The good old Aussie pub – it's iconic isn't it? One could even say that the pub is one of the best hangovers from the Poms when they arrived on our fair shores so many years ago. Early on the pub was purely the domain of Aussie blokes. We women folk weren't welcome (or if you were a certain "class of lady," you could partake in a wee sherry in the ladies parlour). Children most definitely weren't welcome or even allowed to set foot anywhere in a pub. Thankfully those times have changed and many pubs across this great nation of ours are now very family friendly indeed.
Sydney literally has hundreds if not thousands of pubs, but not all are family friendly. People get quite protective about their local so you do need to be careful where you go with children - locals do not like their local being overrun with children. Here is a small list of family friendly pubs that I have road tested with my family and I believe to be the best in Sydney.
This pub/brewery is relatively new on the Sydney hotel scene. It is located on the outer limits of Sydney but it is most definitely worth the trek (and the tolls) if you are after a family friendly outing for lunch or dinner. From the outside it looks like nothing much but once you enter the enormous entrance doors you are transported into a large modern establishment that has a brewery to one side (where you can do tours and taste tests), a large bistro area , loads of seating and a huge kids play area with its own dedicated dining area. There are two play rooms – one for little kids and the other big play gym for bigger kids. On Sundays they have special entertainment for kids and you can even host your child's birthday party there. The kids play area is open from 10.30am – 9.30pm every day.
The Ranch has been a family favourite for years. They pride themselves on being very child friendly, so much so that they have a kiddies club and free children's meals for lunch every day and on Sunday nights. The menu at the Ranch for kids is quite extensive and for once they offer healthier options as well as the usual deep fried suspects that are on every kids menu. They have a large outdoor playground and indoor colouring in corner for your little ones as well as a games room for your bigger kids. Every Sunday they have a jumping castle, kids craft corner and other entertainment.
This is a firm favourite with northern suburbs/beaches families. Even though it is a modern hotel with very stylish interiors the Belrose Hotel still is very family friendly. They claim to have the largest indoor soft-play playground in any pub in Australia. They also cater for Mothers by providing a fully equipped parents room. They do a huge Sunday morning breakfast with the kid's brekkie starting at $5.00. At all other times they have a standard pub kids menu for $10.00 per meal.
This daggy old pub (it's over 100yrs old) was given a huge facelift in the past couple of years and it is now a sleek new venue that is positioning itself to be the best family friendly pub on the north shore. They now have an indoor playground and like most pubs host kid's entertainment every Sunday. During school holidays they have a huge jumping castle in their outdoor area. They have a dedicated children's menu for $9.00 and each meal comes with a complimentary kids activity pack. You can also book a table at Hotel Pennant Hills, which I highly recommend on weekends as this pub gets very busy with all of the north shore yummy mummies and daddies. The only negative about this pub is that there isn't much parking.
This pub is legendary in Sydney – it is iconic in its own right. Open since 1880 this pub is a stalwart in the Northern Beaches resident's social life. The views are amazing across Pittwater and their food is delicious – oh and they love families. The beer garden contains two playgrounds, so you can sit back, relax, have a cheeky glass of something refreshing whilst your kids are entertained. The kids menu is fairly basic for $10.00 a meal. They also host kid's birthday parties if you want someone else to do all of the hard work for you.
School holidays and rainy days are an excellent time to visit family friendly pubs. When you are feeling frazzled and need to get out of the house, a family friendly pub is the perfect option. The above all open mid-morning and serve coffee and light refreshments until their bistros open for lunch. They all have some sort of activity that your kids can participate in and they all have loads of room so you can keep the cabin fever at bay.