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When you had kids, you stopped liking beer, right? Yeah, me neither. Fortunately, Detroit has some great family-friendly breweries and restaurants that will keep everyone happy. This short list only includes places that achieve the trifecta: great beer, good food options, and a welcoming atmosphere for families with babies and little kids. (Kiddos are allowed most places; this list highlights places that go out of their way to welcome kids and their frazzled parents with genuine warmth and kindness.) There are lots of other places to grab a beer in and around the city, but these are the ones that never fail to check all the boxes for every member of my family. Cheers!
Batch Brewing Company // Corktown
I’m not sure how some local breweries or bars would feel about being officially dubbed “family friendly,” but I know Batch has embraced that label from the beginning. I know that because one of the co-owners stopped by my table to tell me so when my husband and I first checked it out with our then-toddler son. The bright space with communal tables (and outdoor seating in warmer months) offers board games, high chairs, and kid-friendly menu items like soft pretzels and flavored sodas. There’s also a changing table. In terms of quality of beer (excellent) and quality of food (just as good), Batch is a place I always feel comfortable recommending to friends with kids.
Jolly Pumpkin // Midtown
Jolly Pumpkin makes the best sour beers, hands down, so it’s a frequent destination for us. Luckily, they also have a kids’ menu (complete with word games and crayons—bless them) and shared tables that make it easy to bring our son along. Upon arriving, you order and pay at the counter and then sit down wherever you find a table. This makes it easy to get in and get out on your own schedule (or when your kid starts melting down, like your kid might…I definitely wouldn’t know). It’s also in a great location, with tons of local shops to explore and a dog park at the end of the street.
The Villages Bier and Winegarten // West Village
This outdoor spot is only open on select weekends in the summer through the end of October, but when it’s open it’s one of the best places to grab a drink with the whole family in tow. (Keep an eye on the Facebook page for hours and events.) In addition to a changing selection of both beer and wine, there’s plenty of room for kids to run around, a bocce court in the back, and sometimes live music. You can bring your own snacks, but there are usually some great food truck options too.
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company // Warren, MI
It’s not in Detroit, but Kuhnhenn is worth the short drive. We’ve been grabbing a bag of Legos and markers and carting our son over to Kuhnhenn since he was tiny. The staff is extremely friendly and welcoming, and the beer is always great (especially the DRIPA, their double rice IPA). The free popcorn and house-made root beer are big plusses for our son, as are the huge tables that make it easy to spread out. There are no high chairs, but when our son was small we brought a portable booster with straps and secured him to the tall chairs. Worked like a charm. There’s a small selection of food in-house, but they also allow you to bring in any takeout you want. And there are lots of TVs, so it’s a great place to go on game days.
In terms of restaurants, Slows and Mudgie’s are your best bets in the city if you want both excellent beer options and a family-friendly atmosphere. Both places get extremely crowded at peak hours, which can make for long lines, cranky kids, and desperate parents. But at slower times (like 11am) they work really well for families. Slows’ food is perfect for kids (great mac and cheese and mashed sweet potatoes to name a few options), and Mudgie’s has a kids’ menu with delicious peanut butter sandwich varieties and grilled cheese. Both have high chairs. More importantly, Mudgie’s beverage list includes over 100 beers, many of which are hard to find around here.
If you want to venture out a bit, One-Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale also has a great beer list and big menu (including a tasty weekend brunch). The huge space includes a lot of old school arcade games, which make the sometimes lengthy wait tolerable for kids, and the staff is friendly and accommodating.
Bekah Page-Gourley is an attorney and contributing writer for LittleGuide Detroit. She lives with her husband, Jason, and son Isaac, in Lafayette Park, Detroit. They love experiencing the city’s growth, hosting visitors and talking about Detroit’s virtues with anyone who will listen. Bekah and her family love going to Detroit City Football Club and Tigers games, Eastern Market, the Riverfront, and Downtown.