When you need to catch up with a friend deep in the throes of parenting or perhaps have a brood yourself, eating out doesn’t mean heading straight to boozeless fast food and chaos. Some San Diego restaurants have addressed this quandary by including amenities like designated play spaces and special programming to entertain kids so adults can sip suds in sunshine with less distraction.
North Park’s Waypoint Public is known for its 30-tap system focused on West Coast craft brews and more than 300 different bottled beers in stock. But it’s incredibly family-friendly with books, games and a forgiving AstroTurf floor space to provide entertainment for the younger set. Get your cellphone ready for this one … Drop the kids off at weekend cooking class while you and your friends inhale a Waypoint Burger (mozzarella, pulled pork, fried egg and pickled vegetables) or another fabulous brunch fare.
3794 30th St., North Park. waypointpublic.com
A chill afternoon on Station Tavern’s spacious outdoor patio is soothing at any age. Grab a table by the gated play area to let younger kids wander in to explore the small wooden trolley, hang out with other kids and test their chalk art skills. This arrangement tends to minimize your separation anxiety from a classic cheeseburger and cold beverage of choice. Do order the crispy Tater Tots doused in their house spice.
2204 Fern St., South Park. stationtavern.com
BO-beau kitchen + garden
When the kids are happy, so are the adults. That’s why they put a life-size retrofitted school bus in the restaurant’s garden and lined the nearby walls with chalkboard to write on. In fact, you can sip wine and keep an eye on the kids without leaving the tables here. Plenty of BO-beau favorites like the famous brussels sprouts with pancetta and Parmesan as well as moules or steak frites are represented.
8384 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa. cohnrestaurants.com/bobeaukitchengarden
Merely a few weeks old, this mostly outdoor beer garden is the talk of the town because in addition to offering ChuckAlek’s German-style lagers, the expansive patio is kid- and dog-friendly. It operates in partnership with Art Produce, which will host weekly public art classes often including hands-on projects for kids. Any day of the week, they (and you) can raid the toy basket and nosh on various seafood offerings from neighboring Tostadas, which will also deliver a menu of kid-friendly bites to the lovely urban garden.
3139 University Ave., North Park. chuckalek.com