We were on vacation last summer when out of desperation and hunger we stopped by a brew pub for dinner. To be honest there was nothing special about the food or the beer, except I was able to enjoy it. There was no need to break up a fight or placate the baby by pouring sugar granules on the plate like a mini sand pit (don’t judge); no riveting game of “I spy” in lieu of actual dinner conversation because the place had a fully enclosed outdoor play area. That’s right, entertainment for the kids. So simple. So brilliant.
It was nothing fancy or elaborate. There was a small playground area and ping pong tables, hammocks to lounge, a few games nothing special but the kids were in heaven, and so were we.
The first words out of our mouths as we loaded three exhausted kids back into the car, West Chester needs one of these. I’ve floated the idea around to several local parents and we’re all in agreement – whoever can make this happen will make a killing.
While, we haven’t quite gotten to downtown West Chester yet, we are definitely getting closer.
Outdoor Beer Garden Options Near West Chester
Kennett Square’s Creamery
While, there are a lot of places for outdoor drinking, there are few with enough distractions (or space) to keep the kids entertained long enough for you to enjoy that drink in peace.
Last year, Kennett Square’s opened it’s Creamery as a trial pop-up beer garden, and after some back and forth, it is back as a year-round venue with plenty of indoor/outdoor space.
The beer garden, community gathering site is located on what was formerly the Eastern Condensed Milk Company and maintains that rustic, repurposed vibe. The Creamery has food trucks, a full bar (beer, wine, signature cocktails). There’s also, music, corn hole, bocce ball, ax throwing and of course, a kid’s area.
Location: 401 Birch St, Kennett Square, PA
Hours: Thursday through Friday opens 5 p.m. on weekdays, earlier on the weekend. Closes 12 a.m. Friday, Saturday, earlier on other days. See their website for details.
Cost: $7 for a 12 oz beer; $15 for a pepperoni pizza.
Amenities: kids’ area, indoor/outdoor seating, bar area with beer/wine/signature cocktails, standard food offering and rotating food vendors, corn hole, bocce ball, ax throwing, craft area, live music
Levante Beer Garden at Highland Orchards
If you’re not familiar with Highland Orchards it is an operational farm just west of downtown West Chester, known for its pick-your own events — pumpkins and apples in the fall, cherries and assorted berries now. There is also a small playground, some goats and a farm store. Even if you’re not familiar, your kids might be, it’s also a popular “field trip” destination for the Pre-K set.
So what’s new? First and foremost, there is now a Levente beer tent available on weekends. There has also been a second play area added, which I think was completed some time last year. There were outdoor food concessions and a lemonade stand, several more picnic tables and quite a few more parents drinking beer.
We arrived at 4:00 p.m. on a Sunday and it was all quite mellow. The kids climbed, we sipped. The sun shone. The place was occupied but not overwhelmed. It was nice.
The beers we’re a little on the high side – $5.50 for a small, but there was no charge for admission or for the kids to use the equipment. So I would say that’s fair. My one recommendation would be the addition of some games for the older kids, cornhole, ping pong, something. At the place we went to on vacation we had to leave our license to borrow the Ping Pong paddles and ball. It seemed to work.
Location: 1000 Marshallton-Thorndale Road
Hours: Noon till 6:00 every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until September 2nd.
Cost: $11 for two small beers
Amenities: 2 small outdoor playground areas, shaded picnic tables, beer porch, lemonade stand, mobile mess hall, country store with ‘Best of Philly’ Apple Cider Donuts, berry picking (seasonal)
At Highland the playgrounds were a little ways away from the play areas and there were several groups sans children enjoying a post berry-picking beer but that said, is everyone going to be happy with the addition of kids? Probably not.
The Creamery, which has been open long enough to garner Yelp reviews, has both its fans and its detractors.
“Too many children,” wrote Ashley M, in her Yelp review. “There’s no space for people to come without children to enjoy The Creamery. I witnessed a bunch of kids in the bocce ball arena and one girl who got hit in the head with one! I felt like I was babysitting random people’s children who they forgot about, without relaxing and enjoying a beer with which I came to do!”
My sympathies with Ashley are limited. I agree, that parents/guardians need to remain responsible for their children (and I have personally witnessed similar actions in that bocce ball area). A playground or a game area does not equal a babysitter. At the same time – too many kids for you, maybe, find another spot? You are without children, there is no place you can not go. Or wait until 8:00 p.m., they’ll all be in bed.
Overall, I’d say this combo is a winner. Find a nice sunny afternoon and go check it out for yourself.
Have you been yet? Thoughts?
Plus, 5 new restaurants to try and mark your calendar West Chester’s annual music festival is coming up.
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