Oktoberfest Dining and Drinking Guide 2015

Summer may be over, but look on the bright side: there's copious amounts of German beer and sausages to look forward to! As Oktoberfest approaches, here's where to eat, drink, be merry, and embrace your inner German around Chicago this year: 


The Dawson
The Dawson, photo by Nathan Michael

Bohemian House: No better place to celebrate Oktoberfest than a contemporary Eastern European restaurant. Bohemian House is getting in on the festivities in a big way this year via Schnitzelfest. That's right, a whole multi-day festival to honor the almighty schnitzel, one of the quintessential noshes for Oktoberfest menus. Happening nightly from September 21 through September 23, the restaurant plays host to guest chefs from around the city serving up their signature schnitzel innovations. On September 21, diners can feast on duck schnitzel by TETE Charcuterie chefs Thomas Rice and Kurt Guzowski; on September 22, it's merguez schnitzel by The Bristol's chef Sean Pharr; and on September 23, Nathan Sears of The Radler provides smoked brisket schnitzel. Each evening, the guest chefs will be in attendance to mix and mingle. Diners will also be able to wash things down with beer specials like Goose Island Oktoberfest, Erdinger Oktoberfest, and Timmermans Pumpkin Lambicus. 

Troquet River North: It may be French, but Troquet River North is paying homage to its European neighbor with some Bavarian specials from September 19 through October 4. To drink, there's Revolution Oktoberfest and Two Brothers Atom Smasher Octoberfest Lager on hand, both for $5. To eat, chef Tim Davidson is whipping up house marinated sauerbraten sandwiches with pickled red cabbage on pretzel buns.
Timothy O'Toole's Pub: For two days, Timothy O'Toole's swaps out its Irish swag in favor of German garb. The famed Irish bar celebrates Oktoberfest Setpember 25 and 26 from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 a.m. each day, featuring 25-ounce steins of Oktoberfest beer from the likes of Sam Adams, Left Hand, Leinenkugel, Bell's, Metropolitan, and others. Food specials include chicken schnitzel, bratwurst sandwiches, and soft pretzels. German music will also take place. 
The Dawson: This West Town restaurant knows how to party. In honor of Germany's signature celebration, The Dawson is christening a two-week Oktoberfest celebration with a kick-off event September 19. From 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., The Polkaholics will perform on the restaurant's patio, while guests partake in German beer and a bottomless spread of spaetzle, potato pancakes, schnitzel sliders, and borscht for $25. Additionally, a special Oktoberfest dish called the "German hot pot" will be available from September 19 through October 4, featuring layers of cabbage, pork, sausage, onions, carrots, and German Riesling. 

- Matt Kirouac