If it’s nearing happy hour and a juice box isn’t going to cut it, head to one of these family-friendly bars and breweries. 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
photo: Kate Loweth
This super-rad spot on Market Street in the Castro recently launched family hours from noon-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and we are all about it! There are loads of retro arcade games, pinball, skee-ball and other family favorites. You can also snag a board game like Scrabble and Connect 4 if that’s more your speed. Grab a meal there from their small bites (definitely go for the cinnamon and sugar popcorn), burgers, pizza and everyone’s favorite root beer float. They also have a full bar for the grown ups.
2200A Market St.
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
Arthur Mac’s Tap and Snack
We love this spot in Oakland as it welcomes everyone in your family including little ones and four-legged friends. They have an outdoor kids play area with tons of cars as well as a retro arcade that will bring you back to your Donkey Kong days. Kids can order the kids meal that includes a kids slice, juice box and fries or veg for $7. Parents will love the large number of beers on tap and the wings to go with them.
4006 Martin Luther King Jr Way
photo: 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.
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: 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: Kate Loweth
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.
photo: 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
—Kate Loweth & Melissa Bouse