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Hey, Eater — I’m looking for a bar or restaurant with a patio where I can meet up with friends and actually take my two-year-old. Bonus points if it’s in North or Northeast Portland. Any ideas?
Hey, Jill. As someone firmly in their aunt era, I feel you. I can think of several great kid-friendly restaurants (we have a map for it, even), but finding a place to grab happy hour, or a place where you can grab a beer while your kid smashes quesadilla bites into their face, is a bigger challenge. I have a few thoughts; I’m going to focus on patios that are decently spacious, so kids don’t end up under foot, and ones that offer something boozy for you and something snack-y for kids.
Let’s say you’re more into grabbing a beer with friends as opposed to getting dinner. There are a few kid-friendly breweries and taprooms that will do the trick. We like the Alberta Baerlic brewery patio and its adjacent food cart pod, which serves those sitting on the picnic tables in the backyard. The beers are great, the cart pod offers kid-friendly options (pizza from Paladin Pie, quesadillas from Mole Mole), and it’s roomy enough for kids to waddle around when they get bored without getting in the way of servers. All of Baerlic’s locations are kid-friendly until 9 p.m., which also includes the Barley Pod — another combination taproom and food cart pod.
For something farther east, Level Beer in the Argay neighborhood is a veritable playground for kids, with a strong beer selection for you and food carts for everyone. The backyard is expansive, so kids can fully run around without creating any issues; it also has a few lawn games. If you’re really looking for a cocktail over a beer, the Old Gold’s patio has no age restrictions before 9 p.m.; you can get an Old Fashioned, and the kid can get carrots and hummus (or, let’s be real, french fries).
Let’s say you’re trying to grab a bite. The patio at Tamale Boy on Dekum is a strong option: It’s big, the margaritas are abundant, and the kid’s menu includes bean-and-cheese burritos or quesadillas. Alternatively, the original Pizza Jerk location has likely the most obvious kid-friendly backyard in Portland — it has a literal play structure, after all — and pretty much every kid on the planet loves pizza. When it comes to drinks, slushies are available with or without booze; desserts include hits like rice crispy treats and soft serve.
For more ideas, we do have bar and restaurant patio maps; obviously, the options on the latter map are more likely to be kid-friendly, but there are a few winners on the bar map. The Von Ebert Brewing in Glendoveer has some good kid wandering territory, and a kid’s menu with things like mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and chicken tenders. And at Produce Row, minors are welcome until 9:30 p.m.
Hope this helps, and parents, if you have any other ideas, definitely let us know.