Do Kids Belong In A Taproom

Craft Beer & Parenting: Do Kids Belong In A Taproom? 16 comments



Do kids belong in a taproom?

In the past, breweries were strictly manufacturing plants. Asking the question, ‘Do kids belong in a taproom?’      wasn’t relevant because taprooms didn’t exist. If you wanted to enjoy beer in public, the only option was a bar. It’s remarkable how all of that has changed. Breweries are everywhere and they are one of the most popular places to meet friends and family.

For me, this is a welcomed change. I never really liked the bar scene as it just seemed like a dark room where people drank away their sorrows. Craft beer has given us a better option than the bar. The taproom allows friends and families to meet up and enjoy craft beer from the source. It is full of life and is a means to helping people connect.

But that raises the question, should kids be in a taproom?


The Quick Answer

It depends.

Yeah; I know that is a terrible answer but it’s true. There are too many factors to give a blanket answer. But I think there are some things to think about that may change your next taproom experience where there are kids involved (whether they are your kids or someone else’s).


The Longer Answer

At this point, I am convinced there is no better place to share a pint than the local brewery’s taproom. They are full of life, character and light. It is a place where people go to celebrate life and community. And I would argue that most are very kid friendly.

So instead of asking IF kids should be allowed in a taproom, ask yourself what factors are important when deciding WHEN it is appropriate to bring kids to the taproom?

Family Friendly Factors

Taproom Layout

Do Kids Belong In A Taproom

Taft’s Ale House is a BrewPub that is great for families.

Is the taproom large enough that you can find a space away from the bar area? You aren’t an outcast because you have kids with you but it is important that the kids and other patrons both feel like they have space to enjoy themselves.

Also consider if the brewery has a space that works for your family. Most parents don’t want their toddler sitting at the bar. Are there tables and high chairs available? If not, it might not be the taproom for you.

Kid Approved Drinks

Obviously, beer isn’t for kids. So there has to be non-alcoholic beverages available. In Cincinnati, Rivertown Brewery and Barrel House  makes their own root beer. My kids love it and this is a huge selling point. Do your homework, if you know they do not offer anything for your kids then bring something with you.

Keep Them Fed

Rivertown

Food and Craft Beer From Rivertown

Just like drinks, food is important to keep the family happy during a taproom visit. As a parent, I understand the correlation between a full stomach and a happy child. So plan your brewery trip when your kids are not hungry if possible or plan on feeding them while there.

In many cases, the brewery offers food onsite or via a food truck. This is even better as it allows me to have a meal with my family while there. It extends my visit and keeps everyone happy.

Activities

Kids do not think taprooms are super cool like you do; unless there is something in it for them. This can be something as simple as coloring books or as exciting as arcade games. Rivertown Brewery and Barrel House offers free arcade games and pinball. My youngest has actually asked about having his birthday part there. Keeping your kids entertained is critical to enjoying your next taproom experience.


Deal Breakers

Time Of Day

Don’t go after dinner. Taprooms get busier as the night goes on and I find that the noise level increases too. Large crowds are rarely good for families with kids. So go early and leave early. Save the late night taproom visits for the night out with friends.

Capacity Issues

MadTree Brewing

MadTree Brewing Grand Opening – Not The Best Place For Kids

If it is too crowded, then it is best that change your plans and find a place where your entire family will be more comfortable. You can always just grab a growler to go and enjoy their beer at home.

Special Events

Be aware of the breweries special events calendar. If they are doing a special release then they will probably be very busy. Large crowds and lines will probably spell disaster for your family.


Respect Others

I must be prepared to keep my kids occupied and happy. Many breweries are owned and operated by parents so they want to help but it is the parent’s responsibility. If my kids are unhappy and causing an issue for others; then it is time for me to leave.

It is also important to realize that not all customers at the taproom will be in a “family friendly” state of mind. If I feel that the situation is not ideal for my family then I need to remove my kids from it.

As a way to respect my kids, I limit drinking and model appropriate behavior. Your drinking habits will impact their future decisions so there are many life lessons that can be taught while at the taproom.

At the end of the day, the parent is responsible to ensure their kids are in a safe environment and not disruptive to the other guests. Not the other way around.


Conclusion

Much of this advice is based on my own personal experience. I have made some bad decisions when it comes to bringing my family to breweries. The biggest factor is to know your kids. Be aware of what does and doesn’t work for them. This will vary based on the individual child, their age and the number of kids you have.

And there will be taprooms that just aren’t good for families with kids. I think these taprooms are in the minority but they do exist.

Taproom can be enjoyable with kids of any age as long as you do research, plan accordingly and set some ground rules before you order the first drink.

Do you take your kids to the local taproom?


 


16 thoughts on “Craft Beer & Parenting: Do Kids Belong In A Taproom?

  • beertodaybeertomorrow

    Enjoyed your read and I feel that breweries and tap rooms are communal and families should be allowed to go. With that said Id be weary of a few factors like the time of day and if there is any kind of special event going on that would make it more packed then usual. Cheers from the BTBT team.

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree; it is situational. And I definitely avoid going at night.

  • Keith

    I’m totally OK with well behaved kids in tap rooms. I bring my daughter along frequently. Like you said, some tap rooms are more kid friendly than others. Some have kids menus and games while others are a few bar stools in the middle of the brewery, so I try to scope things out in advance.

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      Checking the place out in advance is always best. Someone else told me they actually call and ask about bringing kids. They find that the person answering the phone is normally really honest about how kid friendly it is.

  • Joel A Chappell

    This was a great article.. And I agree with every point… The Harpoon Brewery up in Vermont is very kid friendly! Great restaurant and tour is interesting even for the kids. As A Kid I grew up with memories of my parents taking me to the budwieser plant in New Hampshire to see the Brewery, and then the Clydesdale Horses. They have since expanded it with even more Kid friendly vneues, and Menus.

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      Thanks! That reminds me that I went to the Bud tour in St. Louis and thought that my kids would really enjoy it too. The place is huge, they have horses, what’s not to like. I may take them there some day as part of a vacation.

  • DJPimpDaddy ? (@DJPimpDaddy)

    I agree with “depends”. I am somewhat leery to ever take my kids to Rhinegeist, even on a Saturday morning for example. But I take my kids to Fibonacci without even considering it. My wife and I very much love the craft beer scene but with 2 working adults with 6-8 year olds, the hassle of getting a sitter so we can both go enjoy the scene is great. Maybe quarterly we get the kids to stay over night, call Uber, and go wild visiting multiple new breweries in one night but even that is getting too tedious because of how many there are. Instead we are now fully embracing the community centric visions of our local water holes: Fibonacci and Brink. If it is nice out we even take a dog to enjoy the porch too! As a result of the past 2 years of craft beer growth, we have assembled a short list of breweries in town that are kid and or dog friendly. But YES: always at a reasonable hour. Anything past sundown starts to get to where I feel like my children shouldn’t be there and the guilt starts seeping in. As always, one of the parents should bring a growler and sample a flight. In our house, the driver gets the victory growler when they get home ha ha.

    An ideal fun night for us is meeting inlaws or friends at Fibonacci early in the evening, bringing a pizza from Larosas, and letting the kids play with their toys or Pokemon Go on our phones. Must be working since we constantly get compliments about how well behaved they are. These people don’t see them when they get home from school and wreck the house!

    Some great tips for noob parent visitors:
    Fibonacci has sweet-ass scientific toys and games for kids. VERY kid friendly. Dog friendly outside. Free water
    Brink has a nice kids play area with toys and coloring. Free water as well
    Rivertown I believe still has free arcade games for kids(and adults too!)
    Listermans appears to be kid and dog friendly inside. EVERY time we go there I swear my kids spend more time petting the dogs at the bar, which statistically end up being a Husky or German Shepherd so they are big fluffy huggy dogs. Also being a homebrewer, going there occasionally doubles as a great excuse to hit their homebrew shop too!

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      You definitely have a system which is important when kids are involved. I agree that some just aren’t as family friendly. Fibonacci and Brink are excellent and super close. I also think the new MadTree is a good option of they aren’t too busy – and they have pizza. I’ve taken my kids to Woodburn, Listermann, MadTree, Rivertown (both locations), Fibonacci, Brink, Tafts Ale House, and Rhinegeist. All worked out well but they got bored fast at a few of them.

  • Jamie Baker

    As a non parent I’ve got no issue with well behaved kids in a tap room or family friendly bar… but that being said I’ve seen enough groups of adults behave far worse than any child so…

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      You got that right! Adults can be just as out of control as kids but both are rare in my opinion. I find it refreshing at how controlled the craft beer scene is; very few crazy drunk scenarios in my experiences.

  • indiveswetrust

    Love this topic – very thought provoking. I have a favorite taproom/beer garden in Brooklyn that I absolutely LOVE. On any given Saturday or Sunday early-ish afternoon there are TON of families with small children, and at least one if not multiple 1st, 2nd, etc. birthday parties taking place for said children. I think it’s great if not hilarious/genius. If i was a parent of a small child, who had little to no clue they were now alive for 365+ days, I’d want to throw their birthday party where all my other parent friends could have a great brew or two. I do think that after a certain point in the day, kids probably shouldn’t be in the taproom – and that seems to happen naturally anyways. I’ve never been there past 5pm and seen any families with children present. I also definitely agree with your point that if something “inappropriate” for children were to take place, it would be on the families with kids who brought them into that environment, not the other patrons. Awesome post!

    • Craft Beer Joe Post author

      That sounds like a brewery I would like to visit. It is great when the entire community is represented. The people of craft beer are really respectful of each other and like you said much of the flow is natural. As the day moves on; families move on to other activities and the taprooms are left for the adult only crowd. Cheers!

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