It sometimes feels like if you want to go out for lunch and ensure that the kids are entertained, you are doomed to eat in crappy cafes at kid-friendly attractions, or destined to dine at Spur. Well it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some Cape Town restaurants where kids can play while parents enjoy lunch – and a decent beer selection!
The Club House @ Claremont Cricket Club
While the beer selection isn’t magnificent (Jack Black Lager and Bing’s Bru on tap alongside Castle et al), The Club House is a marvellous spot for a family lunch. Not only is there a jungle gym and bouncy castle, there are vast lawns (also known as a cricket oval I suppose) for the kids to run around, play football on (and indeed in the case of one very young diner, pee on – you know it’s a family-friendly spot when…). The menu offers much more than burgers and pizzas (for both adults and kids) and there is a magnificent view to top it all off with. This is set to become one of my favourite sunny day spots.
With excellent Italian food and one of the best kids’ play areas in Cape Town, Massimo’s has long been popular with families. While the beer range is minimal, you can enjoy draft Jack Black or CBC with your pizza, plus a few more offerings in the bottle. The food is superb and the play area is enclosed, so you can eat, sip and be chilled while the kids play.
Blue Water Café
One of Cape Town’s most family-friendly places for a beer, Blue Water serves Brewers & Union bottled beers plus Lakeside on tap. As well as the kids’ play area, there’s the petting farm next door, horse and carriage rides and for the parent who’s left happily sipping while the other one strokes pigs and sidesteps goat poop, there are simply delightful views. The food isn’t bad either.
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There aren’t a great deal of places offering upmarket food as well as a kids’ play area. Open Door does both. It’s not a cheap lunch – main meals start at R105 (onion risotto) and go up to R230 for springbok loin. The kids menu likewise isn’t cheap – R80 for chicken nuggets and chips – and is actually a little disappointing. My advice – get them a bowl of chips. The chips are magnificent and probably the best thing to come out of the kitchen. There’s CBC and Jack Black on tap though and an interesting range of bottled beers on the menu including a few from Innis & Gunn, &Union, BrewDog and even a couple of Baladin Beers (though whether they have stock of the latter is another matter). The kids’ play area is fabulous, built from wood and featuring springy animal thingies and a tractor as well as the usual jungle gym. It’s a seriously kid-friendly place and staff patiently step over the piles of toys that little ones inevitably unpack on the deck. The only downside is that the gate to the play area is inexplicably around the side rather than leading off the deck where all the parents are sitting.
The Nest Beer Garden
I would go out on a limb and say that Eaglevlei Wine Farm has one of the biggest/best indoor kids’ play areas in the Western Cape. And perhaps the best thing about it is that you can sign your kids in then go and have a quiet lunch. As well as the main restaurant, there’s The Nest, an outdoor beer garden serving a few different pizzas alongside beers from Stellenbrau. The best bit is that under 18s aren’t allowed in so you have to drop them off at the play park while you eat/sip.
Crammed between Main Road and the train tracks in St James, Octopus’ Garden has a super beer garden with a rustic play area (including a tree house that parents can’t keep out of). On tap you’ll find the whole range of Boston Breweries’ beers, though tweet at them first to find out if they’ve recently supplied any Rock Hoppa – arguably the best beer in the range.
Forries has long been a top choice for families in the ‘burbs. Their kids’ area, like the rest of the pub, has had a recent upgrade and the fact that it’s separate to the rest of the garden eliminates that whole ‘are my kids annoying everyone’ type angst. On the beer side, there’s a lot of macro lager (Castle tank beer, Heineken, Black Label, Stella) plus Guinness, Paulaner, Newlands Spring and a few craft beers including CBC and Jack Black.
This is an ongoing list. Please feel to recommend spots to add to the post. I will only include them once I’ve visited. Get in touch with your favourite place to drink beer while the kids play…