First published on 3 Apr 2012. Updated on 16 Apr 2012.
Who doesn’t enjoy a cheeky drink or two of an afternoon, or a gaggle of friends in a beer garden during a lazy weekend? Only mad people, that’s who – but finding a pub that caters for the whole family can be a tricky ask. To that end, here are some of Sydney’s best drinking locales for those with smaller, more playful humans in tow.
The Warren View
The big advantage of this Enmore favourite can be summed up thusly: the beer garden, which has a gate off Enmore Road. For those used to negotiating through poky pubs with a pram, this is happy news.
It’s one of the Northern Beaches largest hotels and is very much a suburban watering hole, but it’s also gone to some length to accommodate families with a huge soft-play playground and a well-appointed parents room for feeding and changing, as well as kid-sized toilets.
This huge community landmark have been deliberately courting the family market with three different playground areas, themed kids party packages and "Australia's largest waterfront beer-garden", not to mention gorgeous views over Ku-ring-gai National Park.
This Rozelle bar is manages both to be an unpmarket cocktail bar, and contain a large, enclosed children’s play area which has made it quite the favourite among local parents.
The Mean Fiddler
Rouse Hill’s landmark pub has a long-standing reputation as one of Sydney’s best pubs for kids. Aside from having plenty of pram room, there’s a kids playground, a video game room for the older ones, and an on-site ice creamery.
The Beach Road Hotel
Head to the beer garden past the back bar of this Bondi favourite and kick back with plenty of room for the small ones to run around like mad things.
Finding a Newtown pub with decent pram room is a challenge at the best of times, so thank heavens for the Courty: street access on two sides means you can get to the beer garden without negotiating through the pub – and hell, it’s just a great place to be.
James Squire Brewhouse
Right on King Street Wharf means pram access is easy, and also makes the Brewhouse a great place to pop in for a cheeky tipple (or a long lunch) while doing a lap of Darling Harbour activities.
Gladstone Park Bowling Club
It’s a bit of a local Balmain secret, with cheap drinks, a relaxed old-school atmosphere and loads of space for little legs to run around.
This Rozelle favourite has been extensively renovated – the bistro’s particularly well appointed for prams and family dining outings, and the prices are reasonable.
“The People’s Pub” in Balmain offers a $9 kids menu and an outdoor dining area perfectly suited to pram traffic and kids underfoot.
Australian Hotel & Brewery
A huge enclosed play area with an all-weather adventure playground , parents room and a well-designed kids menu makes this Rouse Hill landmark a much-awarded favourite for a reason.
Redfern's not the first place you might think of when you hear the words "family friendly", but this local is looking to change that with kids menus and a friendly atmosphere, conveniently opposite Redfern Park.
Northies Cronulla Hotel
The Mango Jam bistro caters to the small ones, and the large terraced bar area is family-friendly – and the place is right across the road from North Cronulla beach, which is a pretty sweet location.
Club Palm Beach
Formerly the Palm Beach RSL, there’s a kids menu and a huge outdoor deck area, with sheltered tables and a bird aviary. It’s also a short stroll from the ferry stop, if you fancy approaching by sea.
Castle Hill RSL
There are several dining options on the premises, but we reckon most families would be drawn to the special kids menu at the Rib Factory bistro. There’s also a jungle gym play area.
The Historic Como Hotel
It’s pretty darn historic – it was there for a century before a fire gutted it in 1996, leading to a rebuild – but the Burnt Door Bistro is very kid-friendly, as is the beer garden, while Scylla Park is just across the road.
The Clovelly Hotel
This well-loved beachfront hotel has a large family-friendly bistro, with an outdoor deck area which is very grommet-friendly.
With a good-sized kids play area part of the recent refurbishment, this Kings Park icon is a great spot for a family outing.
Botany View Hotel
A Newtown pub with a kids play area is a rare and wonderful thing, and the food is a cut above usual in-house bistro fare.
It might be themed after a cartoon, but with a dedicated play area, weekly jumping castle and face-painting and free kids meals Mon-Fri with the purchase of an adult’s meal, that’s hardly a concern.
Vic on the Park
There are kids menus if you fancy dining, but the big advantage of this landmark on the Marrickville/Enmore border is that it's right across the road from Enmore Park and its many running-around and playing-on-equipment possibilities.
The Rose Hotel
The rustic beer garden has big wooden seats and tasty pizzas, making it a great family meal stop in a generally student-heavy location.