A Guide to Summer Drinking in Brooklyn

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Tips for Drinking With Toddlers

My excuse for drinking most every day stands two and a half feet tall, weighs 22 pounds, and calls me “Da-Da.” Violet is a whirlwind of joy and curiosity, a wildly active 18-month-old who runs full throttle from sunrise to bedtime. The days are long. The days are demanding. The days require drinking.

In 19th-century New York City, German beer halls were bastions of family friendly imbibing, alcohol a socially acceptable part of everyday life. Post-Prohibition, beer never recovered its familial sheen. Alcohol and kids are often seen as oil and water–two things that should never mix. As a beer journalist, drinking is my job, but so is being a good dad. Though tricky, I’ve found ways to responsibly integrate imbibing into parenthood. (Some folks are vehemently against kids being in bars, but most weekends I wake at 6:30am. By 2pm, I deserve a drink.) Here are my guidelines for tippling with toddlers.

Last call is 5pm. At night, bars are about pleasure and potential, about shirking responsibility and letting your id take control. I love my daughter, but man, babies are a buzzkill. 

Breweries and beer gardens are parents’ best bets. Many taprooms are incredibly accommodating. Also, seek bars with backyards. But don’t let your kid run loose. Bars are no place to experiment with free-range parenting.

Avoid dives and sports bars. Hard-drinking, emotionally charged settings with lots of screaming are not ideal—no matter how delicious the chicken wings are.

Skip hard liquor. Drinking as a parent is perfectly acceptable. Slurring your words? Not so much. Save the bourbon for after your kid is home and adrift
in dreamland.

When your kid wants to leave, you leave. No amount of alcohol can make a temper tantrum tolerable.


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