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Beer Garden Etiquette for the European Traveler



From the May/June 2008 issue of DRAFT magazine

If youíre traveling through Europe this summer, spending time at an authentic, Austrian beer garden is a must.  Beer gardens are a foretaste of heaven, where the sun always shines and everyone is your friend.  But to avoid looking like a tourist, youíll need to follow the rules.  The May/June issue of Draft magazine offers tips on the proper beer garden etiquette:


        Donít feel violated if strangers ask to sit at your table.  Itís customary for patrons to fill up empty seats at an occupied table.


        Donít hold your liter-mug (called a ďmassĒ) by the handle.  Slip your whole hand inside the handle for better control.


        Know where to sit.  Large beer gardens have one section for self-service and picnics (yes, you can bring your own food).  Table service is provided where you see chairs and/or tablecloths.  Donít carry beer or food to these tables, or you will be scolded.


        Be ready to order.  Servers are busy and will walk away if you donít know what you want.


        Be ready to pay.  Servers will open their change purse on the table, add up the beers, and bark out a total.  They expect payment on the spot.


        Tip about 5 percent by rounding up, and hand the tip to the server.  Donít leave it on the table.


        Donít be unruly!  Beer gardens are family places, so donít be surprised to find yourself sitting among grandmothers with strollers and families picnicking after church.


        Left means ďgo,Ē right means ďstop.Ē  Bachelors should note that a single fršulein knots her dimdl apron on the left, married on the right.


        Look them in the eye and drink.  When toasting, itís rude to set your beer down or not look each person in the eye before drinking.



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