If there is one festival that has gone too viral that many other countries celebrate their own version while attempting to be as close to being as authentic as possible, it has got to be Germany’s Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest is held every year in Munich running from mid or late September to the first weekend of October. More than 6 million people flock to Munich to participate in the festival with 7.7 million liters of Oktoberfest Beer consumed in 2013.
While I have been to Munich, it was during the Christmas market season. Curious as to how much fun Oktoberfest really is, I was thrilled when I was told there is an Oktoberfest event here in Qatar. Qatar, which is not open to public consumption of liquor, and regulates their sale, is holding an Oktoberfest!!! Is this for real???
There were 2 highly promoted Oktoberfest parties last weekend. Intercontinental Doha seems so much more fun and had more feedbacks in the internet on their previous events but had a steeper price which was immediately made us turn around. We opted to go to Sheraton Doha instead, at The Backyard for the Oktoberfest Extended Party.
We arrived early to secure free entrance if all the tickets hadn’t been sold out. Gates open at 6pm and ladies can get in for free until 8:30pm or pay 65QR(<$20 with 1 free drink) afterwards. Lucky that we did, we were one of the firsts in the line.
The Backyard is an open-air party venue. It was actually a very cozy place with mats, rags and bean bags on the grass and benches for bigger groups. Being there early was actually good, we got to enjoy the atmosphere before the fest.
We were there too early though, that food wasn’t ready yet but the drinks are!!! Who goes to the Oktoberfest for the food anyway? My group!!!
Anyway, coming really early has its perks as we were able to avail of the Happy Hour prices where alcoholic drinks are only 30QR, from 50.
A little bit later comes the food. Oktoberfest regulars such as pretzels, snitzels and bratswurst and sauerkraut can be had. Priced from 50-70QR, the main dish comes with several sides. Yes, we came here for the food, so I had quite a pile, hehe…
People started coming at around 8:30 and The Backyard starts to be in a party mood. There was a resident DJ playing dance hits and a little later will be Die Dorf, a Bavarian-style Oompah Band from UK. They played Oktoberfest tunes in their opening set, which got the crowd in a party mood.
Unfortunately, we had to end the night early as we still have work the next day 🙂 From the looks of it, the real Oktoberfest in Munich, IS A LOT OF FUN!!!
I was expecting a more Bavarian feel of the venue. A tent, beer in steins rather than plastic cups, The Backyard crew probably dressed in traditional Bavarian costume? It was quite lovely to see some party-goers in their dirndls. And I was also relieved for Die Dorf to open the night with Oktoberfest tunes, rather than party music.
It also seems that some things needed to be more organized. The gates didn’t open at 6. The guards are not very sure how to advise guests slowly growing in number. We had to organize ourselves and set-up our own queues. A crew also wrongly informed us of when Die Dorf would start on stage. To think this is the 2nd day of this event.
On a positive note, though the venue is uniquely held outdoors, it has its own charm with the moonlight and the sky joining in the fun. There are plenty of staff who are quick to clear your tables and security is visible. Food and beverage service and quality are very good.
All in all, The Backyard’s Oktoberfest Extended is a good teaser of the real thing.