Did you think that parenthood means you have to stop going out for the sole purpose of drinking? That kind of defeatist attitude is for amateurs.
Getting a babysitter increases the cost of drinking 50-85% on average in Orange County. That’s a made-up statistic but it doesn’t mean you should overpay for beer.
That’s why professionals bring their kids out drinking with them. It’s illegal at bars, so forget about those. Let’s talk about the best safe haven for imbibing with kids in tow.
Your local craft brewery.
South County comes correct, too—Artifex, Left Coast, and Pizza Port in San Clemente; go up the coast to Newport Beach Brewing Company and Barley Forge in Costa Mesa; further to Four Sons and Riip Beer Company in HB—there are too many to list. Look here instead for that.
You can bring the kids to these Tasting Rooms, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. There’s unwritten etiquette at play. Here’s an attempt at codifying acceptable parent behavior at your local brewery.
Observe a two child minimum. Kids get bored without other kids. Bored kids are bad news. Tell other adults you come with to bring one of their own.
Strangers will talk to your kids. This is OK. Chatting is what people do at a tav—er, tasting room. If that makes you squeamish stay home.
Come during daylight hours. Everything is more chill when the sun is up—the crowds, the kids, the attitudes about children in a drinking establishment. Know your time, know your place.
Expect to get a few looks. The disdain of the childless is real. They think you’re on their turf. Another thing you won’t understand until you’re a parent. Brush them off.
This isn’t a playground. No tear-assing around the patio; no climbing gates and terraces and whatever else is around. Don’t forget this.
Bring some entertainment. Games and toys are critical for staving off child boredom. Code red situations may require busting out an iPad or a Crossy Road-enabled smartphone.
Bar games are for grownups. Some places have bean bag toss and giant Jenga. It’s fine to play a round or two with the kiddies, but yield to other patrons after that.
Know their limits. Parents know what cues for tiredness, boredom, hunger and temper look like. You know how you give them “five more minutes” at the park? Here’s where you reciprocate.
Know your limits. It should go without saying, but tasty craft beer is a little sneaky with the ABV. Take it slow and stick to a one-to-one beer/water ratio to be safe.
Stick to these behaviors and you’ll be drinking easy mom-and-dad style. There are few better places for this than good ol’ Orange County.
Lille and Adam are recovering hipsters navigating parenthood, the fear of living past 30, and the 5/55/91 freeways. They have a 5-year-old and an almost-one-year