Scaled-back suburban Oktoberfest celebrations on tap for fall 2020
Locating an Oktoberfest celebration this year is more difficult now that most municipalities and service organizations have canceled their events in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, finding a friendly brewpub or restaurant where one can hoist a stein is not impossible. Several intend to carry on the tradition with safety precautions -- including mandatory face coverings, physical distancing and attendance limits -- in place.
Keeping in mind that activities are subject to change or cancellation, here's a sampling of suburban Oktoberfest options.
Schnitzel Platz, the family-friendly German restaurant and gift emporium at 729 North Ave., Glendale Heights, commemorates Oktoberfest with German music and entertainment Friday, Sept. 11, through Oct. 25. Tables indoors and outside will be spaced six feet apart. Face coverings are required except when patrons are seated at tables. (630) 942-9900 or schnitzelplatz.com.
Having canceled its traditional celebration, the Village of Itasca will host a drive-thru version from 3-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 12-13, at Village Hall, 550 W. Irving Park Road. Residents can order a traditional Oktoberfest dinner online and pick it up between those hours on those days. Dinner options include: roast pork loin, schnitzel, bratwurst and German-style meatballs among other options. See itasca.com/oktoberfest.
Scorched Earth Brewing Company
From Wednesday through Saturday, Sept. 16-19, Scorched Earth Brewing Company, 203 Berg St., Algonquin, will showcase its Oktoberfest beer, a German-style marzen, and its WunderPilz, a German-style pilsner, among other styles. Food trucks will be on hand Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18-19, and the outdoor beer garden and the indoor space have been reconfigured according to health department guidelines. Face coverings are required to move about inside but not when patrons are seated at tables. Face coverings are not required outside for groups that are properly distancing. (224) 209-8472 or scorchedearthbrewing.com.
Suburban restaurants and breweries have scaled back their Oktoberfest celebrations, but seasonal brews are still available, with social distancing, at places like Hofbrauhaus Chicago in Rosemont.
- Courtesy of Leigh Loftus
Musicians, dancers and celebrity keg tappers will entertain Hofbrauhaus Chicago patrons during its Oktoberfest celebration, which runs Friday, Sept. 18, through Oct. 31 at the expansive brewpub located at 5500 Park Place, Rosemont. Capacity is limited and patrons must wear face coverings when they are away from their tables. (847) 671-2739 or hofbrauhauschicago.com.
Two Brothers Artisan Brewing
Two Brothers will host two days of socially distanced celebrations in Warrenville and Aurora. The Saturday, Sept. 19, event takes place at Two Brothers Tap House, 31W315 Calumet Ave., Warrenville. Three-hour celebration sessions begin at 11:30 a.m., 3 and 6:30 p.m. (630) 393-2337.
The Sunday, Sept. 20, event takes place at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway, Aurora. Two-hour sessions begin at noon, 2:30 and 5 p.m. Call (630) 264-2739.
The mostly outdoor celebrations include the brewery's Atom Smasher beer, German food and music. Patrons are required to wear a face covering when entering the buildings or using the restrooms. Reservations, including a $10 deposit to be applied to the bill, are required. There is a six-person limit per party.
Skeleton Key Brewery
Skeleton Key Brewery, 8102 Lemont Road, Woodridge, hosts Skulltoberfest on Saturday, Sept. 19, featuring German fare and an oompah band. Seatings are at 3:30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. and are limited to 40 people maximum. Dinner for two is $125 and includes a Bavarian pretzel, Oktoberfest beer, chicken schnitzel, sweet-and-sour red cabbage, apple strudel, a four-pack of Oktoberfest beer to-go and two Dirndl glasses among other items. (630) 395-9033 or skeletonkeybrewery.com.
Buffalo Creek Brewing
The Long Grove brewery and pub at 360 Historical Lane has incorporated safety measures into an Oktoberfest-themed weekend next month that will feature the brewery's traditional Oktoberfest beer and a new offering, Bus Wedgie. It was brewed in recognition of Long Grove's 114-year-old covered bridge, which was damaged by a bus and a medical supply truck days after it reopened Aug. 14 after two years of repairs.
Buffalo Creek's scaled-back celebration takes place Friday and Saturday, Oct. 2-3, outside under a tent with tables distanced per department of health guidelines with up to 10 people per table. Face coverings will be required when patrons are not seated at their tables, and patrons may be subject to temperature checks.
The brewery will tap its Oktoberfest beer, a food truck will serve German fare and members of the Lake County Symphony Orchestra's brass section will perform from 5 to 8 p.m. both days. (847) 821-6140 or buffalocreekbrewing.com.