Neighbourhood pubs are changing things up and making room for the entire family. Once a place for the men to stand around and booze on, dad is now more likely to bring the whole family and make a day, or a night of it, not to mention probably meet about half the neighbours there. You’ll find fantastic child friendly dining, kids activities and shows and even indoor or outdoor play areas. In some cases, they’ll even watch your kids while you relax with a wine or a coffee.
So if you are thirsty for a beer, hungry for some grub, and in desperate need of some weekend entertainment for the kids, then this is your essential list of the 10 best family friendly pubs in Sydney.
The 10 best family friendly pubs in Sydney
With unbeatable views over Pittwater, the expansive grounds and beer garden of this Northern Beaches icon is a vibrant gathering place for all ages. Nestled amongst idyllic gardens, and incorporating various outdoor dining spaces and bars, the sprawling grounds include areas perfect for the young, and the young at heart to while away the day and night. Think an undercover games area with an upside-down seaplane on the ceiling, a giant Scrabble board, ping-pong tables and a basketball hoop.
The Ranch Hotel has built up quite a reputation for itself over the years. The family friendly bistro is the hub of the business with regular weekly specials providing an attractive place for families to have an early dinner. A recent addition is the kids play area and arcade room which allows parents a great opportunity to let the kids play in a safe environment.
The newly renovated, family friendly Ettamogah Hotel has created a unique and enjoyable environment for all families. The cartoonish main building houses a function room, bar and bistro, while out back there’s a fenced-in play gym, reputed to be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. A small jumping castle operates daily unless it’s raining. There are arcade games everywhere, and – the pièce de résistance – a full-scale rock climbing wall.
Children are a big part of visiting The Henson. There is dedicated pram parking, safety fencing, plenty of high chairs and a kids’ menu featuring that is more inventive and healthy than most, with ”real” fish and chips, tempura chicken nuggets, frozen banana chocolate pops and inventive milk shakes.
There are high chairs, a small climbing wall, ball pit, Pacman and Big Buck Hunter machines and a Mr Men mural. And in the unlikely case your kids are unimpressed with all that, they also sell kids activity packs for $4 each.
“A home away from home for Foodie Families,” the Belrose Hotel has the largest indoor soft-play playground of any of pub in Australia, with separate infant/toddler and kids’ play areas. And every Sunday from 1pm to 3pm there is face painting for the kiddies. Their menu for children in the restaurant is fairly stock standard, but their cafe menu offers up snacks like fruit cups, mini yoghurts, Le Snack cheese and crackers, and frozen yoghurt.
The Woolwich Pier Hotel has provided old world charm and warm hospitality since 1885. Today, the Hotel offers modern British bistro dining and an extensive drinks menu in a range of stylish heritage and contemporary spaces – all while making the most of the beautiful original hotel building and the harbour side location on the Woolwich peninsula.
The best spot for families is the decked courtyard terrace with duck egg blue awnings and white timber bungalows, equipped with communal tables and deckchairs in the shade of a great tree.
Offering casual dining in a fun, beachside setting the Coogee Pavilion is a great spot for adults with kids to feel like they still have a life (pic at the top). The ground floor space is part marketplace, part hangout spot, and sports a stripped-back aesthetic complemented by the odd nautical flourish. It is the ideal location for family get-togethers, coffee dates or catching up with friends.
This pub not only has a play area to keep kids occupied, but they also have one of the best line ups of school holiday activities that we have ever seen. Bring the whole clan for the multi-level climbing frame, soft play area for tots and $9 menu for tiny tastebuds. Grab a $5 ice cream sundae or traffic light jelly for the nippers.
Oh yeah, and this one gets points from the dads with their on-site craft brews.
Ok so technically its a Club and not a Pub but the newly launched dining venue within Wests Ashfield Leagues Club is a great place for a relaxed family meal. True to its name, you will find The Garden in an al fresco conservatory plenty of lush (fake) greenery and fun decor. The seasonal fresh produce, sourced directly from farmers, is prominent in the various shared plates and mains on offer. But the standout is the attention to detail for the little ones with a great kids menu, activity books and pencils and a play area too. Even better, The Garden has just launched a kids’ entertainment night on Tuesday evenings between 6 and 8 pm, with entertainers providing face painting and balloon creations.
The Greystanes Hotel has two massive, fenced-off playgrounds where the little people can play safely while the bigger ones down schooners of beer or bottles of vino that all stay prudently under $28. The big playground with a five-storey undercover play maze is fully enclosed and next door is a backyard with a flying fox, spinning supernova and a climbing frame!
The kid’s menu has a mix of the good stuff and not so good stuff, so the fussiest of little appetites are well catered for…. but then again they could always just go back for more ice cream from the dedicated ice-cream counter.
Looking for the best places to eat in and around the Sydney CBD? Check out our definitive guide to eating out with kids in Sydney HERE.