Back in ye olde days, tired moms and dads used to have to settle for a cup of Folgers while the kids screeched through the back yard. That’s still an option—we wouldn’t recommend the instant java, though—but when the day calls for getting out of the house, go beyond the Starbucks and Top Pot locations and try one of these, our favorite Eastside coffee shops. From north to south, these spots cater to the kiddies as well as the paying adult.
photo: Yelp user Booyeah B.
Issaquah Coffee Company
Stumptown beans and great customer service make this coffeehouse a darling among Eastside locals; regulars especially love the Tiger Mountain mocha and Cougar Mountain latte. If you and your hungry monkey are looking for a snack, there are plenty of fresh-baked goods, some of which are gluten-free. A train table in the window-lit corner provides entertainment for toddlers while guardians gab or relax. Looking to fill the whole morning? Take a wander through the charmingly country Gilman Village and try your hand at pottery painting or sign the kids up for a class at The Musik Nest.
Beyond the Joe: Issaquah Coffee Company no longer serves gelato like they used to, but try a Creamsicle smoothie for a warm-weather treat.
photo: SoulFood CoffeeHouse and Fair Trade Emporium Facebook page
Sure, SoulFood smells like patchouli and, if your kids are anything like ours, they may have a hard time keeping their hands off the incense candles and dreamcatchers. But despite its eclectic décor, this Redmond space is actually very kid friendly. The beverage menu borders on absurd: there are more than 50 different tea, coffee (the Karamel Sutra is particularly good), and caffeine-free drinks available, and a dozen of those are designed for kids. Take your order to one of the tables that edge the modest kids’ space in the front corner—bins of toys, a train set, plenty of books—and leave time for a trip to the spectacular toy store next door.
Beyond the Joe: Don’t be fooled by the SoulFood name, though; there aren’t many food options, and what is available is serviceable but not extraordinary.
15748 Redmond Way
Redmond, WA 98052
Online: soulfoodcoffeehouse.com or on Facebook
Hours: Mon.-Tue., 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Wed.-Thu., 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri., 7:30 a.m.- 10 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
photo: Village Bean Facebook page
The Village Bean
Bothell’s Country Village is a trip—a small-town shopping center straight out of the Midwest decades ago. There’s a train ride for kids, plentiful lawn space, frilly-footed chickens wandering about and Village Bean, where the espresso drinks and full food menu play second fiddle to the clean, expansive activity room. Three bucks buys entry, but it’s a small price to pay for access to a wooden play house, play kitchen, train table, magnetic wall, ball-and-pipe maze, and enough seating for possibly thirty. There’s also a magazine rack full of periodicals to luxuriate in while your littles are amusing themselves.
Beyond the Joe: Try the raspberry lemonade, a house specialty.
photo: Chelsea Lin
Third Place Commons
OK, it’s not quite the Eastside, but this place is so awesome we think it’s worthy of a mention (and you can stop by from Seattle on your way around the lake). Fans of Third Place Books’ Ravenna location will recognize some similarities here in Lake Forest Park: the low-walled, enclosed play space stocked with miscellaneous toys and ringed with chairs for parents to sip coffee and work on laptops without taking their eyes off their energetic kiddos. But the Commons area of the Lake Forest Park location includes not only a full-scale Honey Bear Bakery (with drinks, savory lunch items, and baked sweets galore), but also a barbecue joint and a Japanese one as well. There’s a stage, a giant chessboard and an active calendar of community events. Don’t miss a visit to the old-school photo booth for a nostalgic snap with your little love.
Beyond the Joe: Honey Bear makes some adorably delectable goods, but you’ll definitely want to opt for the chocolate cupcake frosted to look like a bear face.
photo: Franky and Dom’s website
Franky and Dom’s
This petite bistro doesn’t have a fancy play area or even a ton of tables—the few outside are the best bet for rambunctious little ones—but they do have one thing kids of all ages adore: candy. The shelves of vintage-era candy is the first thing tiny hands go for; adults tend to prefer the Italian coffee, French pastries and daily changing homemade soups. While Franky and Dom’s may not be big enough for a play area, they insist some of their favorite customers are the kids—something we always see as a good sign.
Beyond the Joe: Complete your European experience with a Belgian waffle, not the sort from your local diner, but the chewy, sweet true street food style.
We love hearing about new places. Are we missing any of your favorite Eastside hangouts? Spill the (coffee) beans in the Comments below!