Kansas City has plenty of kid-friendly restaurants and bars to enjoy with the whole family
Going out with little ones doesn't have to mean sacrificing a delicious meal or cool atmosphere. These Kansas City-area coffee shops, restaurants and breweries offer comfortable spaces for parents and caregivers to enjoy their time out of the house with the wiggly bunch.
This story was first published in KCUR's Adventure newsletter. You can sign up to receive stories like this in your inbox every Tuesday.
Let’s face it: Parents and primary caregivers need to get out of the house, too.
Sometimes you want a nice meal or craft beer, but don’t want to go through the hassle of hiring a babysitter. Fortunately, Kansas City has an array of kid-friendly drink and dining options — and by kid-friendly, we don’t necessarily mean for kids.
While your kids aged 8 and over might be able to handle themselves at most restaurants, toddlers, babies, and younger children require the right combination of factors, including a kids’ menu and a wide-open seating area where they’re less likely to disturb other guests.
It goes without saying that you should still respect the environment and ensure that you are watching your kids closely in all of these spaces.
While you can technically bring your child to most restaurants, not all of them quite fit the vibe. Some eateries and breweries are better for families than others, and you should probably head to a park if your little one wants to run wild.
Here are some spots to grab a beer, bite, or coffee in Kansas City that both kids and adults are sure to enjoy.
If you have ever been to a brewery on the weekend, you have likely noticed that the place is packed with kids. My theory is that breweries give parents an opportunity to enjoy a drink — and feel like an adult — in an environment that does not feel too much like a bar.
In contrast to dark, intimate pubs and dives, breweries are often bright, social spaces with large windows and high ceilings. Many of them have large patios with benches, which makes them a good place to head with a bigger group.
Servaes Brewing Company in downtown Shawnee wins the award for the most “fun-for-the-family” brewery. They have an entire “kid zone” with free juice boxes, fruit snacks and toys for a range of ages. While you enjoy one of their brightly-colored beers, like the Dreams In Color Coffee Berry Sour, underage visitors can try one of their rotating roster of Aaron’s craft sodas on draft.
Kids are also welcome at Boulevard’s massive, 10,000-square-foot Beer Hall. There is plenty of elbow room if they want to explore while you try one of Boulevard’s seasonal or small-batch offerings that you can’t find in stores, like the Gin Barrel Aged Spruce Tip Ale. The space includes a large outdoor deck with good views, and make sure you take a family picture inside Boulevard’s photo booth, which is located inside an old camper.
Torn Label in the Crossroads brews well-known local favorites like Alpha Pale Ale and Monk and Honey Belgian Ale. Their tasting room also offers the chance to try elotes or churros from Tacos Valentina, which operates out of the Torn Label kitchen. (KCUR’s Up To Date also listed Tacos Valentina as one of its favorite affordable dining options in the metro.)
KC Bier Co. is a beloved neighborhood bierhall in Waldo. Situated alongside the Trolley Track Trail, there is a lot of outdoor space for a kid to play while you enjoy a traditional German lager or a refreshing nonalcoholic Hop Spritz. They also have a food menu that includes pretzels, bratwurst, and macaroni and cheese.
Last year, Vine Street Brewing opened in the Historic 18th and Vine District as Missouri’s first Black-owned brewery. In addition to being recognized as one of the nation’s 19 best new breweries of 2023, the historic building has ample space for kids and adults alike. Their giant patio is a perfect destination for a warm evening. They also sell food from two Black-owned companies, Secondhand Smoke and Deez Nachos.
When you go out with kids, noise isn’t a “maybe,” it’s a certainty. But that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, because plenty of Kansas City establishments won’t be disturbed by noisy toddlers.
Electric Park Garden Bar at J. Rieger and Co. Distillery in the East Bottoms is an outdoor bar with swing tables and fire pits. Inside the distillery, the Monogram Lounge on the building’s second story also has cocktails and decadent bites to eat, like the jumbo Heim Pretzel smothered in warm cheese. Smaller children might be disappointed if they aren’t yet big enough to use the lounge's two-story slide.
Trust me on this: The hot, Friday night spot for parents is Whole Foods at 51st and Oak streets. The Fountain Room bar has a wide selection of local craft beers, and you can order a pizza or eat macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes from the hot bar. There are also fresh oysters for $1 a pop if you are feeling fancy. A jazz band plays on Fridays, and the dining area makes a great dancefloor for toddlers.
Everyone in the family will be happy after a visit to Lenexa Public Market, a sprawling food hall with a range of food concepts and drink options. Cosmo Burger serves up smash burgers, Sohalia’s Kitchen has Pakistani and Indian dishes, and African Dream Cuisine offers traditional West African meals like Kongla fried rice and fried sweet plantains.
On Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m., Lenexa Public Market hosts a family night with kid activities and dinner specials. On Jan. 17, they'll have bingo 5-7 p.m., hosted by Lenexa Parks and Recreation. You might meet some new parent friends there!
For other food halls with a similar vibe, check out Strang Hall’s location in Overland Park, or the outdoor Iron District food hall in North Kansas City when the weather cooperates. Parlor KC in the Crossroads is a solid option during the daytime, but it swiftly turns into a bar when evening hits.
It is a win-win-win situation when a delicious restaurant has both great drinks and a well-executed kids’ menu.
Rye Kansas City offers standard kid fare like mac and cheese and grilled cheese, but more adventurous little ones can order fried shrimp or a mini chicken dinner. Fried chicken is Rye’s specialty, but if you go for dinner you can also order a steak and craft cocktail. They have locations on the Plaza and in Leawood.
Brady & Fox is a family-friendly Irish restaurant near 63rd Street and Rockhill Road. Adults can have a properly-poured Guinness and Bangers and Mash. Their kids' menu can introduce your child to Irish cuisine with food like kids’ fish & chips or cottage pie. The space is also very large and open.
Mission Taco Joint makes the list because their kids’ menu has an adorable mini burrito, as well as smaller sizes of tacos and quesadillas. With Kansas City locations in South Plaza and the Crossroads, adults can enjoy a margarita or tiki drink, and more eclectic tacos, like the hot fried chicken taco.
Spin! Pizza has eight locations in the greater Kansas City area, including Crown Center, South Plaza, Lee’s Summit and Lenexa. Adults can enjoy a glass of sangria and a “mini mia” pizza and salad meal, and a kids’ meal includes a mini cup of gelato. Bonus: Kids 12 and under eat free on Sundays with the purchase of an adult meal.
If you aren’t sure what to eat for dinner, head to Nick and Jake’s in Overland Park, which has an extensive kids’ menu that includes both baby back ribs and peanut butter and jelly. They have a large beer and wine list, and their food selections feature steak, buffalo wings, and barbecue shrimp and grits. They also have locations in Shawnee and Parkville.
For more options, KCUR’s Up To Date previously compiled this list of the best kids’ meals in Kansas City.
For any outings with kids, your best bet is a patio. When the weather turns warmer, you can head to The Campground in the West Bottoms. Their large outdoor patio has walk-up service where you can order select cocktails, beers and accessible food options like a burger. Keep an eye on their social media this spring to find out when they open.
While this could also fall into the “brewery” category, Brewery Emperial in the Crossroads is almost entirely a patio. Their scenic beer garden is tucked away behind an eclectic fence constructed partially from shipping containers. Brewery Emperial offers a kid’s menu with crowd-pleasers like grilled cheese and fries, as well as a large adult menu with rotating specials.
Nearby, Grinders has an enormous outdoor area that doubles as a music venue. Suffice it to say, when the weather is nice, there is plenty of room for kids to dine without disturbing anybody. They have a large beer list and a food menu that has been featured on Guy Fieri’s Food Network show "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives."
Tiki Taco at 54th Street and Troost Avenue has a great patio and the noisy street is good for muffling the sounds of loud children. They have a fun drink menu with cocktails like margaritas and tiki drinks, as well as virgin cocktails. For food, they have affordable burritos and tacos with creative fillings like sweet chili shrimp.
Rock and Brews in Overland Park is a rock 'n' roll-themed chain with more than 50 beers on tap. Inside is decked out with concert posters and other music paraphernalia, and outside they have a roomy, covered patio. They have a kids’ menu, as well as a solid bar and grill menu for adults. It’s a great option for lunch after a visit to the nearby Museum at Prairie Fire.
Coffee shops and brunch spots
If you want to take your kid for a brunch date, Banksia in South Plaza is an Australian bakehouse with vegemite on the menu. For brunch, you can order a cappuccino or a mimosa. They have a full breakfast and lunch menu, as well as a pastry case for a quick, toddler-friendly breakfast. They also have a location in downtown Kansas City.
While indoor space is tight, Mildred’s at 9th Street and Baltimore Avenue becomes a great choice for kids when you can sit on its large patio, which is nestled between two buildings. My daughter also likes to people- and car-watch on the busy downtown street. You can order a brunch cocktail or coffee drink, and Mildred’s has good pastries and breakfast items like quiche or a chipotle breakfast wrap.
Blip Roasters in the West Bottoms is a good place to grab a quick drink with your kid in tow. They have an extensive beer and coffee menu in addition to several brunch items and pastries. Bonus: If you have one of those kids who likes to stare at motorcycle paraphernalia, they also double as a motorcycle accessory shop.
Rochester Brewing and Roasting Company in the Crossroads is another one that could have been on the brewery list, but they have so much more. In addition to beer and cocktails, they have a full coffee bar and lunch menu.
Parisi Coffee in Union Station does not have an extensive breakfast menu, but it is a great place to take your kid for a coffee date. If you have a free morning with a little one, you can grab a latte and croissant at Parisi and then walk down the Grand Hall to see the Model Train Gallery. If you would have asked me five years ago, this would not be my first choice for a date activity. But — you know what? — it’s actually pretty fun.