If it’s nearing happy hour and a juice box isn’t going to cut it, head to one of these family-friendly watering holes. After performing extensive market research, we’ve found some Bay Area establishments that offer good drinks for the adults and great fun for the kids! Cheers!
Photo courtesy of Mo Riza via Flickr creative commons
Hidden just off Broadway in North Beach, 15 Romolo is known for its hand-crafted cocktails. While evenings are definitely for the older crowd, your brood will have plenty of company during the day and on the weekends. Be sure to play some tunes on the juke box and commemorate your visit by snapping some pics in the old school photobooth.
15 Romolo Pl.
San Francisco, Ca
Wine and Whiner Wednesdays says it all: This charming little Italian wine bar, restaurant and shop in Bernal Heights serves up more than 70 different wines, most available by the glass. And the husband and wife owners (him: Rome, her: Berkeley) know that moms and dads need wine, too. So on Wednesdays from 4–6 p.m. they host a family-friendly happy hour ($4 prosecco and Lambrusco, $3 beers, aptly called Wine and Whiner Wednesdays) where the kids won’t get dirty looks, and the parents will get to sip in style. Come on a sunny afternoon and enjoy their outdoor outdoor parklet!
629 Cortland Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
Photo: Park Chalet by Jennifer Z. via FourSquare
Park Chalet Garden Restaurant
If a day at the beach doesn’t wear out your crew, trade the surf for some turf with a visit to Park Chalet. Mom and dad can unwind in Adirondack chairs, while watching the little ones burn off extra energy running on the lawn or climbing on the twisty trees. Come on a Tuesday night for the added bonus of live music!
1000 Great Hwy.
San Francisco, Ca
This intimate bar/restaurant/music venue has a secret—out back is a luscious patio that’s great for families looking for a stiff drink with a side of punk. Come here on a Sunday during brunch hours and you might think you’ve stumbled upon a hip playgroup. The bar offers up a full selection of beer and cocktails, and kids love to ham it up in the photo booth. Be sure to check the music line-up before you go—sometimes they even host bands from SF’s School of Rock, made up entirely of tiny thrashers.
1600 17th St.
San Francisco, Ca
Photo courtesy of Melissa Bouse
Just one glance around this place will make it pretty obvious why it’s so kid friendly—there’s a massive sandbox! The all-outdoor Biergarten is a relatively new addition to the neighborhood. Grown ups can enjoy one of about a dozen local beers on tap, while the kids can explore the sandbox, a water fountain, or the Astroturf “lawn” area. And if that’s not enough to keep them busy, the BART whizzes by every couple of minutes, ensuring train lovers won’t mind staying until you finish your pint (or two).
1280 Gilman St.
Lost & Found
Head to this downtown Oakland oasis to soak up some sun, and enjoy a game of ping-pong or corn hole. You’ll find both games set up on the spacious back patio, which also offers a variety of seating options. You order your drinks and any food up at the bar inside, so you can enjoy at your own pace. The laid-back atmosphere will make the whole family feel right at home.
2040 Telegraph Ave.
Photo courtesy of Gina O. via yelp
From the outside, Brotzeit Lokal looks like it could be a clam shack or a boathouse. But inside, it’s a haven for German bier lovers. It’s located right on the water, so kids will love watching the boats come and go, while the over-21 set will enjoy the variety of authentic brews. In true bier hall style, many tables are communal seating, with long benches. They do have a few high chairs and booster seats, however. Don’t be shy—squeeze in where you can and make some new friends in the process. Prost!
Beer lovers will feel right at home with the extensive list of brews on tap and in bottles at the Albany Taproom.The kids will love sampling the super family-friendly fare from Grassy Burger next door (the two spaces are joined by barn doors inside, so you can order you bevies and burgers from a comfy table at either place.) Grab a spot up front so the little ones can take in the hustle and bustle of busy San Pablo Avenue.
745 San Pablo Ave.
510- 526 2998
Photo: Pete’s Brass Rail
Pete’s Brass Rail and Car Wash
Don’t let the name fool you—this is not a carwash (although the kids might love it even more if it was). It’s a favorite spot for Danville families to gather for a cold drink and a bite to eat. The shaded patio overlooks busy downtown, so there’s no shortage of excitement for the pint-sized crowd. If you’d rather sit inside (the place has several televisions for whatever game might be on) ask the server for one of their buckets of crayons—the kids can go to town decorating the paper placemats.
201 Hartz Ave.
Kensington Circus Pub
This neighborhood pub brings some English flavor to the village of Kensington. Kids will make a beeline for the play area—set up in the back corner. It features a variety of toys plus a chalkboard. Parents and their friends can easily keep an eye on them from a nearby table. On weekdays they’re only open for dinner, but you can visit for breakfast or lunch on the weekends until 2 p.m. (they open back up for dinner at 5 p.m.)
389 Colusa Ave.
Cato’s Ale House
Oakland Magazine just named this joint best neighborhood bar of 2016, and for good reason. Every Sunday, Wednesday and every second Saturday afternoon they host live music, and if you cruise in during the monthly Piedmont Stroll (3rd Thursday of every month) guests can enjoy free beer tastings all night. The food is the kind of hearty-yet-healthy goodness you would only find at at Bay Area bar (roasted beet salad, lemongrass tofu bahn mi sandwich, a vegan falafel burger…plus all the old fashioned nachos, burgers and pizzas you could want.) When you come with your littles, be sure to ask for the brand new kids’ menu!
3891 Piedmont Ave.
Ben & Nick’s
This is a good old fashioned pub with green leather stools, wood paneled booths and plenty of vintage beer signage string from the walls (and even a few stuffed deer heads). The great selection of local beers and beloved micro brews rotate on tap, and the menu is full of indigent favorites, like burgers, buffalo wings, stacked high sandwiches and more. This laid back place may be become a weekly tradition for your brood.
photo from Pond Farm: Erin Lem
Pond Farm Brewing Co.
San Rafael just got a whole lot more family-friendly (if that’s at all possible) thanks to Pond Farm Brewing Co., which just opened Spring 2019. The space is bright, airy and light, and includes a back patio with a rotating selection of food trucks most evening (they also allow in outside food). They brew all of their beers on-site but what you’ll really love is the dedicated kids play area, which features a play kitchen, tons of toys and kid-sized furniture. We were there on a recent evening and were blown away by the amount of kids of all ages enjoying the indoor play area and outdoor beer garden (lookout for the uber cute kid-sized Adirondack chairs!). It’s definitely a welcoming spot to kick back with a beer and enjoy time together as a family without worrying about your kids making too much noise or being too active. Bonus: there is plenty of free street parking, and they have wi-fi and open at noon for you work-from-home parents!
1848 4th Street
San Rafael, Ca
Photo: Marin Brewing Co. by Jenner B. via Yelp
Marin Brewing Company
Cap off a busy day of exploring Sausalito by hitting up Marin Brewing Company. With their spacious interior and patio, this is a great spot to meet up with friends. Plus, the kids can run around the fountains, trees and sculpture of the Marin Country Mart while you keep an eye on them from your patio perch. They have plenty of high chairs, booster seats and crayons. Oh, and of course, it’s a brewery! If you find yourself feeling a bit peckish, they offer a great menu full of kid and adult favorites.
1809 Larkspur Landing Circle
photo: Nat & Cody Photography
Just opened in Spring 2019, Marin Country Mart’s newest eatery may not technically be a bar, but we couldn’t help but add this hot spot to our list. Families are already flocking here for Shake Shack’s famous burgers, crinkle cut fries, shakes and frozen custard. The 21+ crowd can sip on wine and beer all on the spacious outdoor patio that includes a foosball table.
1401 Larkspur Landing Circle
Photo: Half Moon Bay Brewing Co.
Peninsula and South Bay
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
Grab yourself a beer flight while the kids watch the seagulls soar at this Half Moon Bay establishment right on the water. Sit outside on the patio where you can count the sailboats docked across the street. Their kids’ menu has tons of options including wild salmon and grilled prawns for the more adventurous little eaters. Don’t forget to grab a growler of your favorite pint to go!
390 Capistrano Rd.
Half Moon Bay, Ca
Steins Beer Garden
This Mountain View gastropub describes itself as “your neighborhood beer garden” and they live up to it with something for the whole fam (including Fido!). Grab a spot on the patio and sample one of the DOZENS of beers from their list. Be sure to ask for markers and coloring sheets for the little ones. This place can get a little busy in the evenings, so your best bet is to stop in during the early afternoon (we know we can twist your arm).
895 Villa St.
Mountain View, Ca
Photo of Jack Rose Libation House courtesy of Kate Loweth
Jack Rose Libation House
Picturesque Los Gatos is home to Jack Rose Libation House where you will definitely want to pull up a bench and stay for a while. With their motto of “Respect the Cocktail” you know you are in for a treat whether you sip the Jackalope, Figtitious Manhattan or the 50 Shades of Gray. On Fridays in the summer, musical acts perform on their outside stage. Kids are not allowed inside Jack Rose but they are welcome on the patio where they can enjoy the wood-fired pizzas or their amazing meatballs and then bust out some moves on the dance floor.
18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd.
Los Gatos, Ca
Campo de Bocci
You are definitely going to score with the kids at Campo di Bocce. Reserve your bocce court (outdoors usually works best with the loud little ones) and get playing! The pizzas are amazing (definitely try the boar sausage and rosemary potato version) and the beer plentiful.
565 University Ave.
Los Gatos, Ca
175 E. Vineyard Ave.
Downtown Campbell Farmer’s Market
While many are heading to the Campbell Farmer’s Market for kale, cucumbers and pluots, South Bay parents know that it’s a great spot to take the kids and grab a drink al fresco all year long! Campbell Brewing Company offers fantastic Bloody Mary’s and has a line of tables outside that are perfect for dog watching and dancing to local musicians who play nearby. Or head across the street to Aqui Cal-Mex for a swirl for you and some quesadillas for the kids. If you like a good sandwich and a good beer (who doesn’t?), then Spread is your spot! They have outdoor couches where the wee-ones can wiggle away or grab them a sweet treat next door at Frost Cupcake Factory and you will be the winner!
Sundays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Campbell Ave. and Third St.
What are some of your favorite, kid-friendly spots for grabbing an adult beverage?
—Erin Feher, Kate Loweth & Melissa Bouse