Kids playground at Station Hotel.
Photograph: Supplied / Station Hotel

The best kid-friendly pubs in Melbourne

Parenting and pubs go together like parmas and chips at these child-friendly establishments

Rose JohnstoneAdena Maier
Contributor: Adena Maier
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Forget about calling a babysitter, because we've rounded up the best spots that guarantee good times for punters of all ages. These pubs have warm, safe atmospheres, tasty menus for you and the little ones, and all the high chairs you'd ever need. Feast on hearty parmas, juicy burgers and belly-warming roasts while your little ones enjoy tot-sized versions of pub classics. Everything's sorted, so all you have to do is rock up, family in tow, and settle in for the arvo. 

For more insight into Melbourne's best kids' activities, browse our best activities for kids and our top toy stores.

The best family friendly pubs in Melbourne

  • Hawthorn

Next time you pop into the Auburn, you might barely even recognise the place. The local Hawthorn community has been gifted with a multi-million-dollar expansion to their favourite watering hole, with a new atrium-style dining hub within the adjacent Regan Motors site, kids' playground and extensive beer garden additions. Treat yourself to dinner and drinks and let the kids run amok, and there's also a dedicated kids menu to keep them happy. Don't forget a mini ice cream sandwich for dessert!

 

  • Pub dining
  • Prahran

It’s all about the bright, beautiful atrium at this Prahran favourite. Prams flank the space as parents enjoy one of the tastier parmas in town, while kids can indulge in their fave pub dishes like fish and chips, burgers and there's even a mini chicken salad. On Tuesdays, it's 'Parmas and Pups' night so can bring your furry friend along with kids and grab a parma for just $20! Oh and from 4pm to 6pm every weekday, the Flying Duck has 'Duck Daycare', a two-hour slot where kids eat entirely for free. 

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  • Brunswick
Edinburgh Castle Hotel
Edinburgh Castle Hotel

In 2014, we awarded this Brunswick institution the Family-Friendly Award at our Pub Awards. Three years on, nothing has changed: this community pub welcomes punters of all ages, even offering a special kids menu, featuring chicken tenders and chippies, fish and chips, pizza, pasta and a chocolate sauce-topped vanilla ice cream for dessert. So whether you’re coming for Monday’s $29.99 'roo and wine' deal or Tuesday's two-for-one pizzas, you can be sure there'll be plenty for the littles ones to enjoy.

  • Thornbury
Croxton Park Hotel
Croxton Park Hotel

Watch little ones’ eyes light up at the site of the Croxton Park Hotel’s sprawling indoor playground; the biggest, we reckon, in the inner northern suburbs. What’s more, this Thornbury pub offers kids a free soft drink and dessert with their meal, which could be a hearty bowl of spag bol, a mini cheeseburger with chips or any of the other kids' options on offer. For extra brownie points on the nostalgia front, you can treat your kids to an old-school "frog in a pond" Freddo and fruit jelly dessert.

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  • Footscray
The Plough Hotel
The Plough Hotel

Even on a Tuesday, this vivacious pub is packed – and loud. Bluegrass tracks mix with the babble of big groups working on a hump day hangover with bottles of local Riesling. At the long bar you might see solo diners bashing out work on their laptop and picking at a ploughman’s board loaded with stripy capicola, big chunks of cheddar and a whole quarter onion, pickled. But there are also under-fives chewing a sausage pizza in their pyjamas. It’s nice here, but not so formal you’ll have to gag the kids or leave them at home. They even do mini versions of fish and chips and parmas. 

  • Breweries
  • Collingwood
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

“Love all, serve all” is the motto of the once-ubiquitous Hard Rock Cafes, but it has found its modern incarnation in the rambunctious Stomping Ground beer hall. Inspired by the cavernous European beer halls, but reimagined as a community hub, on any given night you'll find the converted warehouse packed with beer lovers and dog lovers, trestle tables jammed full of families and couples huddled in a corner booth. There's a kids menu with gourmet ham and cheese toasties and more, while the adults can enjoy a meal and a brew from the 30-odd taps on offer.

 

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  • Pubs
  • South Melbourne
  • price 2 of 4

First and foremost, the Palace is made for regulars. It has a community atmosphere that’s hard to find these days, as most pubs have become either sad old boozers or too bright and trendy. Not so here, where the crowd is diverse in age and employment, kids are welcome, and the big shady beer garden is proudly pooch positive. Grab the kids and head over for live music, a good feed and some time in the sun. 

  • Footscray
  • price 1 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Pub fans of the west love the Station for its friendly, relaxed atmosphere, great craft beer and wine lists, and its famous steaks. Locals and steak aficionados can select from a menu that offers premium grain- and grass-fed steaks from Australian beef, and it's also the ideal location for family-friendly afternoons, with a sun-filled beer garden and kids' playground.

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  • Pub dining
  • Armadale

Standing tall on the corner of Orrong Road and High Street is Armadale's Orrong Hotel, a pub that's been pouring pints since 1875. And like any good pub, Orrong offers a line-up of delicious weeknight specials, including $24 pot and parma combos on Wednesdays and $25 meat raffle and steak nights on Thursdays. The kids' menu includes $13 meals like chicken nuggets, penne Bolognese, cheeseburgers and fish and chips, and a drink and dessert only costs $3 extra.

Sunbury’s favourite local pub recently had a multi-million-dollar renovation that's been designed with the entire community in mind. Offering a brand-new beer garden and upgraded Sports Bar, the renovation also includes an extended bistro along with a refreshed menu and a kids playground. It's the ideal spot for drinks on balmy evenings, lazy long lunches, and somewhere for parents to enjoy a relaxed meal and drink while the kids are entertained.

More of Melbourne's best pubs

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