I got to thinkin’ about kid-friendly restaurants on the Hill after reading this DCist article last week, “Parents Say They Struggle to Find Kid-Friendly Bars and Restaurants in DC.” I am wondering, the struggle: Is it real?
I’d love to know what CHK readers have to say. Hey you, passing through! Please comment below on the neighborhood restaurants that you’ve enjoyed with kids. What made it kid-friendly?
I think “kid-friendly” varies quite a bit by age. When AJ was younger and still amenable to his Lillebaby, I carried him everywhere and enjoyed many brunches and happy hours. I’ll admit it: Baby AJ was a regular at a couple Barracks Row establishments. It worked out great until he started swatting the wine glass out of my hands. And it has been completely over since he turned 2.
These days, we still manage to do a restaurant outing here and there, but it’s fewer and farther between. Sometimes it’s just easier not to do that. So, I am not the authority on kid-friendly bars and restaurants. But perhaps, with your help (see comment section below!), we could expand the list below into something useful to our friends and neighbors.
I am thinking about kid-friendly on three levels:
- Level One: Extremely kid-friendly, in that the venue is providing kid-centric entertainment, as well as drinks/food.
- Level Two: Very kid-friendly, in that they provide crayons/toys/etc., and they have food typically enjoyed by young children.
- Level Three: Kid-friendly, in that they have food typically enjoyed by young children and something a little extra, such as a space to run.
OK, so here’s my very incomplete, just-a-beginning of a list …
Level One: Extremely Kid-Friendly
- Elemeno. It isn’t actually a bar or a restaurant, it’s a kids’ club and family space that has a bar in it. How genius is that? Imagine lounging on a pillow with a glass of wine and a book while your kids enjoy an awesome indoor play space. This is a reality, friends! A very nearby reality. Elemeno is a membership club, and as you’ve now learned, it is worth it. 709 8th St SE.
- Pie Shop DC. Kids like pie, but I’m talking specifically about the kids’ concerts here. You can get food, beer and watch your kid rock out some Saturday mornings when Pie Shop has kids’ bands booked. Read more about it: Back on the Scene With Kids’ Shows at Pie Shop DC. 1339 H St NE.
- H Street Country Club. Mini golf, skeeball, basketball and shuffleboard. I cannot personally vouch because I have not been since way before AJ. I just checked their policies page, and the club welcomes families during brunch on Saturday, 11:30-3 p.m., and Sunday-Friday before 7 p.m. At all other times, it’s a bar for adult people. 1335 H St NE.
Level Two: Very Kid-Friendly
- Matchbox Capitol Hill. Your kid will receive a kids’ menu coloring page, crayons and a ball of pizza dough. The wait staff will be nice to you and your children. Pizza predominates the menu. 521 8th St SE.
- Mr. Henry’s. Among other kid-friendly options on the menu, they have a mac and cheese that looks exactly like the boxed one we make at home. Which is to say, AJ loves it. You can count on the wait staff at Mr. Henry’s to be friendly to your family. I can’t remember if they do crayons–probably–but I specifically remember our server bringing AJ a little grasshopper table game. 601 Penn Ave SE.
Level Three: Kid-Friendly
- Little Pearl Cafe. This casual offshoot of Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls is located in the carriage house on the grounds of the Hill Center. During the daytime hours, adults can dine al fresco in the sun, while kids play in the green grassy space. The menu includes some items (doughnuts, hot cocoa) that kids typically like. 921 Penn Ave SE.
- The Market Lunch. Serving delicious diner-style breakfast and lunch every day except Monday inside Eastern Market. On weekends, you can sit at picnic tables in the Eastern Market hall. It’s hard to predict, but some weekend days, the hall is free of vendors, and little kids run and chase each other around the large, empty space.
- Seventh Hill Eastern Market. Adults and kids love the pizza here. What makes it even more kid-friendly is that they have a daily happy hour, 5-6:30 p.m. that makes it affordable to have a family dinner out. (The happy hour deal is not spelled out on the website, so I can’t specify.) 327 7th St SE.
OK, it’s your turn! Tell me about your favorite kid-friendly places below in the comments.
Update: I received great comments below and a ton more at the Hill East Facebook group. Thank you! I already have lots of ideas about how I’m going to incorporate your feedback into a new standing list with a better rating system. I’m excited to let you know about it when it’s done!