Dating back to 1812, this beer garden is the oldest in Munich and still serves the genuine traditional experience in all its delightful, clichéd glory. The big draw here originally was the famous "beer bull" yoked to cart beer barrels up from storage in the cellar. Although the bull is long gone, the beer garden looks much as it was back then. The local Augustiner beer – considered by many Bavarians to be Munich’s best – is enthusiastically consumed.
Munich’s nightlife is as disparate as everything else about this city. Any given night might involve a knees-up in a traditional beer hall, a stint on the dancefloor of an über-contemporary club, or an immersion in the works of great German composers such as Wagner.
The area around Münchener Freiheit in Schwabing is the best-known nightlife district, with innumerable bars, cafés, restaurants, jazz venues and dance clubs. Hip bars are plentiful on the streets radiating out from Gärtnerplatz, while the Glockenbachviertel, just south of Sendlinger Tor, is the main focus of the gay scene. Haidhausen offers a more alternative scene.
Munich also boasts an impressive cultural pedigree – it’s significant that the head office of the German cultural organisation, the Goethe Institut, is based here. Munich was a major centre for the arts during the 19th century, under the patronage of Ludwig I and II, and today the legacy lives on with quality live music and theatre performances.
Arts in Munich (www.artsinmunich.com) has English-language listings for cultural events, while Prinz (prinz.de/deutschland/) is a German-language alternative. The best general source for tickets is München Ticket (tel: (089) 5481 8181; www.muenchenticket.de), which has counters in the tourist information office in the Rathaus on Marienplatz, as well as in the Hauptbahnhof and in the Gasteig Cultural Centre on Rosenheimer Strasse.