By Jodie Jacobs

Say “oom pah pah.” Fall is Oktoberfest time. Raise the stein, down a brat and tap your foot to German and Bavarian bands. If traveling to Munich for its famed celebration, then you are among some of the luckiest in the world. However, if a trip across the sea isn’t in your plans, don’t fret. Instead head to one of these five fun places with friends or make new friends there while celebrating the season with a well-aged Oktoberfest beer.


St. Alphonsus
1429 W. Wellington Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 525-0709

Price: $5 donation, military free
Dates: September 28-30, 2012
Click here for band times.

If it’s the last weekend of September, you know you are nearing Southport and Lincoln Avenues when you hear brass bands thump out German drinking songs and polkas. You have arrived at St. Alphonsus’ Oktoberfest in Chicago’s West Lakeview neighborhood. Be sure to go inside this 1800’s Roman Catholic Church for more food and music. Don’t worry about folk-music overload. The Dave Matthews Tribute Band is on the Saturday-night lineup.


The Berghoff Restaurant
17 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 427-3170

Price: Free
Hours: September 12 to 14, 2012

Unless you are new to the city, you know to stop at The Berghoff’s outdoor Oktoberfest at Adams and Dearborn Streets for a beer, brat and music. About 80,000 people stopped by in 2011 so you won’t want to miss out this time around. Considered Chicago’s oldest and currently largest Oktoberfest, the restaurant’s 27th festival runs September 12 to 14. No problem if you miss the outdoor fun. Added for 2012 is an indoor celebration with Munich-style, beer-hall decorations, large pretzels, special sausages and Oktoberfest beer all through September. The Beer & Brat Tasting on October 3 will require reservations.

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The Edelweiss Restaurant
7650 W. Irving Park Road
Norridge, IL 60706
(708) 452-6040

Click here for band schedule.

When looking for traditional Bavarian atmosphere, beer and food, go to the Edelweiss Restaurant in Chicago’s western suburb of Norridge. Events will be going on during the weekends from September 8 through November 3. Snack on huge, yummy Bavarian pretzels with mustard dipping sauces. Down the Spaten beer and other Munich imports while listening to Johnny Wagner, Edelweiss and other bands that play Thursday through Sunday during the restaurant’s Oktoberfest.


Glunz Bavarian Haus
4128 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 472-4287

You may have heard about Glunz wines and Glunz beers because offshoots of the business began when Louis Glunz started as a Chicago wine, beer and spirits merchant in 1888. However, this family name is also written across the door of a restaurant on North Lincoln Avenue.  Traditional German dishes, beers and music celebrate the family’s ethnic heritage throughout the year and Saturdays features live music to entertain patrons. This restaurant is a fun choice when looking for an Oktoberfest atmosphere without concern about Oktoberfest dates.


3454 W. Addison St.
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 463-1962

Unlike many restaurants that hold Oktoberfest in September, Mirabell actually celebrates in October. The restaurant’s traditional food and European atmosphere is worth the wait if you want your dishes accompanied by Oktoberfest beers and German music. Look for roast duck and pork shanks among the menu specials and Munich’s Hofbrau and Spaten in the beer selection. German bands, including The Pietones, play Fridays and Saturdays during October.

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Jodie Jacobs is a freelance writer covering Chicago arts and culture. Her work can be found on