Philly’s Best Kid-Friendly Beer Gardens
From seasonal pop-ups to permanent family-favorites, here are all the laidback outdoor spots for sippy cups and craft beers alike.
Philly has been called a “city of neighborhoods,” but Avram Hornik, owner of FCM Hospitality, has another nickname in mind: city of beer gardens. “When you give people something to eat, something to drink, a chair, it transforms any place into a public space — a place people can socialize,” he says. Together with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Hornik and Kathryn Ott Lovell conceived of a traveling beer garden series in 2016 that would show off Philly’s many parks and highlight its many neighborhoods while raising money for our green spaces. Parks on Tap took off, and the beer garden had an additional set of fans that may have been surprising to those not paying attention: kids.
With three children of his own, city dad Hornik noticed that parenting in Philly was changing — families were looking for ways to gather with each other (and their kid-free friends) in more inclusive and outdoor settings. “Both parents are working full-time and when you get home you want to see your kids, but you also want to socialize,” he explained. Parks on Tap was so kid- (and dog-) friendly that it brought toys like hula hoops and oversized Jenga to its pop-ups. The little ones followed, swinging in hammocks and enjoying their sippy cups alongside their parents’ craft beers. The welcoming atmosphere didn’t make Parks on Tap any less of a hot location for the over-21 set, because who doesn’t enjoy day-drinking in a garden? A trend was born.
Not everyone is on board. Most recently, Attic Brewing Company in Germantown issued a stern statement reminding parents to supervise their kids. Earlier this year, Human Robot banned kids after 2 p.m. When I published an earlier version of this article last year, social media comments were split between excited parents tagging one another and pearl-clutching outrage. Regardless of how you feel, the trend isn’t going anywhere. (In fact, there’s a new kid-friendly beer garden opening next week in Rittenhouse. More on that later.)
In Philly, there are so many great spots to grab a drink and enjoy the outdoors with kids in tow. From fun activities to kid-favorite menu items, these places strike the perfect balance.
This spring and summertime favorite overlooks the Delaware River with views of the Ben Franklin Bridge and the marina below. While it’s a seasonal hotspot featuring DJs, specialty cocktails and several outdoor bars, on weekend afternoons you’ll typically see multiple strollers and live music. Morgan’s Pier accommodates this audience with a kids’ menu, sippy cups and a changing table. Kids have to be out of there by 9 p.m.
221 North Columbus Boulevard.
PHS really started the whole seasonal pop-up beer garden craze years ago when they decided to transform an abandoned lot into an oasis. Since 2014, they have settled into a spot in the backyard of Jamaican Jerk Hut (at 15th and South). In the past couple years, they added a second location in Manayunk, which was renovated last year to mimic the feel of an “urban forest.” Even better, the Manayunk spot has a new game room with foosball, Skee-Ball, pop-a-shot, and more. Both locations offer food, craft brews, cocktails, family-friendly activities, plant swaps and craft workshops throughout the spring and summer seasons. Also at both locations: A bright orange frozen Gritty margarita rimmed with black salt. 1438 South Street and 106 Jamestown Avenue.
Located on Independence Mall across from the Liberty Bell Center, this is a great place to hit after exploring historic sites. The 20,000-square-foot space boasts an expansive beer list, food that will please kids and adults alike, and best of all, games. Play shuffleboard, cornhole, giant Jenga, and ping pong. 100 South Independence Mall West.
Visit this open-air riverfront space for views of the Ben Franklin Bridge. They even have a kids’ menu with standbys like burgers and hot dogs. For adults? Cocktails of the regular and frozen varieties, beer and wine, tacos and sandwiches. While you’re there, check out the pier’s artists’ galleries, art installations, and pop-up events like craft markets. Seating is first-come, first-served. 121 North Columbus Boulevard.
Located on the 1.2-acre Cira Green rooftop park, Sunset Social is always kid- and dog-friendly, with lawn games and fun events like Wednesday movie nights, weekly Saturday Morning Cartoon Picnics with cartoons on the big screen and discounted food ($2 hot dogs and $3 burgers!) from noon to 3 p.m., and Sundae Socials with a DJ dance party and face-painting for the kids (and ice cream, of course). For your canine friends, Sunset Social also plans “yappy hours” on Tuesdays throughout the season with adoptable dogs. 129 South 30th Street.
When this bar with a nine-hole Philly-themed first opened, it had an adults-only policy. Then, a couple years ago, they added all-ages hours on Sunday afternoons from noon to 4 p.m., which makes it great for families — especially during daytime Eagles games. In addition to their indoor golf and games, they’ve also got an outdoor beer garden that’s open to kids at all hours (as long as they’re supervised). This fall, Libertee Grounds will expand into the next-door space to add nine additional holes of mini golf and a golf simulator. 1600 West Girard Avenue, Fairmount
This South Philly rooftop used to only allow kids on Sunday afternoons, but they changed that policy in recent years, permitting supervised kids and dogs before sunset (but be cool about it, okay? Keep a good thing going). You can even bring a birthday cake with you (for a $25 cutting fee). This year’s iteration of Bok Bar will run 29 weeks with a chef residency program and lots of events planned. Bok Bar is open for the season until October. 1901 South 9th Street.
Of course, everyone knows the indoor bowling alley that gives South Bowl its name, but did you know they also have an outdoor space with games and its own bar? The Yard has two 40-foot-long bocce ball courts, shuffleboard, pool, slow- and fast-pitch batting cages, and more. Plus, you don’t have to go inside to order food and drinks because The Yard has its own outdoor bar and lounge serving beer, cocktails and kid-favorite fare including tater tots and pizza. They even host kids’ birthday parties. Unsurprisingly, as it gets later in the day, the crowd gets more adult, so plan your visit on the early side — they open at 1 p.m. on weekends.
19 East Oregon Avenue.
You read that correctly — your family zoo outing just got a whole lot more interesting. The zoo’s Urban Green dining area has outdoor seating, food carts with options for everyone, and a rotating list of wine and craft beer. A tip: Along with the free parking and unlimited admission you bought the membership for in the first place, zoo members also save 10-percent on food. 3400 West Girard Avenue.
Known for its whimsical names like Trust the Process, Main Character Energy, and perennial favorite Purple Monkey Dishwasher, the Fishtown brewery (or “Lab,” as they like to call it) has a delightful beer garden that welcomes kids and dogs. In addition to beer, there’s a menu of sandwiches and snacks including mac and cheese, grilled cheese, soft pretzels, and ice cream sandwiches. Kids can play games in the colorful yard, too. 1727 North Front Street.
Unlike most places on this list, Frankford Hall is open in Fishtown year-round, serving German biergarten-inspired food like giant soft pretzels, schnitzel, and a variety of bratwurst and beers. The outdoor area is huge, and even stays warm in the winter thanks to heat lamps and fire pits. The crowd is all-ages, but you’ll see tons of families on weekends for brunch — especially holiday events where Santa visits the hall. And keep an eye on their Instagram for weekend craft activities by nearby playspace PlayArts. 1210 Frankford Avenue.
This one’s not exactly a beer garden, but omitting it from the guide would be a grave error. Where else can you drink alcohol while your kids play on a pirate ship? Nowhere, that’s where. The FCM crew outdid themselves, and life hasn’t been the same since Craft Hall opened in Northern Liberties. In addition to the pirate ship playground, there’s old-school Nintendo, Skee-Ball, table games, a Phanatic statue, and porch-swing seating, if you can snag it. Still hung up on that whole outdoors thing? Don’t be: Craft Hall has patio seating and a freaking dog park. That’s right, this bar has its own dedicated doggy play area, complete with custom dog cocktails (or, “dogua fresca,” if we’re being precise). There’s also a full menu featuring barbecue platters and a kids’ menu. Just be sure to get the kids out of there by 9 p.m. so adults can have some alcohol-fueled fun in peace. Craft Hall is open year-round, and thank heaven (or Poseidon?) for that. 901 North Delaware Avenue.
In addition to visiting Cherry Street Pier, you can also drink further down south on the Delaware waterfront thanks to longtime fave SSHP. Lounge in a hammock, play shuffleboard and giant lawn games, stroll the boardwalk for all kinds of treats, pose for a picture in the giant Visit Philly Adirondack chair, and then head to the floating bar(ge) for cocktails and beer. 301 South Columbus Boulevard.
Yet another spot along the Delaware River (and yet another FCM production), this outdoor spot at the Independence Seaport Museum has three levels, five bars, panoramic waterfront views, and live entertainment. There’s even a little rowboat for kids to play in. The menu includes snacks, Bassets ice cream, and a kids’ section — and there’s definitely plenty to drink as well. 211 South Columbus Boulevard.
They may not have done it first, but they did it best. With lots of room to run around, the cleanest bathroom trailers I’ve ever seen, and summery food offerings like watermelon salad and street-corn dip, this is one of the best ways to spend a lazy weekend afternoon. After a stationary pandemic era, Parks on Tap is back to touring, popping up in a new location every week for 25 weeks this season. Even better? A portion of all proceeds benefits each park they visit, ensuring outdoor play can go on long after the tour. Various locations.
You know that vacant lot on 17th and Walnut where a McDonald’s used to be before it burned down in 2020? Well, it’s a pop-up beer garden, and a kid-friendly one, at that. Opening May 31st, the Rittenhouse spot will have a dedicated “Children’s Garden” with a climbing structure shaped like a Jeep (it has a slide, too!) and an ice-cream stand right next to the playspace. 1706-10 Walnut Street.