Boom in fam­ily friendly pubs


The Sunday Times - - NEWS - Trevor Pad­den­burg

PUBS are be­gin­ning to look more like child­care cen­tres in WA as own­ers seek to at­tract more par­ents with young chil­dren.

While coun­try winer­ies and brew­eries have long been known for their play­grounds and sand pits to keep kids en­ter­tained while par­ents drink and dine, Perth metropoli­tan pubs are now go­ing child-friendly in a big way.

And for­get sim­ple swings and sand pits. As com­pe­ti­tion for the lu­cra­tive par­ents-with-tod­dlers mar­ket in­ten­si­fies, venues in­clud­ing pubs, brew­eries, restau­rants and cafes are up­ping their game with furry an­i­mals, wa­ter pis­tol bat­tles, board games and en­tire play rooms.

Among them is East Perth’s new­est venue, Em­bargo on the Point. Co-owner Matt Pound said he’d in­cluded a kids’ room with ball pit, bocce green and games such as Scrab­ble, Jenga, Con­nect-4 and hop­scotch, to keep young­sters en­ter­tained while their par­ents have a drink or a meal.

“My busi­ness part­ners and I all have kids around the same age and we re­alised we needed to cater for other par­ents who are look­ing for things to do and places they can go with the kids,” he said.

“We’ve got a whole lot of things for chil­dren to do, so the par­ents can re­lax and know their kids are play­ing and that they’ve got some other kids to play with.”

Bur­swood’s Blasta Brew­ing Com­pany has a ded­i­cated kids’ play zone with sand­pit, black­boards and chalk, games and puz­zles, while The Hen­ley Brook in the Swan Val­ley has in­tro­duced a kids’ wa­ter pis­tol fight ev­ery Satur­day in an area dubbed the “soak zone”.

Other­side Brew­ing Co has ta­ble ten­nis for young­sters and teens, Lit­tle Crea­tures in Fre­man­tle has re­lo­cated its sand­pit and stocked it with toy dig­gers and bull­doz­ers, while at the Park­erville Tav­ern kids can min­gle with roam­ing emus and chooks.

Un­der WA law, chil­dren are al­lowed to go into pubs and brew­eries if ac­com­pa­nied by an adult.

Aus­tralian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion WA pres­i­dent Dr Omar Khor­shid said he had no prob­lem with pubs tar­get­ing par­ents with chil­dren as long as the venues were safe for

young­sters and did not ex­pose them to risks such as cig­a­rette smoke.

“Restau­rants and pubs shouldn’t be fam­ily-un­friendly en­vi­ron­ments,” Dr Khor­shid said. “A well-run li­censed res­tau­rant or pub should not only be safe and com­fort­able for men and women, but where ap­pro­pri­ate, chil­dren as well.”

The move is be­ing echoed by li­censed venues across Perth and in the re­gions where “ac­tiv­i­ties and nov­el­ties for fam­i­lies and chil­dren” are be­com­ing com­mon, said Aus­tralian Ho­tels As­so­ci­a­tion WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Bradley Woods.

“Par­ents are far more likely to en­joy time at their lo­cal pub if they can do so know­ing there are ar­eas and ac­tiv­i­ties to help keep their kids safely en­ter­tained,” he said.

Bar room ball: Aisha Pound with Law­son, seven weeks, in the kid zone area at Em­bargo On The Point. Left: Matt Pound with daugh­ter, Frankii, 3. Pic­tures: Daniel Wilkins

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