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I got wet, Mama!

25 Aug
I got wet, Mama! by melissajonas
I got wet, Mama!, a photo by melissajonas on Flickr.

Before the kid, Georgetown was our go-to destination. There are a handful of very good bars on Airport Way. Unpretentious, reasonably priced, good food, excellent beer and lots of pinball. Also, alas, almost all 21+ only.

Don’t despair, parents. G-Town has plenty to offer for those of us dining & playing with ankle biters. Sylvia’s Friday routine (in this order, always): Circus School, sushi, playground and the beer store for a be-bop.

Circus School is SANCA. Amazing instructors, classes for all ages.

The Cutting Board is delicious and very reasonably priced. Lots of veggie options, too. They welcome kids & even have small plastic cups & child-sized chopsticks. Bonus for the digger-obsessed: there’s a HUGE construction project underway–lots to watch.

Georgetown Playground is one of the few SE Seattle playgrounds with a spray park AND mature trees.

Georgetown Brewery fills growlers fast & cheaply and will give your kid a lollipop if you ask.

Other places where kids are allowed in Georgetown: Calamity Jane’s, Stellar Pizza (aka Stella’s), Dog’s Dream pet supplies, and Full Throttle Bottles. We occasionally visit Fantagraphics and the coffee shop (salted dark chocolate covered graham crackers–yow!). I haven’t tried the newer diner.

Lottie’s Lounge

17 Jun

Geraldine’s is a default destination for breakfast/brunch for the parenting crowd in SE Seattle. I enjoy the bright colors & comfort food at Geraldine’s, but even before we had a kid I couldn’t handle waiting in line. Now it’s not an option; if there’s not a table available when we arrive, we find somewhere else to go.

What many parents don’t realize is that Lottie’s Lounge–right across the street–also allows minors. Brunch is good and generally not nearly as crowded. The staff are welcoming and the stage space is perfect for playing with cars or coloring at the table. Bloody Mary Brunch features 6 Bloody Marys and 6 takes on the Mimosa. Good stuff.

I usually prefer to make my own brunch because I can eat in my pajamas and let the kid run around in the backyard. When I go out, it’s for early dinner (aka Happy Hour). This is where Lottie’s really shines. Specialty cocktails that change seasonally and good beers on tap. Good food to nibble while you enjoy your drink(s). Ingredients are locally sourced, fresh, and often organic.

Lottie’s happy hour runs from 2-6pm daily. If you’re out with a non-foodie kid (and/or you really like dairy), they have a heavenly mac & cheese, cheese bread and/or grilled cheese sandwich. The hummus plate is  a dependable choice and all their sandwiches are good.

Plan ahead: there isn’t a changing table or flat surface for changing diapers. Bring a cushy blanket (or use your jacket) and use the floor if you must. Take stinky diapers home with you. It’s not a big space, so if there’s any kind of crowd please fold your stroller & stash it. Lottie’s is a lounge–understand that while kids are allowed outside the bar proper, it’s not aimed at families. It’s a watering hole. As always, please tip generously, keep your child contained & entertained and–for the love of all that’s holy–clean up after your kid. I’m going to say it again: tip generously.

Before or after your Lottie’s treat, explore the rest of the area. There’s a lot to love in Columbia City: nice library, cute toy store, outstanding kid’s consignment shop and a fantastic farmer’s market. The Seattle Gymnastics Academy has a variety of ways to tire your kid out. Avoid driving if you can, because parking is tough. It’s a pleasant walk from the light rail station to the business district (especially in nice weather). Columbia City boasts at least a dozen very good restaurants and a growing number of venues to see live music. Good times for all ages.

Happy Nap Hour!

23 May
Happy Nap Hour! by melissajonas
Happy Nap Hour!, a photo by melissajonas on Flickr.

Best of all worlds: sleeping baby, beer, books.

Inner Chapters was fantastic. I wish the owner all the best with her new baby. Thanks for the great times!

Cafe Flora

14 Apr

Cafe Flora is my new (rediscovered) favorite place.

High chairs/booster seats: More than I’ve ever seen in one place.

Happy hour: oh yeah. One of my favorites. 3-6pm, good prices on great selection of small plates, plus drink specials.

 

Activities & safety issues: Good selection of toys and crayons. Kid books for sale. The fountain is both entertaining and potentially dangerous. Near the arboretum and Birth & Beyond.

 

Food/drink (for kids and adults): Great vegetarian food and incredible cocktails.

Transit access and/or parking: 2 lots, one about a block away. Street parking if you’re patient. I’m not a fan of transit to Madison Valley, but there are buses.

Accessibility for strollers & little legs: Please leave the stroller outside. Walkable for toddlers & bigger kids.

Restrooms and changing table: Comfy inflatable changing table, step stool for washing little hands.

Overall welcome (or not) towards kids & babies: Unbelievably friendly. Not just tolerant, but welcoming and engaged.

Beer makes us better parents

19 Oct

We live just about a mile from Jefferson Park. Baby fell asleep walking over there yesterday, en route, so we stopped off at Victrola for coffee–yum! When we arrived at the park, she was still asleep, so we strolled around the park and watched the big kids tumble down the slide. Still asleep…what to do?

After a brief debate about why we’ve never gone there, we decided to check out the Jefferson Park Golf Course snack bar. Cue celestial singing–they have NFL Sunday Ticket! And beer! And fried things! Children are allowed! This is exactly what this Beacon Hill family needs. Baby gets to enjoy the park, mom and dad get to unwind with a frosty cold one.

Becoming a parent shouldn’t mean giving up the things you love. I love football and beer. Baby loves happy parents.

  • Location & hours of operation: (206) 763-6412 4101 Beacon Ave S Seattle, WA 98108;
  • Transit access and/or parking: parking available, walking distance from the Light Rail Station or take the #36 bus
  • Accessibility for strollers & little legs: no stairs
  • Cost: reasonable (less than $10)
  • Activities & safety issues: walking distance to Jefferson Park, golf & mini golf on-site, televisions
  • Food/drink (for kids and adults): Beer, wine, cocktails & snack food (cheeseburgers, fries, etc)
  • Restrooms and changing table: table in women’s room, not technically a changing table but it works
  • Overall welcome (or not) towards kids & babies: very family friendly

Orca adventure

14 Oct

We took advantage of the incredible sunny weather today and went on an Orca adventure. Light rail to University St. Station ($1.75), then a short walk to the ferry terminal. I didn’t have a plan, I just knew I wanted to get on a boat in the sunshine!

Choices at the terminal include Argosy Cruises, WA State Ferries (Bainbridge, Bremerton, and Vashon) and the King County Water Taxi (aka West Seattle Water Taxi). I’d like to take a day trip to Bainbridge, but I need more information about what’s accessible without a car.Pier 55 on weekdays, Pier 50 on weekends

The Water Taxi goes between downtown Seattle and Seacrest Park in West Seattle. It’s only $3.50 ($3.00 with an Orca, kids under 5 ride free) and a 10 minute ride.  It’s currently operated by Argosy, so look for their signs.

It was a pleasant ride, especially nice on the upper deck. There’s a small snack bar–helpful if you’re hungry and also a good way to break larger bills. The Water Taxi requires exact change.  I used my Orca card, which was much more convenient than digging for change–plus I saved $.50!.

Once we were in West Seattle, I ordered some delicious fish and chips from Alki Crab & Fish Co. If I had done my research, I probably would have asked for the order to go and hopped back on the ferry. In the future when traveling alone with baby, I’ll jump back on. If I’m with a friend and it’s happy hour, I’ll hit the deck for something yummy–the drinks menu looks good. Excellent fish and chips, reasonably priced, great view. Very friendly staff and every customer cooed over the baby.

Note: there is no changing table and the restroom is an unheated park restroom. I changed the baby on the grass in the sun, but on a rainy day you’ll be limited to a wet concrete floor or inside the restaurant. Not good choices.

This was a fun outing with baby, but would be even more fun with an older child. My 9 year old niece really enjoyed the trip last summer, and pronounced the tartar sauce at Alki Crab & Fish “the best!”

Pinball, beer, and baby

11 Oct

When my friend’s first child was born in 2005, our weekly pinball dates ended. We didn’t do the research to discover baby-friendly pinball venues. I’m happy to report that with my own baby I still enjoy the fwap of flippers, and there are many pinball palaces that welcome children. My scores are a little lower when I’m wearing the baby, but that gives me motivation to practice. Venues in bold serve alcohol.

Where do you like to play?

Full Tilt Ice Cream 3 locations: White Center, Columbia City, University District

  • Pinball, ice cream, and beer. All ages, live music & other special events. Fun, inexpensive, low-key.

Beth’s Cafe 7311 Aurora Avenue North Seattle, WA 98103-5356

  • 24 hours (attention, parents of newborns: why not go out at 2 a.m.?), diner food (including their famous bottomless hashbrowns). No alcohol.

 

Pinball at Stella's in Georgetown

 

Stellar Pizza and Ale House (Stella’s) 5513 Airport Way Blvd S Seattle, WA 98108

  • Kids allowed on one side only. One pinball machine accessible to minors.
  • Full menu–great pizza, lots of kid-friendly choices.
  • Full bar & many outstanding beers.

Hurricane Cafe 2230 7th Ave (7th & Bell)

  • A bit seedy, but several good machines
  • Full diner menu & full bar
  • 24 hr; great place for teens after an all-ages show (with supervision–it’s seedy)

Calamity Jane’s 5701 Airport Way South, Seattle, WA 9810

  • Really, really good food & full bar with great beer and wine
  • A couple of machines

Sureshot 4505 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105-4510

  • Coffee shop with some awesome old machines in the back room

Seattle Waterfront Arcade, at the south end of the waterfront

  • Arcade games, pinball, and a carousel

Seattle Center has some pinball machines in the arcade area. There are two places with beer in the Center House.