2023 brings us new opening hours, reservation rules and new rides.
New (Old) Opening Hours
We didn't quite get, in the first place, why it was important to already open the fair grounds at 9 am on weekdays last year. As we weren't the only ones, as it seems, the site will again not open before 10 am on weekdays and 9 am on weekends.
A more significant and to our mind excellent change was made to the opening times of the Oide Wiesn. They're now identical to those of the actual Oktoberfest, which means the tents can serve beer and have music until 10:30 pm, while the rides and stalls are open until 11:30 from Sundays through Thursdays and midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and before the holiday.
The biggest showmen news is the return of a big classic. Russenrad was renovated to meet the current technical requirements and can return to the Oktoberfest for the first time since 2019.
Mr. Gravity will be the first Technical Park Heavy Rotation that makes its way to the Oktoberfest. The intense ride is significantly more thrilling than you would guess from the monotonous visual impression.
The other two new attractions, Crazy Outback and Crazy Island, don't only have similar names. They're both conventional fun houses. Lachfreuhaus won't return and left an open slot in the segment.
More unfortunate is the fact that Münchner Zugspitzbahn won't be back this year. After technical issues didn't allow it to open last year, it won't even be allowed to set the ride up in 2023. We hope, it will be next year.
The VR ride Dr. Archibald will add a second film.
New Reservation Regulation
We've criticized Oktoberfest hosts for asking for menu orders in their reservation forms for years, and it looks like it finally had some effect. The city doesn't allow tents to ask for extras before they confirmed the reservation.
However, the small tents are now allowed to charge a minimum consumption of €75 after 2 pm and all day on weekends. Käfer and Weinzelt can even ask for €95.
The vouchers that are being sold as the minimum consumption have to be valid until the end of the year in the hosts' restaurants.
Reservation Resale Platform
The tents' hosts are obliged to offer an internet portal that enables anyone with a reservation to offer them to others to take over at no extra cost.
As expected, the city council's resolution to keep the holiday free from reservations didn't survive the months after the initial enactment. After many tents started accepting reservations for balconies and boxes, the city council adapted its expectations and limited the reservation freedom to the naves.
We hope the hosts will at least not count some of the naves' capacities as boxen, which many tents usually do.
Not news, but still remarkable, is the fact that Bräurosl is ditching its original music concept for good. Like last year, starting with the first Oktoberfest Wednesday, the tent's main band, Kapelle Josef Menzl, will be replaced by a party band at night. Ironically, this could mean that the tent, that was supposed to become more traditional last year, could now be one of those with the smallest share of traditional brass music.
Even a second tent is saying goodbye to the concept of having an all-day band (“Festkapelle”): Fischer-Vroni will replace Sepp Folger's Münchner Musikanten with Münchner Zwietracht every evening at 7 pm. You may know Münchner Zwietracht from Hippodrom and Marstall.
Kalbsbraterei is using Blind Date in the second Oktoberfest week after 6 pm. Marstall's Die Oberbayern now call themselves Sandhofen. Flatout moves from Café Theres to Glöcklewirt and Café Theres is now featuring Monaco Allstars.
Wine at Schottenhamel
Even though Schottenhamel-Festhalle is a host-owned tent just like Marstall or Fischer-Vroni and not affiliated with a brewery, it wasn't allowed to serve wine. This will change in 2023. Despite the introduction of wine to the tent, it won't add a bar. However, it will feature a smoking balcony for the first time.
The organic chicken experiment
Organic chicken aren't new at the Oktoberfest. Ammer's chicken grill introduced them as early as 2000. At the Oide Wiesn, Herzkasperl-Festzelt and Festzelt Tradition have them, but only in addition to conventional chicken.
It's not hard to imagine, why: at Festzelt Tradition the organic variant came with an upcharge of nine Euro per half.
Winzerer Fähndl is now testing to not only introduce organic chicken for the first time in a large tent at the regular Oktobefest, but to even replace conventional ones with them. We're interested to see the impact on the rest of the menu, as chicken is, next to schweinswürstl (pork sausage) usually the cheapest hot option.
Augustiner Stopped Providing Wildstuben
Seeing a tent changing the brewery without changing the owner is rather rare. Therefore, we were quite surprised to see that Wildstuben won't sell Augustiner beer anymore.
We don't know why that might be, but this just after the year in which a video went viral that showed a waiter cleaning spilled beer and other liquids off a counter using beer mugs. As that counter was also used to place fresh beers on, some certainly thought those dirty maß would be sold as well.
We wouldn't be surprised if the people at Augustiner, who are extraordinarily concerned about their brand and the serving quality, would have had a serious problem with that video.
Changes to the Tents
The north end of the Löwenbräu tent is getting updated. Mainly to give the tent a new kitchen, parts of the storage, locker rooms and the break room are moved upstairs, on top of Hirschau boxe.
Weinzelt is getting new seating and Marstall a makeover.
Following its façade, Café Theres will receive new paintings on the inside, showing the English Garden.
Fischer-Vroni's beer garden got a makeover. Most remarkable, it now has big umbrellas.
Free Water Dispensers
As a reaction to the outrageous prices for non-alcoholic drinks, the city of Munich decided to bring free water dispensers to the Oktoberfest. Fortunately, the stadtwerke opted for a pragmatic approach and will install taps on the outside walls of four toilets.
Franziska Inselkammer is the new Münchner Kindl and will lead the Oktoberfest parades for the first time in 2023.