In a city synonymous with beer, one would suspect that the regular drinking of it in local establishments would be a given. It is, actually. Not only are beer gardens a notable gathering place in Munich, but those who are into the club scene have the chance to hit up some popular spots around the city or just give in and settle for the biggest clubbing zone in all of Europe.
That “biggest club zone in Europe” line really caught your attention, didn't it? Munich's got the world's biggest fair in Oktoberfest AND this massive club zone located in the terminal buildings of the old Munich airport? We're pinching ourselves, too. Kultfabrik, formerly Kunstpark Ost, is home to 25-plus bars and clubs, as well as late-night eateries and other related establishments. The range here is excellent, from cheap, hole-in-the-wall bars to dance music meccas like Freudenhaus and Babylon 2. If you don't find something you like at Kultfabrik, then the nearby nightlife conglomerate known as Optimolwerke also has around a dozen places that might suit your interest, including the long-standing dance club, Harry Klein. Both of these can be found in the Haidhausen district just east of city center; if there's nothing that interests you here, then you may need to get back to your hotel and spend the evening knitting a sweater.
Back in city center are some of the greatest nightlife assets that Munich has, including a handful of historic breweries and beer gardens. Andechser Am Dom is known for quality beers brewed at the monastery south of Munich, Zum Augustiner has been making beer on-site since the 15th century, and the world's most famous brew pub, Hofbräuhaus, is a “tourist” institution (good luck finding many locals) which can't be missed. The club scene here is limited, but one of the city's best, P1, looks out over the English Garden.
North of city center, in the districts of Schwabing and Maxvorstadt, there are plenty more brew pubs and clubs. There's a selection of good nightlife spots near Munich Central Station, including the always packed Cafe Kosmos, the excellent Augustinerkeller beer garden, and the classy and elegant Park Café. Then again, if you want good beer during the summer, it'd be fun to head north to south through the English Garden by bike, stopping at Aumeister (a favorite for the locals), the famous Chinesischer Turm (7,500 capacity), and Seehaus (on the banks of one of the lakes) for a great little beer garden jaunt. There are also a number of great little pubs in this area, although they are a bit spread out.
Lastly, the Neuhausen-Nymphenburg district is a bit more laid back than its urban counterparts, but it's still home to the largest beer garden in Munich (Hirschgarten) and a few clubs worth seeking out for their own sake. The best place to catch music outside of a concert hall is Backstage on Wilhelm-Hale-Strasse, while the massive Klangwelt and Nachtgalerie nightclubs are a haven for booty-shaking.
During the summer, we suggest hitting up one of the many beer gardens or brew pubs, which have tons of outdoor seating and a convivial vibe that makes you want to waste the day away. Then again, any time of year is good for a high end club scene that, depending on where you go, can give you good music and crowds and won't break the bank. For more information, look through our dedicated activity pages.