Germans are famous for their party culture.
If you ever visit the land of Oktoberfest, you’ll probably want to get in on the action.
And that’s great, because socializing is one of the best ways to experience authentic German.
Some of the best and most expressive phrases are born from the spontaneous alchemy of language that occurs while hanging out with friends at the bar, having a night out on the town or just generally having fun.
Some of them don’t even make sense.
For example, some friends of my roommate in Berlin, a big German rock star among them, taught me to say “Was ist denn hier nicht los?,” which translates to “What isn’t going on here?”
They taught me that at a former East Berlin pub, and they just cracked up every time I said it.
If you’re planning a trip to Germany (or Austria or Switzerland, for that matter) learning some fun and useful phrases for partying and social interaction can really spice up your language skills.
After all, it’s sometimes tricky to learn to socialize in a foreign language: You have to look beyond just knowing how to order your next beer (though we won’t neglect that, either).
With these phrases, you’ll get started on practical party talk, icebreakers, expressing yourself no matter what your mood and making people laugh.
This list is intended to provide insight and useful material for all learners who are old enough to partake of adult beverages responsibly, even those who aren’t necessarily the partying type.
Maybe it’ll help you make friends, maybe you’ll find you enjoy gossiping in German or maybe you’ll discover you have a knack for being entertaining.
Who knows, maybe you’ll even fall in love.
32 German Party Phrases for Social Butterflies
Now, it’s time to party down—German style!
Eating and Drinking
1. Ich besorge das Bier. (I’ll take care of the beer.)
Here’s a pre-party phrase for offering to do your part. Don’t worry, beer is really cheap in Germany and stores known as Spätis are open 24/7.
2. Noch ein Bier, bitte. (Another beer, please.)
A good one to have ready when you’ve drunk at least one beer and are still feeling thirsty (a given if you have any German blood in you!), this is probably one of the most common phrases in the language.
Though judging by the popularity of the yerba mate soda Club Mate in Germany, “Noch ein Club Mate” might be starting to compete.
3. Guten Appetit. (Bon appétit.)
Germans love “germanizing” foreign expressions. While they’ll understand “Bon appétit,” they’ll love it if you use the German version.
4. Pass auf, dass uns niemand den Tisch wegnimmt. (Watch out, don’t let anyone take our table.)
This can be really handy during crowded Oktoberfest celebrations, or at a sports bar when the national soccer team is playing.
5. Lass uns das bald wieder machen. (Let’s do this again soon.)
Use this one to say you loved the party and look forward to next time, or just to be polite.
6. Nicht lange schnacken, Kopf in Nacken. (Stop talkin’ and start drinkin’.)
Here’s one to break out at the bar.
7. Saufen bis zum Verlust der Muttersprache. (Drink until you forget your mother tongue.)
Some German phrases can make you sound so cultured. This one’s right at the top.
8. Ich habe einen Kater. (I’ve got a hangover.)
The day after you forgot your mother tongue, you’ll probably feel like saying this.
But protein and orange juice are on the way…
9. Wir brauchen Katerfrühstück. (We need a hangover cure.)
Literally, we need a “hangover breakfast.”
10. Ich saufe darum bin ich. (I booze, therefore I am.)
Descartes might have said this at Oktoberfest. Combine 50% thinking and 50% drinking, and you’re getting pretty close to the German spirit.
11. Jetzt geht’s ab! (The party starts now!)
In Germany, party time is all the time, so you’ll probably be able to use this a lot in your travels.
12. Freibier für alle, sonst gibts Krawalle. (Free beer for all, or else we riot.)
As you’ve probably gathered, Germans are serious about their beer. If you really want to get into the party vibe, try this one out. (It comes from the popular rock song “Freibier”).
When the Party Goes Awry
Some non-German speakers say Goethe’s language always makes you sound angry. I totally disagree; I think German can be tremendously sweet. If your sweetness level ever goes down while in the land of the Teutons, however, consider some of these powerful phrases.
Some of these are obviously quite rude and should be used with caution, but they’re good to know and recognize even if you never use them. After all, drinking and parties can sometimes take a toll and cause emotions to run high.
13. Ich habe die Nase voll davon! (I’m sick of it!)
You can use this one to express that you’ve just had enough of something.
14. Lass den Quatsch! (Knock it off!)
An alternative to the above.
15. Das dauert ja ewig. (That’s taking forever.)
This one can be used to express impatience.
16. Das ist mir egal. (I don’t care.)
This one, indifference.
17. Hände weg. (Hands off!)
You can use this phrase if someone is invading your personal space.
18. Lass die Finger von meinem Bier! (Keep your hands off my beer!)
I recently heard a variation of this one on the TV show “Der Letzte Bulle.” You can use it for people or things, or anything you don’t want someone else’s fingers on. On the show, the macho-type cop said, “Lass die Finger von meiner Tochter,” to his younger partner who was, you guessed it, dating his daughter.
The phrase has also been immortalized in the German title for the Ashton Kutcher comedy “My Boss’s Daughter,” which is known in German as “Partyalarm – Finger weg von meiner Tochter” or literally “Party alarm — Fingers away from my daughter,” certainly the work of an imaginative translator.
19. Geh dahin, wo der Pfeffer wächst. (Get out of here!)
This literally means “Go where the pepper grows,” and can be used when you want to be left alone. So simple, yet so to the point.
20. Halt dein Maul Dummkopf. (Shut your mouth, dumb head.)
This one could potentially be used if you preferred silence to (unwelcome) words.
21. Kannst du ein bisschen sensibler mit ihm umgehen? (Can you be a bit more tactful/careful with him?)
This one can be used if someone is being rude or lacks tact and you’d like to politely ask them to be nicer.
22. Komm mal wieder runter. (Calm down!)
This one can be useful if someone is getting too worked up to have a civilized discussion.
Miscellaneous Phrases for Having Fun and Making People Laugh
People talk about everything at parties. You might end up gossiping about people you know, engaging in some amateur philosophy or just joking around.
No matter what the topic of discussion is, German speakers have a great sense of humor. Whatever you’re trying to say, there’s likely a fun phrase to express it, sometimes involving farm animals, hairy teeth or guardian angels. Here are a few that cover a wide range of territory.
23. Lass deine Sau raus! (Let your hair down!)
Literally meaning, “Let your pig come out,” this is an invitation to merrymaking.
24. Er hat Haare auf den Zähnen. (He’s bossy and self-assertive.)
Literally, “He has hair on his teeth,” this can be a funny way to describe a know-it-all.
25. Wer zahlt, bestimmt die Musik. (Whoever pays the piper calls the tune.)
There’s some easy world philosophy for you!
26. Probieren geht über Studieren. (Trying is better than studying.)
You can use this one if you don’t feel like studying a lot.
27. Die Axt im Haus erspart den Zimmermann. (An ax in the house keeps the carpenter away.)
If you have the opportunity to impart home improvement wisdom, consider breaking this one out. A little less harmless than “an apple a day…” but maybe just as useful.
28. Es stinkt wie ein Bock. (It stinks like a buck.)
Use this one if something (or someone) smells foul.
29. Wenn Schweine fliegen. (If pigs can fly…)
The meaning here is that if pigs can fly, then anything is possible. You can use it if you hear something unbelievable.
30. Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei. (Everything has one end, only sausages have two.)
This one can be used to philosophize about the meaning of life and death, maybe while eating sausages. The idea here is that everything has to end, we all die, etc.
31. Sie hat eine scharfe Zunge. (She has a sharp tongue.)
Here’s one you can use if you happen to encounter someone with a sharp wit.
32. Fahre nie schneller, als dein Schutzengel fliegen kann! (Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly!)
Here’s a handy one for being safe by discouraging a fast driver. It would make a nice bumper sticker, don’t you think?
You can learn plenty of cool vocabulary for socializing from lists like this, through language immersion and by watching current German television. Just remember that phrases won’t always be literal, or even make sense!
After all, partying and socializing isn’t all about practical details, it’s about having fun.
Knowing these phrases beforehand will make you feel less socially awkward, and make your social interactions richer and more meaningful, too!