Boom in family friendly pubs
WHY PERTH NOW CATERS FOR KIDS
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