If you're looking for a new spot to grab your morning coffee or merely want to enjoy brunch in peace, these kid-friendly restaurants can't be beat. At these Brooklyn and Queens cafes you will find a welcoming environment, great food, and a caffeine jolt, as well as dedicated and safe play areas for your kids. Several of them are actually play spaces first, and cafes second.
So turn your meal into a play date with a friend, or just sit back and take some well-deserved breathing space. Either way, both you and your kids are sure to have a good time.
Check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for more great eateries, or our Play Spaces Guide for more romper rooms.
The City Owlets space is filled with imaginary play for kids and coffee for parents.
City Owlets — Long Island City, Queens
This popular LIC play cafe offers multiple play areas, each overflowing with imaginative toys, from cars and trucks to dress-up and a play kitchen. There's even an outdoor space stocked with more playthings in warm weather. Parents can partake in the espresso bar and snacks menu, as well as a full roster of kids' and mommy-and-me classes. Snacks are geared toward kids with pouches, fruit snacks, string cheese, yogurt, and such on the menu.
The Coop keeps kids busy while you relax with a full brunch.
The Coop — Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
The Coop is a scrumptious new cafe with a large dedicated play area and even children's programming and parent meet-ups. A gated space in the back offers both outdoor and indoor areas full of wooden and plastic, baby-safe toys. The Coop boasts more than just good lattes; all food served here is allergen-free and freshly made in the kitchen (even the jam). Burrata on a ciabatta with pesto and tomatoes, anyone? It hosts a number of community events, too.
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Kids can play indoors or at the outdoor play shed in good weather at Elk Cafe. Photo by Shira Kronzon
Elk Cafe — Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
Elk Cafe infuses some elegance into your afternoon tea or Stumptown brew, with a stylish and clean decor and an amazing backyard. Instead of a small kids corner, children get an entire shed in the backyard. With a small clubhouse feel, the play shed offers a shaded spot to sit and relax, as well as kinetic and educational toys, including a rocking horse, er, rocking elk. Enjoy a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich at breakfast, ham and Fontina or roasted eggplant sandwich at lunch while the kids scarf down the homemade macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese.
Fairytale Island is bright and airy and offers a cafe full of treats.
Fairytale Island — Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
This brand-new play space puts the emphasis on play over food, but it does possess a full cafe dishing up standard kid fare like pizza and ice cream, as well as lighter lunch options and smoothies. Kids will love the ball pit, indoor playground, and more, and parents will love the ease of combining lunch with playtime.
Georges-Andre Vintage Cafe — Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
This French vintage cafe has great drinks and plenty of charm. The small toy kitchen and enclosed play area for kids was originally set up for the owner's son, but now is open to all toddlers and babies. The cafe sports fresh-baked goods, healthy drinks and eats for kids and parents, and a welcoming local atmosphere. Ask the owner or a staff member about planned kid events or the owner's other location, the SuperFrench Studio.
Yummy breakfasts are a major draw at Good Day Play Cafe.
Good Day Play Cafe — Bayside, Queens
This sweet play cafe in Queens is modeled after Korean play spaces. It offers plenty of bespoke wooden and other all-natural playthings, including a mini climbing wall, playground, and a Hinoki cypress wood cube pit. The cafe portion takes up half the space and serves up coffee, soups, sandwiches, tea, and smoothies. There's even FREE Wi-Fi. Please note that it is closed on Sundays, and often for certain hours on Saturdays for private parties.
Lark Cafe — Flatbush, Brooklyn
Nosh on a salted chocolate chip cookie with a side of Stumptown, grab a scone, or step up to the heartier lunch options like a pesto chicken sandwich at this popular neighborhood spot. Lark sets aside a playroom for kids and babies, making it a favorite with local parents. The room is separated from the rest of the cafe by a sliding glass door and comes equipped with bright toys and lounge pillows. The cafe hosts regular children's events and classes, too. Bonus: The cafe also serves beer and wine. We paid Lark a visit a while back; read our impressions here.
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The Jitterbug play area offers kids carefree recreational time at Gratitude Cafe. Photo courtesy of the cafe.
PLG Coffee House and Tavern, aka Gratitude Cafe — Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn
PLG, or Gratitude Cafe, is a cozy local bistro offering drinks, breakfast, and brunch, as well as a special children's sandwich menu. Kids can stop by the Jitterbug play area, a partially enclosed spot for tots with a selection of toys for little hands. Parents will enjoy the emphasis on organic ingredients, coffee beans from local roaster Kitten Coffee, and healthy options like a veggie avocado wrap and salads. Gratitude gained a beer and wine license not long ago, adding draft taps and wines by the glass. They also added an outdoor patio. Meet us at happy hour?
Sunnyside Plays — Sunnyside, Queens
Kids will love the indoor playground, toys, climbing tunnel, and more fun provided in a bright, airy room at Sunnyside Plays. Parents can relax in the cafe with coffee or tea, or give kids a lunch break with quick bites like ramen and mac and cheese and snacks like applesauce and juice. The play space also encourages visitors to order from nearby restaurants and eat right in their cafe while keeping an eye on the kids. Classes and special events, including a Friday "toddler" happy hour, are appreciated by locals. Parents can enjoy wine and beer until 8pm, while kids partake in open play. Adults-only classes are also available at select times, from exercise sessions to sip and paints.
Top photo: In the "sand" box at Good Day Play Cafe. Photo by Kelly O.
A version of this article first published in 2016, but it has since been updated.