Oktoberfest Party: Set Up a Backyard Bier Bar

Get ready to get your Oktoberfest on! From inexpensively decking out a table in the classic blue and white colors of the Bavarian flag to stocking the bar with Germany's world-famous lagers, best-loved wines and even non-alcoholic sips for the kinder, we'll help you bring the best of Bavaria to your backyard celebration.

Photo by: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Materials Needed

  • blue and white plastic pennants
  • buffet-style folding table
  • 3 blue plastic table covers
  • 2 plastic whiskey barrel-style planters
  • blue and white plastic Oktoberfest table cover
  • assorted German lager
  • German wine, like Riesling, Liebfraumilch or Gewürztraminer
  • lemonade, either homemade or storebought
  • apple juice
  • sparkling water
  • double-sided tape
  • scissors

German Bier: History in a Glass

Ah ... beer, that smooth sip that so perfectly pairs with many of our favorite foods and activities. Your taste in brews may lean more toward a hazy, hoppy IPA or a mouth-puckering sour, but for centuries, Oktoberfest beers have been a malty, amber lager known as a Märzenbier, due to the beer's brew time of late spring/March, or Märzen in German. While beer wasn't the primary focus of the first Oktoberfest in 1810 (which was a royal wedding celebration in Munich, Bavaria's capital) beer has certainly taken center stage in the centuries since, and the festivities still take place around the Theresienwiese or field that was named after the royal bride, Princess Teresa.

Photo by: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Then and now, Oktoberfest is a Munich-based festival, and rules around the beer served there are laid out by the centuries-old Reinheitsgebot (or Edict of Purity) which charges that those beers must be pure and contain only water, barley, hops, yeast, wheat malt and/or sugar cane — and they must be brewed within the city limits of Munich. Only six breweries meet the requirements to be officially sanctioned as Oktoberfest beers and served in the world-famous tents. Of those six, only four are available in the U.S. and are seen above: Spaten, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr and Hofbräu — all delicious and a great way to enjoy an authentic, historic taste of Oktoberfest in your own backyard.

Hang Pennants

To give Oktoberfest flair to the area over your bar, hang blue and white pennants using clear pushpins (Image 1) or double-sided tape. The inexpensive, plastic versions are readily available online or at your local party store; we used two different pennants to mix up the shades of Bavarian blue (Image 2).

Cover Table

While the plastic table covers are cheap ($1 each!) they typically aren't large enough to fully cover a buffet-size folding table, including the legs. So, we used three table covers and began by using painter's tape to secure one to each side of the table, completely covering the legs (Image 1). Overlap with the third table cover in the center, keeping it in place with double-sided tape (Image 2). For a festive feel, cut a Bavarian flag-style plastic table cover in half, and use double-sided tape (Image 3) to position it diagonally across the top of the table (Image 4).

Create Daisy Clips

Alpine flowers, like daisies, aster and edelweiss grow wild in many parts of Germany, including Bavaria, the home of Germany's official Oktoberfest celebrations. As a nod to these wild blumen, adorn your table with a few easy-to-craft clips. Start by painting clothespins with blue craft paint (Image 1). Pull apart a faux daisy stem, separating the leaves from a few flower heads. After the paint has fully dried, attach first the leaves with hot glue (Image 2). Add more glue to the back of faux daisy blooms (Image 3) and attach and hold in place to allow the glue to set (Image 4). Repeat to create a second clip.

Clip Corners With Bavarian Blooms

Gather each front corner of the covered bar and slide on a daisy-covered clothespin.

Photo by: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Create Bar Menu

Print our free Oktoberfest bar menu onto card stock and slip into a frame. We had an empty 10" x 14" frame on hand so to fill in the empty area around the letter-size card stock, we repurposed some leftover wallpaper.

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Create DIY Steins

Print our 3 free vintage-look beer steins onto card stock and cut out (Image 1). Add 2 lines of hot glue to one side of the foam koozie (Image 2), then press on a cut-out stein (Image 3).

Stock Beer Barrel

Fill barrel with ice and stock with the four Munich-brewed official Oktoberfest beers that are available in the U.S.: Spaten, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr and Hofbräu — or, if you prefer, stock with American Octoberfest brews (fun fact: only official German brewers can use the Oktoberfest spelling) or any lagers, Märzens or Weissbiers (wheat beers) that you like best.

Photo by: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Stock Wine + Non-Alcoholic Barrel

While many beer drinkers will agree that German beer is the best, some partygoers may prefer to sample one of Germany's famous wines. So, fill the second barrel with ice and slide in bottles of Liebfraumilch, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. As with any party, always provide non-alcoholic options so kids and non-drinkers can also quench their thirst. For ours, we added mini water bottles and larger bottles of sparkling water and apple juice for the apfelschorl or apple spritzer that is a favorite non-alcoholic sip in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Photo by: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Add Centerpieces + Framed Bar Menu

Fill vintage pitchers or beer steins with colorful fall blooms, like sunflowers, or alpine wildflowers, like chamomile. For a nod to beer's harvest origins, we mixed a few dried wheat stems into our larger arrangement (Image 1). If your chosen frame doesn't have an included stand, put a small easel to work (Image 2) or, alternatively, hang it above the bar.

Finish Stocking the Table

Add completed steins so guests can slide in their favorite brew (Image 1). Fill a pitcher with lemonade, either storebought or homemade, for mixing up a radler — which is half lager/half lemonade (Image 2).

Time to Party

Prost! It's officially time to get your Oktoberfest on! Tempt your guests with one of our favorite Oktoberfest recipes: Mini Kasespatzle, Bite-Size German Potato Pancakes, Easy Bavarian-Style Pretzels, Mini Black Forest Cakes or Homemade Apple Strudel. Don a dirndl or lederhosen to help you get into the mood (Image 1). Crack open a cold one (Image 2), mix up an apfelschorle for your youngest guests (Image 3), fill your plate and imagine yourself in sunny Bavaria (Image 4).

Dress the Part

How to Craft Bavarian Flower Crowns for Oktoberfest

Make this year's Oktoberfest the best with these photo-ready DIY flower crowns that pair alpine-inspired faux blooms with the blue and white palette that's symbolic of Bavaria, the home of Germany's official Oktoberfest celebrations.

Get the How-to

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