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Weekend in Moscow: Three Cheers for Oktoberfest

Matthias Schrader / AP

It may be cold, grey and miserable outside, but this weekend's Oktoberfest gives you the perfect excuse to gather a group of friends, raise a Maß (a liter of beer) and tuck into some hearty Bavarian fare — lederhosen optional. While Moscow is no Munich, there are still plenty of places you can get in the festive spirit.

Gambrinus

Music, feasting and the clinking of tankards

Gambrinus is a legendary beer hero thought to have originated some time in the 13th century — although the history books are a little uncertain. The icon of beer, brewing and joviality also gives his name to a Czech brew and a popular Moscow beer hall with several locations across the city. While Gambrinus is the kind of place that essentially celebrates Oktoberfest all year long, this weekend the beer-themed celebrations will be in overdrive. Guests at the Park Kultury and Ploshchad Ilicha branches can enjoy live music from “Bavaria Disco” — we promise you that's the real name — and if you book a table for four or more people in advance you'll be treated to three liters of free beer. The kitchen serves up your ubiquitous beer hall fare — heavy on the meat, pretzels and grenki.

gambrinusbar.ru

The German Embassy

Brews, bratwurst and a makeshift beer hall

In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot — that’s the German Beer Purity Law to you and me — the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce and the German Embassy are throwing a Bavarian bash at their residence near the Mosfilm film studios. While Friday is already sold out, there are still a few tickets available for family day on Saturday. Alongside some pils-fueled mingling in the on-site Bavarian beer tents, visitors will be treated to an authentic Bavarian brass band, various games and activities for kids and perhaps even a good-natured Schuhplattler if things get lively toward the evening. Tickets are a little pricey at 4,500 rubles for an adult — which includes two liters of beer and a three-course meal — but if you’re looking to celebrate Oktoberfest with actual Germans, this is the place to do it. Traditional dress is encouraged, so dig out that dirndl.

Sept.17. 56 Mosfilmovskaya Ulitsa. Metro Kievskaya then trolleybus 17 or 34. russland.ahk.de.

Paulaner Brauhaus

Raise a stein

For those reticent about splashing out on a ticket to a big event but still in the mood to celebrate this weekend, look no further than Paulaner Brauhaus. Moscow’s favorite Bavarian-themed beer hall actually celebrates Oktoberfest in October — rather than pushing the festivities forward for the good weather and additional celebration time as is popular elsewhere. But with its wooden beams, long tables and dirndl-donning waitstaff it’s probably the closest you’ll get to Bavaria in central Moscow. Reassuringly you can order beer in a liter at a time — you may wish to as it has a tendency to get busy in the evenings. Pair your brew of choice with a hearty Bavarian sausage from their grill (640 rubles) or a traditional pork schnitzel (1,100 rubles). During Paulaner Oktoberfest week (Oct. 8-22), there will be even more traditional dishes on the menu. Move over Munich.

2/1 Shlyuzovaya Naberezhnaya, Metro Paveletskaya. + 7 (495) 380 4808 paulaner-brauhaus.ru

Bavarius

Cheaper than an airticket to Germany

This weekend Bavarius restaurant kicks off its Oktoberfest activities with a whole host of games, lederhosen and beer-slurping frivolity. Head chef Gennady Serenikov has put together a menu based on traditional recipes to compliment the speciality brews Bavarius will be plying you with over the course of the coming weeks. Guests can sample the Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Paulaner and Spaten Oktoberfest beers — remember to consume in moderation — not to mention the many other dark and light beers served on tap all year round. Bavarius has opted for a medieval alpine hall feel to their interior. Think heavy wooden furnishings, lanterns on the walls and perhaps even the odd taxidermy-themed decoration.

Various locations. facebook.com/2010bavariusclub

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