous and an important part of German history. It was used to put out a fire, inspired Motzart’s opera “Indomeneo,” and was traded to prevented pillaging and plundering of Munich. See? Beer is IMPORTANT.

Atmosphere

You won’t find a quiet place to chat for your date night at Hofbrauhaus- save that for the drive (Uber) home. The jovial, celebratory atmosphere at Hofbrauhaus is known in German as Gemütlichkeit, or a friendly, hospitable, relaxed environment. First of all, seating is communal. Parties are seated at shared tables with benches- you might be rubbing shoulders with a family or a group of elderly men decked out in their leiderhosen.

Atmosphere at Hofbrauhaus

Don’t expect to sit and have a calm meal. Many rounds of songs, cheers and chants are led throughout the evening. Customers are encouraged to stand on the benches with beer in hand, swaying along to the music and occasionally clanking steins with their neighbors. Dirndl-clad waitresses rush to and fro, shuttling liter steins like professional weight lifters. Yes, the dresses are low cut, so if your date is *ahem* staring a bit, realize it is part of the authentic uniform. Next time, wear one of your own!

Waitress at Hofbrauhaus

Food and Beer at Hofbrauhaus

In terms of what to drink, order a liter of beer if you at all like brews. I wouldn’t recommend wine, mixed drinks are fine I guess, but heaving a massive mug of foamy beer is part of the experience for your date night at Hofbrauhaus. German beer at Hofbrauhaus is all natural, you won’t find chemicals or preservatives. The Oktoberfest beer is quite heavy- if you don’t love heavy beer but want to taste it, order a half liter. The lightest beer they usually offer is the “Original”- a lager that is still very flavorful.

Hofbrauhaus beer selection

Come hungry! The food at Hofbrauhaus isn’t canned, from a mix, or casually thrown together. All of the food here is made on-site from real ingredients. If something can’t be made on-site in the authentic way, it is imported. The pretzels- a must have item- are flown in frozen directly from Germany. My husband and I always order the Riesenbrezen Combo which includes a massive pretzel paired with Obatza Cheese, sweet mustard and onion mustard. They also have a massive appetizer tower which is perfect for a group, or to order for dinner!

Insider tip- add beer cheese as well; it is creamy, a little hoppy and simply divine.

Hofbrauhaus appetizer tower

As for the entree, there are over 20 signature items as well as sausage specialties, sandwiches, side dishes and salads This is not the place to order a salad and a water, please. I am such a sucker for sauerkraut, and Hofbrauhaus imports theirs from Germany. The Bavarian potato salad is also excellent, no mayo or eggs here, just tangy goodness.

Dessert? Why not! Apfelstrudel (apple strudel, in case you couldn’t figure that out) is my favorite, and the Black Forest Cake is a super sweet treat if you are craving a sugar rush.

Dessert at the Hofbrauhaus Chicago

You can also drink your dessert by ordering another round of beer, or even a shot. If you want to do a group shot, grab a shot-ski- yep, multiple shots lined up on a ski that you all take at once. This is perfect for a double date night at Hofbrauhaus!

Insider tip: If you order a shot, be prepared. A scary-strong woman named Linda with a wooden paddle comes around and literally spanks you. No joke. She doesn’t take it easy- I have been on the receiving end of this and it STINGS.

Entertainment at Hofbrauhaus

I usually try to pair dinner with some type of entertainment for a date night, but the Hofbrauhaus has everything rolled into one. They have bands perform on the stage that runs the length of the main dining hall throughout the evening. These aren’t just any bands- they are actually from Germany or Austria and fill the hall with the sounds of “Ein Prosit.” When they strike up a lively song, all of the patrons at Hofbrauhaus jump on the benches and sing along!

Hofbrauhaus entertainment

If you visit Hofbrau on a Friday or Saturday night, you and your date can participate in “Masskrugstemmen,” which translates to “the lifing of a liter mug of beer.” All contestants have to hold a full liter of beer straight out in front of them with one arm. If that arm bends or dips, they are out. This is a true Bavarian sport!

Bavarian stein holding contest

I truly hope you consider a date night at Hofbrauhaus, especially during Oktoberfest through October 31st. As for parking, they have valet as well as validated parking in the nearby garage. Rideshare apps can have a difficult time finding it for pick up, so I usually walk to the movie theater and schedule my ride from there. I recommend making a reservation on the weekends- although the place is massive, this is a popular time of year! They do have a fairly large bar where you can enjoy a mug if you do wait. Hofbrauhaus is located at 5500 Park Place in Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park.

Cheers to letting loose and embracing the German spirit- nicht lange shnacken, kopf in nacken (stop talking and start drinking).

Disclosure: I received a complimentary dinner at Hofbrauhaus in exchange for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own as always. Photo credit for professional photos- Leigh Loftus

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