I am a big fan of German music and culture, yet I had never been to Alpine Village in Torrance, California, so I jumped at the chance to attend Oktoberfest there in September 2013 and again in October 2015! In two years they’ve made some significant and noticeable improvements. But, is it a good date spot?? Read on.
Oktoberfest at Alpine Village is held in a huge tent to accommodate the crowds, not the smaller Alpine Village building. When I went in September, the tent was only half full (which had its benefits). When I went in October, it was totally full and crowded.
Inside the tent, there are various stations serving three choices of beer on tap and one food station serving German fare (bratwurst, sausage, sauerkraut, potato salad, etc.) The selection of beer (only three choices) and food are limited, so a vegetarian might not be so happy here.
Let’s be clear: this is not a super high-end establishment. It has more of a fun carnival atmosphere. You’ll be sitting on benches. the food is sort of cafeteria-level, but good.
If you do decide to have dinner, I suggest getting there early (say, by 7PM), because things get rowdy later on, with performers walking on the tables! It’s best to finish eating before that starts!
There is a large stage up front with an authentic oom-pah band from Germany as well as an array of performers and MCs. The quality of the German bands is very good both times I went. They are actually flown in from Germany. For me, the authentic German music was one of the highlights of Oktoberfest, although I felt overall the music was a bit too loud at times, making it hard to talk with my friends. But, we were also pretty close to the stage, in the second row of tables. In the back of the tent, the volume was about right.
The night begins with authentic German music but as the night goes on they play some popular American classics, and the energy level increases. Of course, drinking is encouraged often!
Chicken dance at Oktoberfest in Alpine Village
The key to having fun at Alpine Village’s Oktoberfest is to be in the right mood with the right group of friends (i.e., not inhibited). This is not a good place to go if you are in a sour mood, or if you are with timid friends. You’ve got to be in a light mood, willing to get up and make a fool of yourself doing the chicken dance and other activities that will test your self-respect. If you and your friends are into it, it can be a ton of fun.
Frivolity and drinking are encouraged (but there are also tons of sheriffs on hand and you go through a metal detector).
There wasn’t as much partner dancing as I expected. Only during one song did they encourage couples to come up front and polka and give a brief lesson. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if people danced during other songs, but most people didn’t.
Let’s talk about costs for a second. Admission was $10 when I went, but can be as much as $25 during peak Saturday nights. A plate with a main course and two sides will run you another $10-$15, plus you’ll probably want to split a pretzel ($8) and at least two beers ($6 each). So, this is not exactly a cheap date!
So, is Oktoberfest at Alpine Village a good date idea? I’d say “it depends”. It can be a lot of fun for for a big group, if they are the types that lose inhibition after a few beers.
It’s not a great idea if you want a quiet dinner out!
So, rather than just bringing your date, consider bringing a larger group of friends.
Tell us about your experiences at Alpine Village in Torrance! – Brian