Best (and Worst) Bars When it Comes to Kids

Based on where I go, which is basically Fort Collins, Loveland, and Longmont, Colorado. YMMV.

You parents can move along right now. This is NOT a list of “child-friendly” bars to take your kids. Quite the opposite. As a matter of fact, if you are taking your kids to a bar, you need to hand in your parent card, right now. You suck, and I hate you.

For the rest of you, read on:

LOVELAND, CO

Best:

The Sports Station – I don’t see kids in the bar side often, but when I do, 99.9% of the time, they are quiet and well behaved. The bartenders don’t put up with bullshit on the bar side, regardless of age, so in general this is a nice, friendly neighborhood bar that does not try to cater to the Chuck E Cheese set. Plus, Dave and Beemer are awesome bartenders and this is clearly the neighborhood hangout (and yes, this is MY hangout – I’m sure you guessed that by the fact that I know the bartenders by name). So color me biased, but honestly, if there were annoying kids in here, I would NOT be in here. And most of you who know me know my low tolerance for that kind of bullshit.

Pourhouse – You’ll get a caterwauling kid on the restaurant side from time to time (thanks, asshole parents, for not taking the kid outside – we all LOVE to hear your kid screaming at the top of its lungs) but so far I have NEVER seen a kid on the bar side. Granted, it’s all one big room, but generally kids are few and far between here. Plus, the bartenders are a riot.

Generations – An excellent martini bar. So far (and it hasn’t been open long, so FINGERS CROSSED) I have not seen a child here. It’s not exactly a child-friendly place (THANK GOD). And, they just opened their patio, so that is totally full of win. Not too many patios in Loveland. As a matter of fact, I think the Sports Station is the only other bar in Loveland that has a patio (and an excellent one, until the train goes by!).

Worst:

Henry’s – Allows kids to belly up to the bar. I sit at the bar to get AWAY from the kids, and they let them pull up the stool next to me. Not only allowed, but encouraged, with a hearty “Oh, hi honey, what will you have?” as if they are a local. This has happened to me twice now, and I will never, EVER, spend another dime in this bar as long as this is allowed. Which is too bad, as the food and service is excellent. But I cannot abide sitting at the bar next to little Trendleigh. That is wrong on so many levels I cannot even start, because I’ll die before I’m done ranting about it. Too bad for you, Henry’s, because I’m a really good tipper.

Next Door Food and Drink – EVERY freaking time I’ve been in here some asshole has a screaming kid in tow. I find this amazing, based on their menu and prices. Well, maybe not. Most of these caterwauling brats are pre-solid food. Apparently, their parents are pre-common sense. I’m not too keen on going here again, which is a shame, because (AGAIN!) I’m a good tipper and I love, love, LOVE their pork belly bites. Goddamn crap parents.

FORT COLLINS, CO

Best:

Mulligans – BEST REUBENS EVER! Kids do tend to be on the restaurant side, but the bar side seems to be safe. I’ve never had a screaming running kid on the bar side. Go to the restaurant side, you’re on your own. It’s generally not bad but if you pick the wrong day you’re totally screwed. And did I mention, BEST REUBENS EVER??? Trust me, I’m a Reuben connoisseur.

And, now I’m hungry.

Austin’s – I can’t speak for the downtown location, but the one on Harmony is awesome. The bar side is to the left of the door (HUGE restaurant to the right, but the dumb parents can’t go THERE, can they?) and it has several small tables to sit at as well as the actual bar. I was sitting at the bar reading and some dumbass mother tried to belly her seven-year-old up to the bar, and the bartender shook his head, pointed to the tables, and told her that no, her pweshious could not sit at the bar, and she should to go over there.

I could have kissed him. I SHOULD have kissed him. He is my hero. And if this is SOP for this place, I need to go there more often. That was awesome wrapped in excellent topped with supercool.

Worst:

Island Grill – OMFG, if you want to be drinking in a daycare, this place is for you. Which is sad, because at the time I frequented this place, not so long ago, it was within walking distance to my house. But every freaking time I went in this place there was a caterwauling, obnoxious child (or, God forbid, CHILDREN) running all over the place. A couple of the worst examples were the three or four kids playing hide and seek in the bar (NOT KIDDING) and the two super pweshious snowflakes tearing the straw off the walls (beach themed bar) and turning the neon signs in the window on and off. Not only was this allowed, but a friend of mine tried to complain and was basically told they’d rather have the brats than the good tippers. Well, there you go. Thanks for the warning. Too bad, too. It was a really nice bar.

LONGMONT, CO

Best:

Mike O’Shays – I’ve seen kids, but since this place is basically always packed to the gills they can’t run around. I’ve never had to give the stink eye to anyone, either. And, they have an Atkins-friendly menu, so I love them for that. So far, so good.

Worst:

Oskar Blues – Jesus Christ on a jumped-up cracker, do NOT EVER sit on the patio if you want to remain sane. Child friendly does not even begin to cover it. It’s a shame, too, as the patio is awesome. Problem is, they put in a “volleyball pit” which has become a giant sandbox. For the kids, yanno. Because bars are an EXCELLENT place to let your kids play. I LOVE their habanero wings, but I have to constantly weigh that against the entire bar being littered with screaming, crying, running, and shrieking kids. I really do love the wings, so I go there about once a month. I’d go more often, but I can’t deal with the daycare atmosphere. Too bad, OB. Again, I’m a good tipper. You lose.

Pumphouse – Love their hot wings, hate their “kids rule the world” policy. They have a defined bar and restaurant side, and yet they consistently allow all kinds of crazy-ass behavior by kids on the bar side. I blame the fact that they installed video games over there. I have seen the WORST crap parent behavior there – things I would not believe existed. They have an awesome back room with leather chairs/couches and tvs, but the air hockey table is right by it, and the “parents” think it’s an extension of their living room. I refuse to sit back there anymore, after being babystalked and having to deal with the shittiest parenting I have ever seen. We sit at the bar or we don’t go. Period. It’s a shame. Again, WE ARE GOOD TIPPERS. Clearly you’d prefer screaming, running kids to good tips. Thanks for the heads up.

Anyone got anything to add to the list? Post in the comments below.

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Out and About in Downtown Loveland

So, as many of you know, I moved to Loveland from Ft. Collins about 6-7 weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been cruising the ‘hood, looking for hangouts and checking out the local eateries. Here’s what I’ve found so far:

Coffee houses:

Just discovered this one today: The Coffee Tree EXCELLENT atmosphere, EXCELLENT coffee, and the Anthology Book Company is attached. Seriously love this place, and the egg nog whipped cream is to die for (yes, I blew my Atkins diet for this. It was worth it. Just sayin’.)

Dazbog Coffee This one is in the building I live in and it’s awesome. Great service, a couple of little “nooks” to hang out in to chat, and, of course, RIGHT DOWNSTAIRS. Gotta love that. Oh, and the coffee is really, REALLY good.

Bars:

The Sports Station Awesome wings, (AWESOME WINGS) great atmosphere, awesome patio in the summertime, and they always put the Avs game on. Love this place.

The Pourhouse – Chili that is to DIE for. Great atmosphere, and a really interesting and delicious appetizer menu.

Henry’s Pub – Great pub atmosphere, great service, cool place to hang out. It’s generally packed at lunchtime, and they have awesome specials.

4th Street Chophouse Awesome atmosphere. A bit pricey, but the food is great. GREAT.

The Black Steer You HAVE to see this place. The 60’s are alive and well here. The decorations are late 60’s western cheesy, they put Chex in the salads as croutons, and it’s seriously a blast from the past. You can either dine in the front or go to the “Rear of the Steer” and OMG it is all over retro awesomesauce. You have to go there once just to experience it. You will either love or hate the cheesy goodness. Frankly, I love it.

Breakfast:

Loveland is quite honestly lacking in breakfast choices. Or, I got REALLY spoiled living in Ft. Collins. Either way, there are some good places to go.

Sofia’s EXCELLENT breakfast, and they also do lunch and dinner, and tapas. They have a great patio for summer dining. Definitely a must!

The Breakfast Club Good food, fun atmosphere, and has a sister restaurant in Ft. Collins. No bad meals here!

Heartland Cafe – It’s the local hangout. They don’t even have their own website, as far as I can tell. However, place is a little backwater but the food is good, and it seems to be a favorite of the locals. I like it.

Still working on some other venues, but that’s what I’ve got within walking distance so far.

Snooze, An AM Eatery. Yeah, it’s AWESOME!

Keith and I recently discovered Snooze, an AM Eatery and Oh. My. God. It’s AWESOME.

Let’s start with the fact that they have a pancake of the day. A PANCAKE OF THE DAY, YOU CARBOHOLICS!!! If you like pancakes, you MUST check this out. They are creative in the extreme!

Also, ANYTHING on the menu can be modified to your tastes – they tell you this up front – if you don’t want potatoes (I don’t) you can get fruit. If you want no syrup, no sauce, no whatever, they’ll do it. Seriously, you name it, they’ll do it. They pride themselves on the fact that YOU are in charge of what you get for breakfast.

We’ve been several times, and I must say, I have NEVER gotten a bad meal there. ALL the food is excellent, the staff is super-friendly (the guy we had last week, I WISH I could remember his name, was BORN to be a waiter – he clearly LOVES his job and he was over-the-top awesome) and the decor is right up my alley – Rat Pack 50’s diner chic. It’s supercool.

There’s always a line out the door, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. If you’re in the area, definitely check it out!

Breakfast in Ft. Collins – My Picks

I love going out for breakfast on the weekends. Keith and I have a couple of favorite weekend haunts that I’d like to share with you all.

Right now, my current addiction is Dempsey’s. Their omelette, aptly called The Best Thing, is freaking fantastic (and, it’s what I ALWAYS order). Actually, I have trouble finding anything on this menu that isn’t absolutely delicious. The service is friendly, the ambiance is nice for a weekend breakfast (it’s especially fun in the summer to sit outside and watch the train run down the middle of Mason St.) and it’s positively my all-time favorite breakfast place. One of our servers (who always remembers that she and I share a name; I believe she is one of the owners as well) always remembers that I get “the usual” and always has a witty comment to make on it (I love a good sense of humor, especially in wait staff – how cool is it you can have fun while you work?).

My #2 pick is McCoy’s Morning Glory. Tory and Jen really get to know their “regulars” (Keith and I have been going there since not long after they opened) and they are both just absolutely awesome people. They always remember details about their regulars and always ask how things are going when they see us. Just really wonderful people all around. Since we’ve been going there forever, we’ve noticed that their employees seem to stick around, and that speaks to how well they must be treated. As anyone should know, if your boss treats you well, you’re more likely to stay in a job. I think Tory and Jen have mastered the art of treating their employees like family, which is evidenced by the fact that I see a lot of the same faces year after year. I’ve even watched one guy go from bussing tables to a pseudo-management role, which tells me they fostered his career and really gave him an opportunity to grow with the business. Really, I can’t say enough nice things about these people.

The food is great, the service is awesome, and the decor is lovely – it’s a general garden theme, and they’ve done a great job of it.

Both these places are near to my heart because they are local, owner-operated, and bring customer service to a whole new level. Definitely check them out when you get the chance. You won’t be sorry.

Martini’s Bistro – A New Favorite

Saturday, Keith and I and a couple friends of ours went to Longmont to see the play “Over the River and Through the Woods” (great play, by the way – if it ever comes to a theater near you, I recommend it) and decided to do dinner at Martini’s Bistro beforehand.

If you haven’t been, definitely go. The food was great, the martinis were excellent, and best of all, the locale doesn’t really lend itself to small children. They have great happy hour deals and the ambiance and decor are fantastic. This place is definitely on my must-go-again list.