The oldest and arguably the most important tent at the Oktoberfest, the Schottenhamel is where the festival begins on the first Saturday.
The tent first made its appearance at the 1867 Oktoberfest as a small shack with room for 50 people. It has since grown to hold over 6000 people inside as well as 4000 outside in the second largest Oktoberfest Beer garden.
At midday on the first Saturday of the Okoberfest, the Mayor of Munich traditionally taps the first keg to the cry of "O'Zapft is!", after which all tents can start serving beer.
The crowd here is definitely younger than the other tents, and the band tend to mix in more modern hits along with the traditional Bavarian music.
The seating in the Schottenhamel is different than the rest of the tents. Instead of having straight beer benches, the tables here are smaller with seats extending around the whole table. Some people like it better this way, as you can more easily mix with others on surrounding tables. Some people however find it somewhat uncomfortable, especially if you end up with a corner seat.
However, as the day progresses, most people end up standing and the seating arrangement makes it convenient to navigate from one table to another using just the seats.
This tent is one of the busiest at the Oktoberfest, and getting a seat on the first day is nearly impossible. Reservations will almost certainly be a no-go for tourists, but if you get there early enough on the first day (before 8am) and don't mind waiting over 4 hours to get a beer, there is a chance of joining the festivities. During the week there is normally no problem getting in however, and even during the weekend when the weather is good you can normally stroll in here up until about midday.
If you only have time to visit one tent at the Oktoberfest, the Schottenhamel should probably be the one at the top of your list.
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