Family-friendly East Bay breweries

East Bay breweries where kids can have fun, too

Today’s contributing writers were Audrey Hall (AKA the Thrifty Traveler) and Anna Azimi. We love their tips and her photos!

Here are some of our favorite family-friendly breweries in the East Bay along with some nearby outdoor activities to wear out the little ones. My children love tagging along when my husband and I go out for beers. You would think we were offering up a trip to the toy store the way their eyes light up when we suggest hitting any one of our favorite East Bay breweries. Maybe it’s the goldfish crackers and live music, the occasional brewery dog, or the game tables and toy baskets that make the experience so enjoyable. It could also be that we let them drink a juice in the box and have fruit snacks (bribery at its best). Either way, we have had the opportunity to take advantage of many of the great craft breweries in the East Bay.

9 kid friendly brew pubs in the East Bay Area

Kid-Friendly Breweries in Berkeley

The Rare Barrel, Berkeley

If you enjoy sour beers, then you will LOVE this place. There is no better place to test the waters than The Rare Barrel. The venue is aesthetically pleasing and nobody seems to mind our kids running around. They also have a pretty tasty grilled cheese on the menu for just $5 which was a hit with everyone in our group. If sour beers aren’t your thing, don’t worry! They have six rotating guest taps that feature a variety of breweries and styles. Check the website for hours as they are limited at this time.

Brewery plus kid activities on Fourth Street in Berkeley

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[Up for adventure? See our guide to Fourth Street in Berkeley to stay busy all day.]

Fieldwork Brewing, Berkeley

This is one of my favorite additions to West Berkeley. Fieldwork beers are fantastic and the vibe is very laid back. There are both indoor and outdoor seating options and there are usually a couple of families with kids enjoying a beer. An added bonus is the table of games (Jenga can definitely entertain the kids long enough for me to enjoy a beer). You can follow along on Instagram to find out what’s new on tap.

10 East Bay Destinations for Beer with Kids: Fieldwork

Since this is just down the street from Rare Barrel, the same outdoor options apply to Fieldwork. Alternatively, you can also head up the hill to Tilden Park where there are plenty of family friendly and affordable entertainment options. Check out some favorite things to do in Tilden Park.

Jupiter Pizza & Beer, Downtown Berkeley

The outdoor patio at Jupiter makes it the perfect spot to enjoy a beer on a nice day. In addition to their own brews, they have an impressive line-up of guest beers on tap, including a number of excellent east bay breweries. So if you only had time for one stop and wanted to sample a selection of what the East Bay has to offer, this would be a great choice.
10 East Bay Destinations for Beer with Kids: Jupiter in Berkeley

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The brewery is located in downtown Berkeley, making it an ideal pairing for one of our favorite places to spend time with the kids, the UC Berkeley Campus. Here are some tips on what to do on campus with kids.

Kid-friendly breweries in Oakland

Drake’s Dealership, Oakland

If I had to dream up the perfect urban beer garden, then Drake’s Dealership would be it. Once an old car dealership, the historic brick building has been beautifully restored to create both a visually enticing and inviting space. In addition to an indoor seating area, which features an amazing custom built fireplace, there is an expansive outdoor beer garden complete with adirondack chairs, fire pits and a stage for live music.

10 East Bay Destinations for Beer with Kids: Oakland Breweries

Looking to extend your visit in the area? Just take a short stroll down to Lake Merritt. Better yet, start your morning off with a walk around the lake, a visit at the Farmer’s Market and a trip to the Oakland Museum of California before capping the day off with a beer. For an adventure, check out the Lake Merritt boating center before the brewery.

Independent Brewing, Oakland

Tucked away on an unassuming street just a few blocks from Jack London Square is one of our favorite family friendly breweries. Independent seems to be flying a bit under the radar, but don’t let that fool you. What it lacks in fancy decor it more than makes up for with a relaxed and inviting vibe and excellent beers. They also have an impressive selection of toys that my kids can’t seem to get enough of.

10 East Bay Destinations for Beer with Kids: Oakland Independent

An added bonus is the proximity to Jack London Square, which can easily entertain the whole family for the better part of a day. Check out our family guide to Jack London Square for more ideas.

Oakland United Beerworks, Oakland

Located about a mile northwest of Jack London Square, Oakland United Beerworks is situated in a beautiful brick building with a nice covered outdoor patio for drinking. We made a visit this past Father’s Day and it was a big hit with the whole family. We were able to enjoy our beers while our kids had a blast going through the two large buckets of toys they had available. Another added bonus is that the brewery backs up to the train tracks, which not only drowns out the noise of your kids, but also makes for some fun train spotting if they get tired of the toy bucket. As with Independent Brewing, I recommend heading down to Jack London Square afterwards to explore the shops and enjoy the views.

10 East Bay Destinations for Beer with Kids: Linden-Street_Brewery

Temescal Brewing, Oakland

One of the most recent additions to the East Bay brewery scene is Temescal Brewing. We visited as part of our annual Father’s Day Brewery Tour. The brewery has been open a couple of weeks and they are off to a great start! The interior has a nice clean look along with a large outdoor beer garden. The beer garden is both kid- and dog-friendly and I would say that the majority of people we saw during our visit had either kids or a dog with them. There are fun murals along the walls and plenty of seating, as well as free popcorn!

10 East Bay Destinations for Beer with Kids: Temescal-Brewing

Kid-friendly breweries in San Leandro

Cleophus Quealy, San Leandro

LOVE this place! The beers are extremely good and there is typically a food truck on rotation to fill your tummy. The indoor seating is inviting, but it’s their outdoor patio that really lends itself to relaxing in the sun and enjoying a beer. You can follow Cleophus on Instagram to keep up with what’s on tap and food truck offerings as well as special events like live music and their Friday taco happy hour.

East Bay Destinations for Beer with Kids: Cleophus Quealy
Cleophus Quealy in San Leandro — this patio is the best!

Drake’s Barrel House, San Leandro

You may have noticed that Drake’s is listed on here twice. That’s no mistake! Not only are they easily one of my favorite breweries in Northern California, but they have two fantastic venues for enjoying their beers. We first visited their San Leandro tasting room in 2009 when we were purchasing kegs for our wedding, and we have been loyal customers ever since. Their San Leandro tasting room has come a LONG way since then and is always an enjoyable stop for the family. We make regular visits to refill the keg for our backyard kegerator and our kids are easily entertained by the goldfish crackers and live music. If your kids are plane enthusiasts, the proximity to the Oakland Airport makes for some good plane-viewing as they fly overhead en route to the airport.

Drakes Barrel House in San Leandro
Drake’s Barrel House in San Leandro | Photo: Drake’s Brewing

Both of the San Leandro breweries are located within a stones throw of one another and as such, can either be combined for a mini brewery tour or coupled with a nice outdoor adventure. I would suggest starting the day off with a hike in the nearby Redwood Regional Park, Joaquin Miller Park, Leona Heights Park or Sibley Volcanic Preserve in the Oakland Hills. All four options are exceptionally beautiful places to hike and the perfect escape from civilization before you head down the hill for beer tasting.

Kid-friendly Brewery in Livermore

Eight Bridges Brewing, Livermore

The Eight Bridges Brewery is located in an industrial office park, but what it lacks in curb appeal, it more than makes up for in the quality of beer and the family friendly atmosphere. The opening paragraph on the Eight Bridges website encourages people to bring their kids and dogs, and they were very welcoming when we visited with our kids. Upon arriving, we threw out a picnic blanket on the floor next to our table and the kids settled in nicely with some crayons and games from the breweries’ game table. It wasn’t long before the brewery dog also made himself comfortable on the blanket, which our kids absolutely LOVED. At one point our 2 year old actually followed the dog back behind the bar counter (where the dogs bed was) and the people working at the counter just smiled and chatted with her. We quickly brought her back to our table, but it was so nice to feel like it wasn’t a nuisance for our kids to be acting like kids!

Eight Bridges Brewery in Livermore and 9 other places you can drink beer with your kids
Making ourselves comfy at Eight Bridges Brewery in Livermore

Check out my post on our visit to Livermore for some family friendly wineries as well as an enjoyable hike that is easy enough for the kids, but also stroller-friendly if you want to bring along a backup plan.

Kid-friendly Brewery in Alameda

Faction Brewing, Alameda

Faction Brewery offers a taproom with barrel tables, a huge outside patio that welcomes dogs and your kids’ scooters, food trucks, and San Francisco views. On hot days, the inside is a perfect place to relax over a beer while your kids play endless games of Skee-Ball. Feel free to bring your own snacks – Faction also offers servings of nuts, chips and jerky, plus a food truck is always on deck serving food from salads to soul. Check their food truck schedule if you’re picky.

Faction Brewery Alameda
Faction Brewery Alameda is fun for families | Photo: Anna Azimi

What did I miss? Any family friendly breweries with excellent beers that I forgot to include?

Also, are you familiar with untapp’d? It’s a fantastic app for your phone that allows you to search a specific beer or brewery to see how other beer drinkers have rated it. I find it extremely helpful when visiting a new brewery since you can see the best rated beers and avoid some of the more questionable experimental beers that are sometimes on tap.

Thanks so much for your tour of East Bay breweries, Audrey. We loved it! Keep up with Audrey at her blog.

[All photos by Audrey Hall unless otherwise indicated]

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12 thoughts on “East Bay breweries where kids can have fun, too”

  1. Awesome list! We love these places, too. If you’re visiting Drake’s in San Leandro with kids, the San Leandro Marina is nearby and is an under-appreciated gem. Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline is also nearby (and virtually hidden in a pretty industrial-looking area) but is dog-friendly, has a pretty flat trail, and offers great views of planes heading to/from OAK.

  2. Add Ale Industries in Fruitvale to this list! 3096 E 10th St, Oakland, CA 94601They have great beer (Oh, the Cherry Kush!), are carbon neutral (fueled by BioDiesel), are a test site for reclaiming their wastewater, have stacks of games, including a small bowling set, and host an Arts & Crafts (beer, that is)/Drink & Draw event on Sunday nights. Crayons, coloring books, colored pencils galore. Plus they are right next door to the best taco truck in the East Bay, El Novio behind Guadalajara Restaurant, and you can bring your tacos to the brewery. I would go for the beer alone, because it’s great, but everyone’s happy here. Plus, pretzels. And they are super nice. It’s my favorite place to drink beer with the family.

  3. I agree with Faction in Alameda. And although a winery versus a brewery, Rock Wall in Alameda is amazingly family friendly, also. Both have great views and chill vibes.

  4. Definitely missed Ale Industries in Fruitvale. Just about 1000 ft. from Fruitvale Bart, or two taco trucls away. They make their own dog treats from spent beer grain and the puppies, babies, and food are welcome. They have a beer for every taste, guest bottles, locally made ciders, and if you’re DD they homemade & guest craft sodas as well.

  5. Westbrae beer garden in Berkeley needs to be on the list for parents with toddlers that need more than games to keep them entertained. With a separate playground, its equally fun for the kids and parents. Good rotating taps, happy hour, and discounts if you ride your bike there. Hoping to find more places like it.

  6. Ocean View Brew Works. We have a giant Connect Four game, a whole collection of toys and games, and we often run events that have something for the whole family.

  7. 21st Amendment in San Leandro is literally around the corner from Drake’s and had plenty of space for kids to run around (and some cornhole sets to keep them entertained)

  8. I love that these establishments are family friendly. However, and these places would never say this. So I’ll say it for them. Family friendly does not mean letting your kids run around unsupervised. A parent needs to be at the childs side at all times. There are other patrons to be considered. Enjoy your beers everyone.

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