Timeout New York Kids

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Beer gardens in NYC

We investigate the kid-friendliness of local Biergartens.

  • Loreley Williamsburg

  • Loreley Williamsburg

  • Loreley Williamsburg

  • Der Schwarze Klner

  • Der Schwarze Klner

  • Der Schwarze Klner

Loreley Williamsburg

Photographs: David Rosenzweig

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
Befitting tradition, kids—even noisy ones—are quite welcome at the 100-year-old beer garden: On a recent Monday at suppertime, we spotted several enjoying the warm evening amid massive trees, spirea shrubs and table umbrellas. Airplanes flew overhead, and a blues band tuned their guitars onstage. My seven-year-old son, Henry, hollered into the cell phone to his father and no one glanced our way. There was no line for sausages at the grill, but we opted for wait service and sampled goulash, dumplings, roast pork and sauerkraut. While I relaxed in Bohemia with my BrouCzech dark, one of 15 beers on tap, Henry absconded to Africa in the front bar, bagging (in his imagination) more than 100 animals on a broken safari video game. 29-19 24th Ave between 29th and 31st Sts, Astoria, Queens (718-274-4925, bohemianhall.com). Tykes out by: 9pm.—Sarah Shey

Der Schwarze Klner
Seeking a place to rest our weary bones (well, mine) after some strenuous playground activity, my two-year-old daughter, Tillie, and I found refuge at this Fort Greene watering hole. The setup is nontraditional—sidewalk seating rather than a back garden—but the beer hall's owners, themselves new parents, make families feel welcome. When we arrived, a couple and their newborn were seated outside. Several other kids were playing in the vast indoor space, which is divvied up by communal tables. I settled in at one with an Einbecker pilsner and a bratwurst, and kept a soft Brezel handy for Tillie, who scampered off to make some new friends. 710 Fulton St at South Oxford St, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (347-841-4495, ex49.com/dsk). Tykes out by: 9pm.—Van Sias

Franklin Park
How family-friendly is this hip Prospect Heights joint, you ask? When my five-year-old, Hannah, and I stepped through the iron gates, we were immediately greeted by Mickey Mouse balloons, plates of uneaten cake and other remnants of another kid's birthday party. The spacious front courtyard accommodates both sugar-fueled children and chillin' Sunday afternoon drinkers with plenty of room to spare, but we opted for a booth in the cozy bar annex out back. The draught selection covers everything from Irish stouts and Belgian ales to local favorites; Hannah suggested I get a Sixpoint Sweet Action "because it has sweet in the title, Daddy!" Though there's no food menu, the bar will happily let you bring in food from Dutch Boy Burger around the corner; when we asked about a kids' curfew, a patron made Hannah giggle by replying "4am...You don't have to go home, kid, but you can't stay here." (For the record, most parents take their kids home by 9pm to avoid the heavy-smoker crowd.) After enjoying her ginger ale, Hannah told the bartender, "I'll be back." His nod to her said it all: There goes a regular. 618 St. Johns Pl between Classon and Franklin Aves, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-975-0196, franklinparkbrooklyn.com). Tykes out by: use your discretion.—David Fear

Loreley Williamsburg
Almost hidden beneath the BQE, Loreley is an oasis of fluttering umbrellas and frosty steins, its pebbled Biergarten frothing with every cool person in a ten-mile radius. Undaunted, we arrived with Nathan, our hungry 21-month-old toddler, on the verge of a meltdown. There was no highchair, but the hostess found us a no-smoking table with room to stash the stroller nearby. Our beers and brats arrived with swift German efficiency: delicate Nrnberger sausage and juicy Frikadellen (pork meatballs) scored big with our little Biergrtner; the too-crispy skinny frites, not so much. We downed spicy Schneider-Weisse and rich Spaten Ur-Mrzen beers, happy that Nathan's squeals raised no eyebrows. He did, however, elicit some indulgent smiles when he clinked our glasses with his sippy cup and said, "Cheers!" 64 Frost St at Meeker Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-0025, loreleynyc.com). Tykes out by: use your discretion.—Clare Lambe

Mission Dolores
Just because this brand-new beer garden has become an oasis for Park Slope parents looking for a break doesn't mean it's a great place to bring kids; during weekends and peak hours, the former auto garage is packed to capacity and hardly the place for a hyperactive tot. Still, if you go early during a weekday—like five-year-old Hannah and I did—you'll find the outdoor area is a perfect place to while away an afternoon. I appreciated the eclectically curated, ever-changing beer selection—Aventinus and Lagunitas on tap? Bless you, hops deities!—while Hannah became obsessed with the two pinball machines tucked away in the back bar area. One drink and a half-dozen games later, my daughter had mastered the art of the flipper-to-bumper maneuver. As for me, I was planning another visit for my next "dad's day off." 249 Fourth Ave between Carroll and President Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-399-0099, missiondoloresbar.com).Tykes out by: 8pm.—DF

Spuyten Duyvil
We felt mighty conspicuous when we arrived, late in the afternoon, at this fine-ale temple. A frosty hush descended and our babbling toddler, Nathan, got the stink-eye from several bohos lining the bar, but we gamely pushed on into the great outdoors. The huge garden is framed by ivy-covered walls and dotted with a hodgepodge of chairs and tables—each of which has an ashtray. It was simple enough to nab a spot where the neighbors weren't smoking, but the butt-strewn ground compelled us to keep our curious tyke in his stroller. The beer-pairing menu (cured meats, pungent cheeses) wasn't Nathan-friendly, so he hit his snack cup while my husband went inside to score some beers. And what beers they were: The Dieu du Ciel Pch Mortel was a rich, coffee-inflected stout, and my lemony, mineral-y Berliner Weisse was simply the finest hot-day quaff ever. We plan to return soon—without the kidlet. 359 Metropolitan Ave at Havemeyer St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-4140, spuytenduyvilnyc.com). Tykes out by: use your discretion.—CL

Studio Square
The ingenue to Bohemian Hall's grande dame, Studio Square turned a year old in May 2010. Its sprawling, 30,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor space—with teardrop light fixtures in the sheltered bar area and polished-wood chairs and walls—is a pleasure to inhabit for as long as you can keep the kids occupied; on-sale goodies like playing cards and dominoes help with this aim. Seven-year-old Henry was in the minority on a Friday afternoon, and the bouncer was clear about my son's impending exit time. Otherwise, the staff was accommodating, as is the menu: everything from jumbo pretzels and brats to cheese nachos, sushi (!) and mini cupcakes. Eighteen beers, including Bear Republic Brewing Co's Racer 5 IPA, are on tap— and should keep thirsty parents very, very happy. 35-33 36th St between 35th and 36th Aves, Long Island City, Queens (718-383-1001, studiosquarenyc.com). Tykes out by: 8pm.—SS

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