I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the different sights that can be seen from my travels, or talking about the people and cultures I get to experience, but I do not spend enough time talking about an important aspect of traveling, the dining experiences. This can sometimes be a very stressful part of travel because you get hungry and you need to eat, but the various restaurants can be very intimidating. Each country has their own customs about how to order, and pay for your food, and if you do it wrong, you are afraid that people will look at you strange. But once you get it, the way a culture handles the dining experience can be more efficient and more pleasant than what you are used to. I would say that South Korea has the down the best, but there is a place in Salzburg that might compete for that title, Augustiner Braustubl Beer Hall.
If you do go to this place, do not expect to have much choice in beer. They only have one available, a pretty good lager, and it comes in two different sizes, a liter or a half liter. You should also not expect a server to come to your table to take your order. What you do instead is you walk up to the shelves that hold rows and rows of the mugs. You grab the size that you want, and then go wash it at the marble fountain in the middle of the entrance. You then pay for your beer. They give you a slip saying that you have paid for it, you take your mug and ticket up to the keg master who fills them for you. Then you join the party.
It is quite the party too. They have at least five different halls that I could find, but that does not mean that they have more hidden some place. In each hall, they have long tables and you just find a couple of seats, and sit down with your new best friends because let’s be honest, how can you not make friends with the person sitting across from you when you are both drinking a liter of beer. The place is noisy and when I was there, it was filled with mainly locals, but I can see that during the summer months, this will change to a group of tourists.
They serve food as well, but once again it is not like you are used to. One of the hallways in-between the beer halls, they have set up various vendors selling anything from roasted pork, to fish and chips, to breads and pretzels. You can find something for everybody there except if you are vegetarian. I am sorry, but I have not found many places in all of Germany and Austria that cater to this cuisine choice. If you like meat though, the choices are excellent. You just go up to the counter that you wish to have food from and order directly from that vender. You then bring it back to your seat and enjoy it.
It easy to enjoy a complete evening at this beer hall, and I am glad that it closes at 11:00 or I would still be there. It became one of those dining experiences that made me feel completely comfortable with its system, and I did not get stressed out by the customs I had to adhere to. I am glad that I read up a little bit about it before I went to dinner here, and it is what made the experience great. I can’t wait until the next place where I get to enjoy a new experience such as this.