For all of you hardworking Fathers, Papas, and Dads out there, you deserve a drink!  It’s Father’s Day after all.  But you can’t always leave the kids at home, so why not find a place where you can relax AND the kids can have a good time, you can even show them a good time by caring them around with the push cars for toddlers.  Luckily Minnesota is a host to a BUNCH of family friendly taprooms that serves your favorite beer, and offers you a fun experience for the whole family.

So for this Father’s Day pack up your extra nappies, your snacks, and extra wipes and head out to one of these GREAT taprooms.

Okay before we get into our Father’s Day taprooms let me introduce you to my two little helpers, my boys Leo (age 2) and Felix (age 5):

This was a really fun adventure for us, and we all had a GREAT time, with minimal meltdowns.  Felix especially got into the whole thing with helping me test these taprooms “family friendliness”.

Now onto our taprooms.  For each of these I gave the taproom a letter grade based on this family friendly criteria:

  • Room to run
  • Activities for kids
  • Outdoor Space
  • Regular Access to Food/Kid Friendly Drinks
  • Staff Friendliness
  • Changing Station in the Men’s Room, I’m only giving out an A or A+ to a brewery if they meet this requirement!

We only have so much time before meltdowns occur but we made it to six breweries.  If you think we missed a GREAT family outing, let us know in the comments. We will hit up your suggestions in the future and put them to the Felix/Leo test!

NorthGate Brewing:  B+

Northgate Foosball

Pros:  First off, we had a lot of friendly staff on our trip, but the staff at NorthGate took the cake!  They gave us the attention we needed, and even stopped to chat with me and the boys about what we were up to.  Food trucks regularly service here.  They have a small patio seating area, and a couple of wide open spaces in the tap room for happy feet!  They also served a local soda made by Minnesoda,  a great way to start your youngins off on drinking locally made stuff.  Also NorthGate is packing a ton of games that you and the whole family can enjoy. Plus they have a Foosball table that the kids really enjoyed playing with!

Cons:  First off is the biggie, no changing tables, at least not in the Men’s room.  Also we were fortunate enough to have come during a slower time.  Had this place been packed it might have been a little harder to navigate with the young ones.  However, it still would have been manageable.

This Place is Great For:  With this atmosphere the place would be great for most families.  I believe those with older kids (10 – 18) would benefit most from NorthGate’s British Pub feel accompanied by a ton of geeky games!

Urban Growler:  A

Pros:  Large indoor space, large outdoor (and contained) space, great kids menu/offerings, changing tables, and more.  The built in food is a huge plus too.  I’m not factoring that into the grade as most taprooms don’t serve food, but it was a nice stop so the kids could snack on some fries.  There was plenty of space between tables for the kids to dart around and not be in everyone’s way.  Staff was reasonably friendly and accommodating to our needs.  They also had easy water access that my boys could get to, without getting into too much trouble.

Cons:  I’m really nitpicking here to find cons, because there weren’t many things that went wrong here.  The only one that stood out was that I had to ask for ketchup for our fries, because you know, kids expect it.  But really that’s about it!

This Place Is Great For:  If you have a family, this is a place to go for all ages of kids!

 Bad Weather:  A-

bad weather brewing

Pros:  First off, changing tables in the Men’s room!  Next they had the best “family friendly” food trucks of all the breweries we visited that day.  One truck was ice cream, they other Mac n’ Cheese dishes!  Double Win!  They also had two of their own homemade sodas on tap.  They had a great patio area, and lots of room to run around.  Their arcade was icing on the cake for the boys and they enjoyed running back and forth watching all the displays and lights.  This place was a little more crowded, and was our first stop with other kids present which the boys enjoyed playing with.

Cons:  The tables were a little tighter together, making navigating to the bathroom a little trickier.  Also, the patio is REALLY close to a busy parking lot which is next to some pretty major streets.  Not ideal for really young toddlers, but manageable if you’re there with a partner, or you have older kids who can stay put.

This Place is Great For:  Most families will find this to be an enjoyable taproom to visit, but those with kids 7 to 13 will get a little more bang for their buck here!

Flat Earth:  B

Pros:  Next up on our Father’s Day adventure we land at Flat Earth in St. Paul.  Now this place had potential to be an A+ place, but fell short in several places that we will discuss below.  But there were food trucks on hand, BIG spaces with a large N64 being projected onto the screen.  The parking lot was big and open and easy to corral the kids.  There was a large kids area too.  Flat Earth offered a couple of house sodas for the kids as well.  They also had an outdoor area with some games.  Space wise this place was perfect.

Cons:  Okay, what was up with the croquet mallets near the kids area?  Once Leo found those it was off to the races to catch him to take them away, and he banged on everything he could swing at before I could get to him.  Also how their taproom was split up meant I had to drag (and I mean that literally) the kids away from the toy area to order a drink on the other side of the wall, or leave them there and trust that they didn’t bother any other patrons.  Easier to navigate when with a partner, but I wasn’t, and I noticed!  Also they did not have a changing table in the men’s room.

This Place is Great For:  Despite the lack of changing table, this is still one of the best places for toddlers.  All the divided areas makes it so that a parent doesn’t feel like they are irking ALL of the patrons at once, and the kids activities are perfect!

Summit:  B

Father's Day at Summit

Pros:  Summit had a really cool outdoor patio area that was wide open, and had a bean bag toss game.  They had 1919 root beer on tap.  You could also order food to be delivered to the tap room.  They had a changing table in the Men’s room.  The environment was super clean, and they also had a shelf full of family friendly games.

Cons:  We were there during some trivia game, so it was really hard to be in the indoor part of the taproom, especially if the kids decided to be loud.  This was also the place where the service was the least amount of help.  They poured beer, and nothing else.  That in and of itself is not a bad thing, it just didn’t promote a more family friendly environment.  The young lady in the gift shop barely put her book down when Leo ran into the room.

This Place is Great For:  If the weather is nice, you can’t beat the patio here!  Also if you are one of those parents who use a bottle or Purell on a daily basis will enjoy the cleanliness.

Lake Monster:  A

Lake Monster Kid's Area

Pros:  This is by far one of the most kid friendly tap rooms in the Twin Cities.  A good portion of the taproom is dedicated as a kids area (see above).  They also have a shelf full of board games for older kids.  The bathrooms include a changing table, and there are plenty of kid friendly beverage choices for one to choose from.  The space is large with plenty of area between tables.  They also have a large patio area, and a large section for playing bean bags.  There is something here for every type of parent who is toting there kid along for a good time!  There are also regular food trucks, and they keep a binder of places that deliver food behind the bar for those looking to eat.  Most of all this place is clean, and is decorated in a way that would appeal to all ages.

Cons:  The only real con here are the stools in doors.  They are tall metal stools with no backs.  They are not ideal for kids, but the patio and kids area do offer more kid friendly seating choices.

This Place is Great For:  Any parent will enjoy bringing their kids here.  Hands down one of the best family oriented taprooms in the Twin Cities.

So that’s all for this installment.  Did you agree with our list?  Were there any we missed?  If so leave us a comment and we will check it out in a future installment.  Until then, grab your kids for a Father’s Day night on the town, and raise your glasses:  Prost!