The best thing about travel is when you go somewhere with no real expectations, and it ends up charming the pants off you.
Like Munich’s Königlicher Hirschgarten. Now don’t get me wrong. I do love me a German beer garden, so I fully expected to enjoy myself. But even after the hotel staff explained it’s the largest in Europe, with seating for 8000 people, I didn’t understand what I was about to experience.
Which is fair, I think, considering how unique it is. It’s genuinely difficult to wrap your head around until you see it.
It’s just so … big. Not just the beer garden itself, which it would have to be to accommodate 8000 patrons.
But even the idea behind the space is big, as the beer garden is located on former royal grounds – grounds that used to be a stag garden. So of course, there are still deer on site.
Then there are the logistics of it. Because when you’re serving thousands, loading empties onto a tray to carry back to the kitchen on foot isn’t very efficient. No, a fleet of small trucks does a much better job.
And a shed for mug storage is a must when you’re dealing with that kind of volume.
Speaking, as I often do, of beer: their masse bier was so big that I had to use two hands to drink it. I could lift the mug in one hand, but couldn’t tilt it without taking some of the weight in the other.
Size wasn’t limited to the beer menu, either, as Ron discovered when he ordered a pretzel that turned out to be bigger than his head.
So what kind of entertainment is big enough to do this sort of venue justice?
A fucking fire-eater, that’s what.
But perhaps my favourite part of the night was when Ron asked our server for help translating something. Our server spoke some English and did his best to help, but eventually told Ron he needed to speak to the “Big Boss,” and went to get him. It seems only fitting that the person in charge should have the physical stature to match this big scale operation, and the manager certainly fit the bill. Because Ron’s not exactly a small guy, but as can be seen here, the Big Boss well outsized him.
If you’re ever in Munich, I highly recommend visiting Königlicher Hirschgarten. After all, you know the old saying …
Go big or stay home.
(Many thanks to Kerry for the article title.)