Washington State Liquor Control Board laws are pretty perplexing when it comes to a kid’s ability to be in the vicinity of alcohol: minors can’t enter bars, but if a restaurant bar is separated from the dining room by a rail or half-wall (reference Elliott Bay Brewery, Mezcaleria Oaxacal, and Presse) they can. Parents can also bring their kids to tasting rooms, and with the recent explosion of breweries in Ballard and beyond that’s good news for business owners.
Seattle-area tasting rooms radiate a casual vibe that feels more like Portland than Portland. They’re the closest thing adults have to an ice cream shop: The pace slows down, everyone is chatty, and the stray wild child running in circles becomes a spectacle instead of an annoyance. Want to see for yourself? Try these local beer-centric spots:
Sitting on a quiet side street off Stone Way, Fremont Brewing Company’s tasting room is packed on Friday nights. Inside, you’ll find patrons sipping pints around a giant communal table while kids take turns riding a creaky old carousel horse and rifling through a toy bin. There’s a giant bowl of pretzels provided by the brewery, but most hungry patrons carry in their dinner, be it a slice from Pagliacci or something from a nearby food truck.
Georgetown’s Two Beers operates tasting room the Woods Tuesday through Saturday. While it’s cozy all year long, the Woods is at its best on nice days when the space extends to the dock. There are half a dozen growler-filling stations, a dozen taps, and basic pizzas and peanuts available for purchase. But when food trucks roll in on Friday nights during the summer the scene really comes alive.
Peddler launched in the former Maritime Brewery location in Ballard last month. The owners completed a fresh interior remodel before opening, and the bright, airy tasting room includes a bar serving a big variety of brews and parking for nine bikes. Kids can also check out the on-site bike workstation.
If you’ve ever stopped in Chuck’s Hop Shop on a Friday night to grab dinner from Where Ya At Matt and a growler to go, you’ve witnessed a true cross-section of the neighborhood demographic, including a gaggle of 30-somethings, kids, and inevitably a couple of dogs. Chuck’s isn’t a brewery tasting room, it’s a convenience store-meets-pub stocked with 1,000 bottles. Two food trucks fill lunch and dinner shifts throughout the week, and there’s Full Tilt ice cream for dessert. Capitol Hill and CD families take note: A second Chuck’s location is about to move into the neighborhood.