After a long week of parenting, there’s nothing more rejuvenating to me than sitting outside in sunny California gorgeousness and tossing back a cold beer and pretzel while my toddler runs around like a maniac. If our recent review of family friendly wineries sounds great but too far, a kid-friendly brewery in town may be just the ticket. Here's a list of inviting places in the Los Angeles area to drink outside with the kiddos, ranging from super traditional German beer gardens to family-friendly brewpubs with outdoor spaces.
1. The Pub at Golden Road Brewing
Truly the apex of the California Beer Garden, this Glendale pub has it all—from tasty microbrews crafted just feet away (Wolfpup is a yummy, sunny-day beer) to a delicious food menu packed with vegan options (deep-fried avocado tacos for starters). Golden Road just opened a few years ago, but most weekends its massive space is packed with families. There are TVs for those who like to watch sports and plenty of kid-friendly lawn games and toys/ blocks. Bonus for kids obsessed with trains: it's right off the tracks, so tons of Amtrak and Metro trains fly by.
There's room to play at Pie N Cone. Photo by Mike Anderson
2. Pie N Cone
Not technically a beer garden, but the patio and kids' areas at Pie N Cone are so good I couldn’t resist mentioning this Eagle Rock gem. The namesake pizzas and ice cream are scrumptious; I particularly recommend the Green Thumb. It has a well-curated beer list featuring some of SoCal’s best microbreweries: Made West, Artifex, Port Brewing, and Smog City, just to name a few. And Pie N Cone has a covered patio for kids that has an actual play area—a little house, toys, and books.
Per the pub's website, a hinterhof is a communal outdoor space “used for play areas, cookouts, and hangouts. Where mothers hang laundry and fathers drink beer or vise versa.” Hinterhof has brought that tradition from Berlin to Highland Park. With a focus on vegan German food, it has a plant-based version of everything from schnitzel to pretzels, and even a “for the kinder” option to make anything into a kid-sized portion. The feeling of community and attention to detail in the food make this a special place to bring the family and enjoy a classic German brew.
Arguably the most traditional Deutschland style beer garden on the list, this Hollywood fave has spaetzle, an entire menu section devoted to schnitzel, and a long list of German import beers, which can even be served in that big weird boot you've seen on TV. Bonus points for ping pong tables and for also being dog friendly, so you really can bring the whole family to join in the fun.
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Photo courtesy of Rasselbock Kitchen & Beer Garden
5. Rasselbock Kitchen and Beer Garden
A Long Beach location from the same German parent company as Wirsthaus, this garden has a lot of the same spirit and offerings as the La Brea location. Enjoy sausages made with elk or duck, and make sure to finish off with the famous apple strudel.
6. Dog Haus Biergarten
This Old Town Pasadena favorite has expanded to a ton of franchises across the country. The original location has a lovely namesake biergarten, filled with games for kids (which is much better than the sports bar style inside). And of course, it has very fun, silly versions of hot dogs, sliders, and more, all served on King's Hawaiian rolls—which are so delicious you'll wonder why you ever used anything else.
7. Rock & Brews
The El Segundo location has a grandiose garden seating area to soak in that ocean breeze. What this place lacks in quiet subtlety it makes up for by being a fun, loud, over-the-top gastropub with a truly next level tap list of hard-to-find microbrews, like SoCal stalwarts Beachwood BBQ, King Harbor, and Chapman, as well as farther flung favorites like Lord Hobo. The menu is filled with fun comfort classics (I physically cannot have enough jalapeño poppers), so if your little rocker wants to headbang to Aerosmith in concert-style lighting while watching TVs lit up with games and classic rock shows, this is the spot.
Photo courtesy of Brouwerij West
8. Brouwerij West
One of the hottest new breweries in Southern California also has a 15,000-square-foot outdoor area at its tasting room, and according to the website welcomes kids "happily." The outdoor area is so big that often kids are riding scooters and bikes. There are always food trucks, and it's walking distance to the San Pedro Harbor, so start practicing how to pronounce it (It's "Brewery"), and go down to enjoy a Picnic Lightning or a Tahiti Substation—two of my favorite beers I've had in a while.
9. Boomtown Brewery
All right, I'm stretching my beer garden definition just a bit, because this DTLA place rules for kids... sometimes. It does have a patio, so there is outdoor space, but the main feature is the massive indoor space featuring shuffleboard, darts, ping pong, and more. There's no kitchen, but there are cool food trucks parked outside Thursday through Sunday (see website for food truck schedules). Kids are allowed until 10pm. While Yelp reviews check that this brewery is "not good for kids," I'd argue otherwise. I wouldn't necessarily bring the tots on a Friday night (that goes for everything on this list, obviously), but Boomtown has tons of fun family events. My little one and I recently attended a family day that was a blast. There was a bounce house, a petting zoo complete with a llama, arts and crafts areas, and a whole lot more. In addition to the usual amazing beer line-up, there were homemade agua frescas for the children, and the place was packed with kids of all ages. Boomtown does this sort of thing a lot, so keep an eye on its event calendar.
So now that those weeks of chilly rain are finally behind us, and we are back to being spoiled by California sunshine, go enjoy it and some suds with your whole family! Note: If you're going to be drinking, BE RESPONSIBLE. Take public transit or a car service like Lyft to and from your destination. Even if you're not drinking, taking public transit will cut down on parking frustrations and help save the planet. Take your kid on a train/ bus adventure!