Set in a wasteland in the heart of London’s Eastend, Oktoberfest East sadly disappointed. Yes, the beer was from Munich and served in steins, but this was the only thing really Teutonic about our evening. Think Hipsterfest and you’ll be closer to the reality of what was on offer.
From the discomforting warm up guy – I’m still not sure if he was part of the entourage or just a passing guest who picked up the microphone as he claimed – to the curryworst that lacked curry leaving just the worst of food, there was little to generate the funpacked ambience that my guest who had been to the real deal in Munich assured me is the hallmark of the Oktoberfest.
Seventies disco classics – nothing wrong in themselves – filled the gaps between the sets provided by the Hackney Colliery Band – more Brassed Off than Oom-pah. Ironically as soon as Nene’s 99 Luftballons came on, we were immediately taken back to the band. A brassed cover of Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box, while interesting in itself hardly helped the atmosphere. I even found myself wishing for The Birdie Song to be played, such was my plight.
Looking around our fellow revellers, their steins half-full or was that half-empty, I realised that I was not alone in my disappointment. Simply put this was not a fun night. So our stein completed – the dark caramel lager was excellent – we decided to leave the Oval Space and retire to a small bar around the corner. A gay bar on the Hackney Road might be no more authentically Eastend than Oktoberfest East was Munchen, but it least it wasn’t pretending to be anything it was not.
I have never been to a genuine Oktoberfest, I still haven’t.
Wednesday 28 September – Saturday 8 October
Oval Space, 29-32 The Oval, London, E2 9DT