Business Etiquette Guide for the Oktoberfest 2023


Those who visit the Oktoberfest with their company should act cautiously: Even with wanton mood, it is a business appointment!

 1. Dresscode: Do I have to wear “Tracht” (engl. traditional bavarian garbs)?

dresscode oktoberfest 2018

Tips for Women:

Of course, the perfect Oktoberfest outfit for women is a pretty “dirndl”. However, inappropriate is a too deep neckline and a too transparent blouse. Even a too short dirndl is out of place at a business visit, even at the Oktoberfest. However, the choice of appropriate footwear is a science in its own and every year we ask ourselves the question: Which shoes should I wear to my dirndl? In the best case you should choose classic traditional shoes or (traditional) pumps – but knee-high or calf-high boots are not recommended for elegant silk-dirndls, sporty sneakers for feminine dresses or rough cowboy boots for noble Dirndls.

Attention: It’s best to stay away from garbs-shops at train stations with plastic leather trousers, carnival clothing or even T-shirts with funny Wiesn slogans. Dressy traditional costumes are already available for affordable prices in second-hand shops or can be rented (or borrow it from friends).

Tips for Men:

lederhose Tischreservierung Otkoberfest

For men, of course, a leather pants (traditionally made of deer or chamois leather) are a must-have. The traditional leather trousers are worn with a traditional shirt in white with stag horn buttons or meanwhile even with shirts with vichy checks – fine rib undershirts or T-shirts are an absolute no-go. Again, pay attention to suitable footwear. We recommend traditional “Haferl”-shoes” (eng. wooden clogs) with traditional stockings – sneakers are again a clear taboo here.

And if you freeze easily at the evening, there are traditional costume jankers for men and gorgeous sweaters for woman. A appropriate accessories is a charivari, shawl, traditional hat and traditional motifs such as edelweiss, roses and hearts. Those who value tradition, should wear a small shoulder bag made of felt and who wants to be the eye-catcher of the evening, a hat could be the right choice, which is usually decorated with feathers and applications grab.

In general, anyone who feels uncomfortable in Bavarian garbs – it is of course no obligation. A casual outfit or a plaid blouse or shirt are also quite sufficient. Only the combination of casual everyday outfit and grab is reluctantly seen, the choice is a fashion decision that should be consistently enforced.

2. How to tie a ribbon of a “dirndl”

dirndl tie bow table reservation oktoberfest 2018

Women in a relationship (and women who want to keep drunken men off their necks) tie the loop to the right. Single women tie their ribbon on the left side of their apron. Women with the loop tied behind are either widowed or waitresses.

Note: More information on recent dirndl trends can be found here.


3. The strong Oktoberfest beer: Only enjoy in moderation

Here is what also applies to all other corporate events – Don’t do anything that you will regret the next day. Do not forget that it is a professional event, that means “drinking-yes, being drunk -no”. Business talk should be avoid, but very private stories (especially the ones you are ashamed “the day after”) too.

4. Wiesn as a career springboard?

Some love the Oktoberfest, the others are happy when the 16 days are finally over. No matter what you prefer, the Oktoberfest can be a true career factor.

At the Oktoberfest the relaxed atmosphere often leads to interesting conversations, which you can follow up later. Get to know your colleagues, customers and potential business partners better and build up trust that can be very useful for your career and business relationships later.

5. Using cutlery or your hands to eat?

veal sausage tischreservierung oktoberfest 2018

Traditionally, the “Weißwurst” ((Bavarian) veal sausage) is eaten with pretzel and sweet mustard.  For many Bavarians the only legitim way of eating a Weißwurst is biting the skin and suck the sausage meat into the mouth (bavarian: “zuzeln”).


For business visits the following applies: If you do not master the art of “zuzeln”, knives and forks are also allowed and so you avoid embarrassing incidents.

6. Always a good choice – the classic roasted chicken.

Every year around 450,000 roasted chickens are eaten at the Oktoberfest. Nowhere else you can find chicken meat, which is so crispy and juicy on the inside. Here, the “Hendl” – roast chicken in Bavaria – may be eaten with your fingers, usually the Oktoberfest waitress brings you a small wet tissue to quickly clean your fingers after you enjoyed your meal!

7. Let’s talk about your boss

At the Oktoberfest everybody is in a good mood! As mentioned before, you can establish great new contacts and expand your relationships drastically – amongst other persons –  especially with your boss! At the “Wiesn“ it’s very common that bosses get different in terms of personal contact. You may experience matey chats and gain insights in your boss’s personal life. But never forget that it’s still your boss talking to you. Think twice bevor saying something, because your work life goes on after the Oktoberfest. It may also occur, that this all is just temporary and this close relationship will be ended as soon as you leave the Theresienwiese. And then the “Dale” may change back to “Mister Anderson” again. If you ‘re not sure just go on pretending nothing happened. Often this is better to avoid uncomfortable situation with supervisors. If your boss wants to keep this maty relationship, he will probably tell you to keep calling him by his first name.

8. What about flirts?

Again, do not do anything that you will regret in the office the next day. Even if the boss, the colleague or business partner look seductive, never forget: do not flirt at all – no matter how seductive your boss, the colleague or business partners look after you drunk a gallon of beer. You should hold yourself back if you don’t want to be the top discussion topic in gossiping rounds at the canteen.

9. Feel free to dance – but don’t dance on the tables

Swaying and dancing are a part of the famous beer tent mood. If you want, you can join the crowd and dance with them on the beer benches. However, getting up the tables is very disrespectful and should be avoided.

10. Know some lyrics of important songs

It is recommended to learn the most important folk songs played at the Oktoberfest. So, you can sing along the chorus with rest of the crowd. This not only makes great fun but also makes sure that you don’t standing quietly in the middle of the masses. To be perfectly prepared for the annual “Gaudi”(eng. fun), you should learn some lyrics of songs like „Atemlos durch die Nacht” (“Breathless Throughout the Night” in English) by Helene Fischer, “An Tagen wie diesen” (“At days like these”) by the Tote Hosen, “Schickeria” by Spider Murphy Gang or “Hey Baby” by DJ Ötzi can be very useful.

But, there are also some Bavarian phrases needed to get a little bit better integrated into the Wiesn-community. For example, to order something:

“Hendl“ (roast chicken; pronounced like the word „handle“)

“Brezn” (pretzel; pronounced “Bree” like breeze + zen like “send” without “d”)

“Mass” (approximately a quart of beer; pronounced like “Ma” from Marshall and “ss” like “Sun” with an emphasis on “ss”)

When „Oans, zwoa, g’suffa“ (”one, two, drink!”) or “Prost” (“cheers”) are shouted by the crowd glasses get raised.

To say “hello” you use “Servus” or “Griasgod”. First one is both, greeting and farewell, second only farewell.


So, do you would like to visit the Oktoberfest? We wish you great fun und a folksy enjoyment. However, exactly as with other business meetings, good preparation is essential! So don’t forget to book a table for you, your colleagues, partners and potential customers! We hope our tips can help you to overcome the party without unpleasant memories the next day.

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