2011 NYC Oktoberfest Events

When a German asks you, "Was seinen Sie ihre Lieblings Freizeitbeschaftigungen?" don't be alarmed by the large words.  Stare right into their Deutches Augen (German Eyes) and yell like a private in boot camp, "Practicing for Oktoberfeeeest!"  Make sure to draw out that last syllable to really drive home your dedication to The Fest, because this stuff's important.

Since 1810 Oktoberfest has been a celebration of one thing and one thing only, happiness.  It started with a celebration of the marriage between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on the 12 of October 1810.  In 2011 it remains no less joyous than the beautiful celebration of eternal love, there is just more beer.

To make sure you're in the know, here's a list of NYC Oktoberfest events to black out a week or two of your life in a drunken, and happy, stupor:

Lexington Avenue Oktoberfest Blowout:  In honor of this illustrious holiday, Lexington Avenue will be shut down on Sunday October 2nd from 42nd-57th Street.  The celebration will commence at 10am and end at 6pm.  Go get your drink on!

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden:  New York's oldest beer garden has been a premier venue for the week-long Oktoberfest celebration for over a hundred years.  Starting at 12 pm daily on October 1st and ending on the 9th, the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden will be serving up plenty'o'happiness-in-a-glass. 29-19 24th Avenue Astoria, New York 11102

Zum Schneider Restaurant and Biergarten:  From now until October 9th, knock a few back in a traditional Oktoberfest setting and celebration. 107 Avenue C at East 7th Street, New York, NY 10009

Oktoberfest 2011 in The Garden at Studio Square NYC:  Just how it sounds-a killer Oktoberfest celebration at The Garden at Studio Square on October 1st and 2nd. 35-33 36th Street, Long Island City, NY 11106

Das Best Oktoberfest NYC:  On October 22, there will be more beer, sausage, music, and that's right-Lederhosen, than you know what to do with.  The NYC tour will consist of two big sessions of Okstoberfestivities from 12pm to 4pm and 5:30pm to 9:30 pm at La. venue. 608 West 28th Street, NYC 10001-11th Ave and 28th Street

Where are you celebrating Oktoberfest?

For more updates on local events, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

Photo: Esti Alvarez

Five New NYC Beer Gardens

In New York City, it can seem like a new beer garden opens every day, with frothy mugs on packed tables in every borough. There's a reason-a cold beer on a hot summer day is one of the great pleasures in life. This Fourth of July holiday weekend, so check out one of New York's newest beer gardens for a stein or two of summer fun. Hofbrau Bierhaus NYC - For tourists, midtown workers, and fun-loving beer lovers alike, Hofbrau Bierhaus offers a centrally located beer haven. Located right in the heart of Manhattan, Hofbrau Bierhaus is just blocks away from Grand Central Terminal at 3rd avenue and 45th street. The Bierhaus is sponsored by the German brewery Hofbrau and exclusively serves varieties of Hofbrau beer. They also offer a number of typical German foods like bratwurst, weisswurst, and bauernwurst. At a place that tries to live like its Oktoberfest all year round, you'll be sure to have a good time.

La Birerria at Eataly - Mario Batali and the Bastianich's hit Italian market and multi-restaurant operation recently opened a roof-top beer garden on top of its building in the Flatiron District. The 150-seat beer garden serves Dogfish Head, Baladin, and Del Borgo beers from its unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated Cask Ales as well as a selection of local and Italian bottled beers and wines. Along with that, they also serve a great menu of Italian sausages, cheeses, salumi and a few other simple Italian dishes. If you've already been to a few German beer gardens, an Italian one might be a nice change.

The Lot on Tap - Located on an elevated former subway track, New York City's Highline Park opened just a few years ago on the West Side of Manhattan. Since then it has become very popular and recently became home to The Lot on Tap, a beer garden recently opened in part of the open space below the High Line and operated by Colicchio and Sons. The garden, located at 10th avenue and 30th street, takes reservations for large groups (20-60 people) and closes earlier than other bars, so it is a good choice for afternoon relaxing and drinking.

BeerParc - A huge 12,000 square foot outdoor plaza, BeerParc is an expansion of Jeffrey Chodorow's FoodParc at 6th avenue and 29th street. The Parc has a lineup of local and ever-changing seasonal beers and food from places like German restaurant Edi & the Wolf, Top Chef Season 1's winner Harold Dieterle's Kin Shop, and the very popular Fatty 'Cue. All the seats outside have a view of the 34-foot TV screen broadcasting Mets and Yankees games, making BeerParc a great place for happy hour or to catch a summer baseball game.

Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club - The former site of the Water Taxi Beach at the South Street Seaport has become the space for the 22,000 square foot outdoor bar and restaurant, the Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club. The Beekman BGBC has a tent-covered section to protect visitors from the elements, as well as an open sand-floored space with picnic, foosball, and ping-pong tables. The BGBC offers a menu of craft beers and the usual sausage and burger favorites and would be a great place to enjoy a drink right by the East River.

If you're still having a hard time deciding, check out the Beer Gardens NYC iPhone app. It will help you locate the nearest beer garden and let you compare each with users submitted reviews.