Local parents can indulge in their love of beer (with their babies) thanks to the rise of family-friendly breweries in the Crescent City

 

            Heather Reznick has two kids and one on the way, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting to socialize with friends. And before she became pregnant with her third, sometimes that fun included beer.

            “It’s not like the death of your social life,” Reznick says, noting that she and her friends like to enjoy a cold pint from time to time, especially on weekends when her husband, Christopher, often works the overnight shift as a New Orleans firefighter. “You don’t always want to go to the park. You can go to a place that has a bar and stuff for the kids to do.”

            Reznick is just one of the many local parents taking advantage of the city’s brewery craze. Many of the breweries, as well as places with great craft beer selections, are welcoming entire families by offering play areas for kids, games and even birthday parties for the youngest customers.

            “It’s very laid-back,” says Reznick, who is mom to 5-year-old Sullivan and 20-month-old Prescott. “It’s nice because the kids can run around. I feel like 10 years ago, bringing your kids out like this wasn’t an option.”

            It’s natural to think that New Orleans, well known for its drinking culture, would welcome babes with open arms at its watering holes. Yet, most parents didn’t feel comfortable bringing their kids to bars, which only two years ago went smoke-free.

That is until the breweries moved into town. Following in the footsteps of cities such as Asheville, N.C., and Portland, Ore., the breweries in New Orleans have offered residents new places to indulge in social drinking and hang with your kids, too.

Marco and Shelsey Salgado with son Mason at The Backyard in Lakeview.

            Fun for the young and young-at-heart

 

            Elizabeth Larsen, a school teacher who lives in Mid City, enjoys taking her daughter along on her own social outings. She’s brought her 2-year old daughter, Norah, to Second Line Brewing, and both enjoyed the courtyard there, as well as the food trucks that are parked beside the space almost every night. The brewery has boiled crawfish on Fridays, too, which is another surefire beacon to the family set.

            “My husband had to get a job in Wisconsin after he was laid off from his job in the oil industry,” Larsen says. “So it’s pretty much my daughter and I right now. Every once in a while, you want to get out of the house and enjoy the company of other adults. There’s the courtyard (at Second Line), and they have some toys and some chalk there for the kids. They can play while the adults enjoy a beer and talk. It’s just what we were looking for.”

            Marisa Norton and her husband, Rob, are craft beer aficionados. When they go out for a pint, they more often than not have their 11-year-old son, Jeremy, in tow, and that’s been the case since he was a toddler. They also enjoy Second Line, and Marisa Norton follows other such spots on social media to determine where she’d like to go next. She’s been to The Courtyard in the Warehouse District and plans to try the Wayward Owl in Broadmoor soon. Both are family-friendly establishments.

            “We’re always looking to enjoy good beer, and we want to support the local places that have it,” Marisa Norton says. “Whenever we go, we see babies in strollers, people with their dogs. These places all seem to have a laid-back atmosphere, and that’s perfect for families. We have no problem at all bringing (Jeremy) to them.”

 

            Birthday parties and jungle gyms

 

            Reznick has taken her kids to Urban South Brewery, on Tchoupitoulas Street in the Garden District, and attended a couple of children’s birthday parties there as well. The kids enjoyed a bounce house, a Lego table and toys, as well as pizza and cake, while parents received drink tickets for some adult fun, she says.

            “The kids really did have a good time,” Reznick says. “It was basically like it could have been at a park. And people were drinking beer.”

            The Backyard in Lakeview is part restaurant, part bar and all family, according to those who have visited. It has a jungle gym in the “backyard,” a dozen picnic tables for family-style eating and drinking, a kids’ menu and a service window through which parents can place orders for food and drinks without having to leave the play area.

            “People are relaxed when they’re here,” says Danielle, a bartender at The Backyard. “The kids are excited to be here, and that makes it nice for the parents.”

            Michael Naquin, who owns 40 Arpent Brewery, says he’s not surprised by the number of families he sees at his establishment, located just south of the Lower Ninth Ward on the Mississippi River. The brewery offers shuffleboard, corn hole, an arcade game, trivia games and more to entertain the kids and the kids at heart.

            “We see so many different kinds of people here,” Naquin says. “We have people from the neighborhood who come over with their families, and we have people drive in from St. Bernard Parish and Orleans Parish. People look for places they can have a beer, maybe get something to eat and relax. You’ll find that all the breweries in Louisiana are pretty much family-friendly. It’s just the way it is.”

 

            Andrew Canulette is a journalist and father of four whose work has appeared in Nola Family, The Times-Picayune, ESPN Outdoors and Bassmaster.com. 

 

Kirk and Danielle Coco, owners of Nola Brewing, with their infant son, Cary

            Looking for a kid-friendly brewery or place to drink beer?

            The growing number of breweries and beer gardens in New Orleans is giving local beer lovers additional places to visit, but many of them also are family-friendly spaces. The breweries in town often have open-air areas that allow children space to roam, and some have games, playground equipment, children’s menus and more to attract families. Here’s a sampling of local breweries and watering holes that welcome the pint-sized set.

 

The Backyard, 244 Harrison Ave., Lakeview

backyardnola.com

Jungle gym, picnic tables, full bar, restaurant, kids’ menu.

 

40 Arpent Brewery, 6809 N. Peters St., Arabi 

40arpent.com

House brews, shuffleboard, cornhole, board games, food trucks.

 

NOLA Brewing, 3001 Tchoupitoulas St., Irish Channel

nolabrewing.com

House brews, tours, McClure’s Barbecue.

 

Second Line Brewing, 733 N. Bernadotte St., Mid City

secondlinebrewing.com

house brews, courtyard area, games for kids, food trucks, brewery tours.

 

Urban South Brewing, 1645 Tchoupitoulas St., Lower Garden District urbansouthbrewery.com

House brews, kid-friendly taproom, kids’ play area, food trucks

 

Wayward Owl, 3940 Thalia St., Broadmoor

waywardowlbrewing.com

House brews, pop-up kitchens, food trucks, light snacks, kids’ T-shirts for sale.