Photo by Leah-Anne ThompsonThe family that drinks together… Wait, that would be wrong. Once you
have a child, cocktail hour is replaced with bathtime, storybooks and making din-din.
But is it unreasonable for parents to want to relax over a libation in a public
watering hole with kids in tow? Maybe, maybe not. Please don’t send the P.C. police
after us. We’re not talking about Lee Remick getting sloshed in front of her daughter
in The Days of Wine and Roses. The suggested
scenario here is to enjoy a cold adult beverage in a spot where your offspring
is welcome and can nosh on a snack and sing along with the jukebox. And don’t
tell us that Chuck E. Cheese’s serves beer. That’s not what we’re after. (The
L.A. Zoo serves beer too, but that’s not what we’re after either.)
Though many L.A. bars have names that make them sound like fun places where a toddler could work off energy while Mom and Dad try to restore theirs — the Frolic Room, Cowboy Palace, Liquid Kitty, the Tattle Tale Room — you need a place that’s not too quiet, has outdoor seating and a relaxed clientele, which pretty much eliminates anyplace hip. We picked the following bars based on how we would feel if there were a spill or tantrum. Also, we’re thinking late weekend afternoon, not last call (that would really be wrong).
1. The Abbey. Children make a mess with grilled chicken sticks
and peanut butter sauce. Parents sip a lovely cocktail on the curtained cabana
lounger. Kids decide to play hide-and-seek under curtained cabana lounger. Giggling
ensues. Bonus: next to My Two Dads Park! 692 N. Robertson Blvd.,
W. Hollywood. (310) 289-8410.
2. Cat & Fiddle. Well-poured black-and-tans and a shady table make for a heavenly pub experience. The littlest ones will love the fountain in the lush outdoor patio. And just watch their expressions when they taste their first malt vinegar. Warning: kids + darts = bad combination. Avoid the food (but not the chips) at all costs. 6530 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 468-3800.
3. Big Dean’s. L.A. needs more friendly bars like this one, where you’re welcome in a wet bathing suit and Rollerblades. It’s just steps from the Santa Monica Pier, so it’s perfect for a post-carousel break. Then it’s back on the carousel again! Beer and wine only. 1615 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica. (310) 393-2666.
4. Rusty’s Surf Ranch. Another S.M. Pier spot, but this one has a full bar, outdoor tables and a kids’ menu, which offers root-beer floats so the little ones can mimic you and your frosty margarita. 256 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. (310) 393-PIER.
5. Barney’s Beanery. Okay, we don’t feel that great about ordering a pitcher of Harp and a glass of milk with a straw at this famous rockin’ dive, but the kids dig the big-screen TVs and dancing to “Paradise City,” and you certainly don’t have to worry about them spilling: Janis Joplin violated most every surface here in the ’60s. 8447 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. (323) 654-2287.
6. Red Lion Tavern. Amaze your child as you down a yard of some weird European brew on the brick patio. But beware of smokers tainting wee ones’ immaculate innards. 2366 Glendale Blvd., Silver Lake. (323) 662-5337.
7. Neptune’s Net. Sandy feet are the norm here at this PCH
biker/surfer hangout. Get a seat on the dirt hill next to the parking lot and
let the kids feed the birds bread crumbs while you enjoy a cold beer or wine cooler.
42505 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu (Ventura
County Line). (310) 457-3095.

LA Weekly