Best Kid-Friendly Beer Gardens and Breweries in and around Chicago
Sometimes, parents just need a break. And maybe a beer. But we can't always get a sitter to enjoy a night out. So, we've scoured the city and suburbs for some of the best local breweries and beer gardens in Chicago that welcome kids—many of which have great outdoor seating. We looked for places with quality kids' menus, something for kids to see or do, a lack of raised eyebrows about bringing kids along for the ride, and of course, great brews. Cheers!
We tried to select locations near public transit or walkable from neighborhoods, but we still want to remind you to designate a driver or take a cab or Uber. And, since kids under 12 still can't be vaccinated against COVID-19, maintain social distance and wear masks whenever possible.
Best Urban Beer Gardens in Chicago for Families
Kaiser Tiger—West Town
Although not related to Daniel Tiger, this place offers kids plenty to do while their parents, um, relax. They can try their hand at ping pong, bocce, giant Jenga, or bags year-round. The restaurant offers an extensive beer list and a bacon-driven menu that goes beyond bacon basics: there are bacon boards, bacon grenades, and a specialty entree called "The Bomb" (a five-pound stuffed sausage purported to feed 6-8 Vikings). The patio is large but starts to attract more of an adult crowd after 8pm, so try and time visits before then. This is a cashless restaurant, so don't forget your credit card.
Village Tap—Roscoe Village
This neighborhood watering hole feels a bit like being in someone's backyard. With ivy-covered brick walls and row upon row of picnic tables, you might not expect to find 26 of the best taps from all over the world here. And nearly all of the food is kid-friendly, from the hummus plate to quesadillas to mini corn dogs. Shortbread cookies from Chicago pastry chef Mindy Segal (remember Mindy's Hot Chocolate?) are a somewhat new addition to the menu. A retractable roof and a heating system make the beer garden cozy year-round. Games of bags also sometimes make an appearance toward the back of the patio.
ERIS Cider and Brewery—Old Irving Park
For a break from beer, this cider spot can satisfy a grown-up's sweet tooth with more than just apple cider. Eris has cherry, blueberry, peach, strawberry, and apricot ciders rotating seasonally. The kids' menu goes beyond the standard chicken fingers and cheese pizza with items like grilled salmon and petite vegan cauliflower wings. (Yes, you'll snitch bites off their plates. These are super tasty.) The patio's bright furniture and fairy lights are fun for kids and adults will like the widely spaced tables.
Twisted Hippo—Ravenswood Manor
Twisted Hippo is a relative newcomer to the Chicago craft beer scene, and specializes in all things weird. The mascot here is a hippo with antlers and a wing and it's pink and green all over, totally setting the scene for the whole vibe. The"bitty bites" menu includes corn dogs, cheese curds, and a pretzel appetizer—all perfect for sharing and snacking with kids. The brewery also recently teamed up with a bakery to create beer and donut pairings for National Donut Day, appealing to both kids and adults. Nearby Horner Park provides a great place for kids to run around before or after the meal.
Inspect the barrels of brew at Old Irving Brewing Co.
Old Irving Brewing Co.—Albany Park
More of a beer garage than a beer patio, this high-ceiling brewery with a large garage-door-like window is a great neighborhood spot for those looking for good beer in a family atmosphere. The grown-ups may enjoy three different sizes of beers with a wide selection of IPAs, a few lagers, and some heavier Belgians while kids like the kids' menu that offers fruit as well as fries to go with chicken fingers, buttered noodles, mac and cheese, and burgers. A cornhole game and numerous TVs also appeal to kids, while its proximity to the Blue Line is nice for getting to and from OIB.
Mrs. Murphy's Irish Bistro—North Center
The Bistro teamed up with neighboring bar Martyrs to create an outdoor seating area during the pandemic and it has become a neighborhood standby. In addition to the extensive Irish menu, Mrs. Murphy's includes an Irish grocery store that carries fun goodies from over the pond, from Cadbury chocolates to Tayto Crisps to Irish teas. The patio hosts Irish music in the afternoon and evening hours for a little fun for the whole family. Tables are widely spaced and the bathrooms are large and clean. Mrs. Murphy's also makes a variety of fun flavored sodas in-house for kids and moms-to-be. (I may have had a few of these while the rest of my friends and husband sampled from the variety of Irish and local taps while I was pregnant.)
Twisted Spoke—River West
This rooftop beer garden overlooks the Loop skyline, giving kids something to admire while they eat. The menu here is basic, featuring "tall boy" double-decker burgers and Cajun and Tex-Mex favorites. For kids, the popcorn and bacon appetizer (it involves a caramel glaze) is a big winner. Weekly jazz brunches also give families something different to do while enjoying a beverage—including any of the 20 beers on tap that can also be taken to go in 32-ounce growlers.
Gene's Sausage Shop Rooftop—Lincoln Square
While this Lincoln Square standby also hasn't announced a reopening date, we can't wait to get back to the variety of European sausages and beers it offers. Kids can enjoy hot dogs and giant pretzels with a great view of the German neighborhood from high in the sky. Garden planters lining the rooftop deck grow the vegetables used at the restaurant. The grocery store downstairs has a great selection of European treats, including a wider variety of Haribo than you'll find outside of Germany.
Fuel has a family-friendly patio with cool kid amenities.
Best Suburban Beer Gardens & Breweries for Families
Elmhurst Brewing Company—Elmhurst
Pre-pandemic, this West Suburban brewery had a play area for kids complete with a toy grill, train table, board games, and more, and we are really hoping it'll be back soon! In the meantime, there are bags set up for patio play and some board games available, along with a delicious kids' menu that includes fruit and fries on the side. It's located close to the Elmhurst Metra Station on the Union Pacific West Line and is part of a family-friendly downtown area.
Two Brothers Roundhouse—Aurora
Do you have a little train lover who wants to see where the trains used to live? You can still see the railroad ties and big archways engines used to drive through inside the round center courtyard at Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora. Take the Metra to the end of the BNSF line and walk to the West Suburban brewery. The kids' menu includes elevated standards with a choice of sides that allows kids to have a veggie or fruit instead of fries. The Roundhouse is huge, with a central gazebo for concerts and grassy areas for lawn seating. Two Brothers also roasts its own coffee in this facility, in case you need a pick me up. Bathrooms are plentiful and clean, and you can stop by Chicago Premium Outlets for some discount shopping before or after a drink.
Half the fun is getting to Fuel (and its neighboring ice cream stand Creme). Located just west of Route 83 along the Illinois Prairie Path, the best way to get there is by bike or on foot (time to break out the jogging stroller!). Fuel has many high-end craft beers on tap, and in bottles and cans, and makes a variety of fun cocktails with or without the ice cream from Creme. The shared Fuel/Creme patio usually hosts a food truck that changes periodically. The view may change with the seasons, but the people watching along the Prairie Path can't be beat.
5 Rabbits Cerveceria—Bedford Park
Taco Thursdays, Mexican art, live music, and Rick Bayless: What's not to like about this Bedford Park brewery? The famed family-friendly chef behind Frontera Grill created this brewery to complement the flavors in his food, so many of the beers are light and summery. Food isn't available at the taproom every day, but families are welcome to order in from local restaurants. Kids can enjoy a Jarritos soda and explore the music and art on display in the grassy garden.
Pollyanna Brewing—Lemont, Roselle, and St. Charles
This Southwest Suburban brewery has been quickly expanding from its original Lemont location with fabulous views of the canal to include two new spots in Roselle and St. Charles. Every location welcomes kids to join in the fun of live music and food trucks (which mostly appear from 5 to 8pm) while grown-ups enjoy a variety of rotating beers. (The raspberry-loaded Summerly and lemon Full Lemonty are outstanding.)
Favorite Beer Gardens We Hope Will Reopen Soon
Skeleton Key Brewery—Woodridge
This West Suburban brewery had just signed a lease to occupy more space before the pandemic and had recently reopened before a tornado partially demolished the building on June 20, 2021. As Skeleton Key rebuilds, beer lovers may want to periodically check the brewery's Square site to see if they can pick up beer to go or Skeleton Key apparel that survived the storm.
Lagunitas Brewing Company—Douglas Park
With a focus on fun, the Lagunitas Taproom hosted game nights for families and friends to test unreleased board games and something called Beer Circus, which sounds a lot like our neighborhood block party. Kid-friendly menu items like giant pretzels (with or without ice cream on top), BLTs, grilled cheese, and burgers go well with the live music and art in the venue. Lagunitas closed its doors on March 13, 2020, along with the rest of the city, but it is planning to reopen soon and will announce the date on its social media pages and website.
Photos by the author
Places featured in this article:
Gene's Sausage Shop
Lagunitas Chicago Tap Room
Old Irving Brewing Co.
Eris Brewery and Cider House
Mrs. Murphy's Irish Bistro
Elmhurst Brewing Company
Fuel Villa Park
Two Brothers Roundhouse
5 Rabbits Cerveceria
Pollyanna Brewing Lemont
Pollyanna Brewing Roselle
Pollyanna Brewing St. Charles