It could be said that Oktoberfest is (totally) culturally out of place in Los Angeles. It certainly was in Norwalk, the L.A. suburb where I grew up. When my Catholic school changed the name of our yearly carnival from Fiesta (which it’d been called since 1962) to Oktoberfest some time in the ’80s, much of the mostly Mexican-American parish was not amused, especially since two of the carnival’s main draws have always been the Filipino and Mexican food booths. After decades of persistent eye rolling and complaining, the name was changed back in 2013.
As far as I know, no Germans came forward to protest the change, probably because, even beyond Norwalk, L.A. doesn’t really claim a large, tight-knit German community. Despite this, Oktoberfest curiously remains a very big thing in our city—droves of Angelenos (some in lederhosen) come out to celebrate, and each year brings more and more sausage-and-beer-fueled events. Would it be a stretch to say we’re just looking for yet another excuse to party?
Well, whatever the reason, we’re happy to facilitate—because if it’s good enough for Suzanne Goin then it’s good enough for us. Here’s a big list of this year’s Oktoberfest celebrations.
The Oinkster will turn over their taps to Cismontane Brewing, who will offer four special beers, including Buckwheat Oktoberfest made especially for the occasion. A special menu includes Reuben Fries, Pretzel Bites with Cheese Dip, and a Sausage Plate with Kraut & Potato Salad. October 3 at the Eagle Rock location, 2005 Colorado Blvd. 323-255-6465
Vegan Oktoberfest is a good place to gorge and imbibe if you don’t eat meat. This year, the event’s second, is bigger and better with a new location and two days of Germanic-themed mayhem. Thirty food vendors and over 50 different beers will be on site, and you can also expect oompah music and stein holding contests. October 3-4 at LA Center Studios, 450 S. Bixel Street. Tickets can be purchased online.
Montrose Oktoberfest is a family event that’s been been at it for 38 years. The Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce puts it on as a fundraiser. Along with the food and beer, there’s also a bunch of contests, including Mr. and Mrs. Oktoberfest, Lil’ Mister and Lil’ Miss Oktoberfest, and even a best-dressed dog contest. October 3 from 12:00 – 11:00 p.m. at Honolulu Ave & Oceanview Blvd, Montrose. Admission is free.
Lucques is getting in on the action with a beer garden and house-made schnapps, plus sausages, sauerkraut, spaetzle, and pretzels. A full menu of dishes will showcase the season’s fruits and vegetables. Oktoberfest attire is encouraged, and each guest gets a tulip glass of mint schnapps. October 4 at 8474 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood. Tickets must be purchased in advance online.
Abigaile is celebrating with dinners, tap takeovers, and tasting menus throughout the month. First up is a beer-paired dinner with German-inspired dishes, including sauerbraten with red sauerkraut, cheese, and crispy onion spätzle. October 8 at 1301 Manhattan Ave, Hermosa Beach; 310-798-8227. Tickets can be purchased online.
BierBeisl Imbiss chef-owner Bernhard Mairinger is harkening back to his boyhood in Austria for this one. For two days, the casual Downtown restaurant will celebrate with enormous beers and pretzels, spaetzle, Austrian donuts, knoedels, and sausages. Prizes will be awarded in the best lederhosen, dirndl, and hat categories. October 10-11 at 541 South Spring Street; 213-935-8035. Tickets can be purchased online.
Wurstküche Venice will be holding it down every Sunday in October. The beer hall will, of course, serve German brews and the sausages that made them famous while the German Zeitgeist Band provides a festive soundtrack. If you’re lacking in traditional German garb, you can buy an outfit while you’re there. Every Sunday in October from 1:00 pm-5:00 pm at 625 Lincoln Blvd.; 213-687-4444
Oktoberfest at Alpine Village is an O.G. classic that’s been doing it up German style in Torrance since 1968. Oompah bands, German beer, and so much sausage is in full effect the entire month. Designated drivers get a free non-alcoholic drink and Sundays are family days. October 2-31 at 833 W Torrance Blvd. Torrance; 310-327-4384. Tickets can be purchased online and at the door.
Oktoberfest at the Fairplex is another giant celebration that goes on all month. Expect the usual: oompah bands, games, 15 types of beer, big steins, German food, and lots of tipsy folks in crazy hats. Fridays and Saturdays throughout October at 1101 W. McKinley Ave. Tickets can be purchased online and at the door.