Oktoberfest and Beer Gardens

Beer Lovers Can Celebrate Oktoberfest All Year Long at These San Francisco Beer Gardens

Nothing refreshes the palate and the soul after a full day of working or leisure quite like a well-crafted beer. When Bay Area residents are thirsty for authentic craft beers and an equally authentic beer garden experience, make that biergärten experience, they have two great choices right here in the city. Each offers the conviviality, communal seating, overhead lighting and beer selection of a traditional beer garden but does so in a uniquely San Francisco way. What is more, they have both been rated among the best beer gardens in the country. So, if you’re looking for a nicely balanced grain-based beverage, a reliably decent burger or schnitzel, an opportunity to meet people from across town or across the planet and the blessed absence of the oom-pa-pa brass bands usually found at these joints, head on over to one of these fine San Francisco biergärten:


The aptly named Biergarten is located at 424 Octavia Street in the trendy Hayes Valley neighborhood. You can enjoy any of the imported pilsners, schwarzbier, witbier and other brews in any size drinking vessel that you like, as long as you like drinking from heavy glass one-liter steins. The menu offers traditional beer garden fare of pretzels, different types of wursts, sauerkraut and other tasty, filling and predictable but reasonably well-executed foods. Hours are from 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1 to 7 p.m. on Sundays.


Located at 199 Valencia Street in The Mission, Zeitgeist is an experience that is more authentically San Franciscan than Bavarian in many respects. Basically, the owners cherry-picked the attributes they liked about traditional beer gardens and 86-ed the clichés. The jukebox is stocked with punk rock and post-industrial caterwauling, the 64 taps feature mostly American craft beers from the Bay Area, California and the Pacific Northwest, and the menu features burgers, brats and very little else. The sign outside and on the website requests, “No pets, please. No BS either!” This place is open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day and is most definitely a zeitgeist for our times, minus the political polarization and ineptitude.