Bringing a baby to a bar might raise a few eyebrows. Bringing a baby to some local breweries won't.
Thanks to the family-friendly atmospheres created at breweries and brewpubs in D-FW, no one bats an eye at infants, toddlers and tweens joining parents for some free-range fun. In fact, there's been a rise in the number of craft beer events that cater to families with kid-inspired entertainment.
Once a month, Oak Highlands Brewery presents Family Night, which draws kids from the Lake Highlands neighborhood of Dallas. At each event, the brewery projects a children's movie on a large wall for all to watch. Kids can also play with chalk, giant Jenga, foosball or ping pong. Owners Brad Mall and Derrin Williams are both fathers who enjoy hosting families and often bring their own children to Family Night.
Mall recalls one time he tried taking his kids to a quite bar to watch the Cowboys play.
"I got so many dirty looks," he says. "One thing Dallas has never really had is [a place] where you can go with your kids ... We wanted this place to be inclusive instead of exclusive."
Plus, adds Mall, adults can enjoy some of Family Night games, too.
"That's one of the things I wanted in my brewery because there was such a lack of places for adults to feel comfortable taking their kids," he says.
In Denton, you might find Audacity Brew House packed with kids any day of the week. The brewery hasn't planned any children-specific activities, but many events become family affairs anyway.
"We are all ages, all the time, whenever we're open," says taproom coordinator Stefan Benedetti.
Chimera Brewing Co. bartender Melina Quintanar says she sees entire families of regulars at the Fort Worth brewpub. As a mother of a 1-year-old, Quintanar said her son isn't quite ready to make his beer scene debut, but when he's older she'll feel comfortable bringing him out to any breweries and brewpubs in Fort Worth.
"Typically craft beer is more for people coming to taste and try beers as opposed to a bar, where people go to get drunk and loud with friends," says Quintanar.
"I'm comfortable bringing my son to our brewery and other breweries, like Rahr or Martin House, because people don't go to those breweries with the intent to get wasted."
Ryan Tetens is another parent working in the local industry, most recently installing equipment for Legal Draft Beer Co., which opened in Arlington this summer. His knowledge of brewing equipment gives him a unique perspective on parenting at breweries, especially now that his daughter is kindergarten age and much more mobile.
"I make sure it's safe. I always look at the basic setup," Tetens says, adding that if something is leaking or appears to be broken, he keeps his daughter away from those areas of the brewery.
Pet parents have long found a place in the brewery community. Due to health codes, fur-children aren't always allowed into brewpubs serving food, but pets on leashes are welcome at many breweries in the area, including Audacity Brew House, Community Beer Co., Martin House Brewing Co., Oak Highlands Brewery, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. and Texas Ale Project, to name just a few.