Editor’s note: This article has been revised from its print version.
It’s not illegal for adults to bring young children to taprooms, but it doesn’t always work out well. Matt Czigler, of Czig Meister Brewing in Hackettstown, last year set a policy of adults only after 8 pm. “During some of our busiest hours,” he explains, “we had tables of kids playing board games. We had parents that treated the tasting room like a Chuck E. Cheese, where they just let their kids run free.”
Czig Meister is one of six Jersey breweries or brewpubs I know of that have set limits on adults bringing young children. Another is Ghost Hawk Brewing in Clifton. “Our brewery is family friendly,” says vice president Steve Bauer. “Two of the four owners have kids. We have Jumbo Jenga blocks, Capri Suns in the fridge, and fun kids games, like Operation. However, we want our brewery to be more focused on adults Friday and Saturday nights. That’s why we have ‘Adult Swim’ hours after 7 pm. We’re not stopping people from bringing kids, just encouraging them not to. Get a babysitter and go on a date; stop by the brewery for a drink; then go to dinner and a movie. We haven’t had any problems with kids, but we think kids shouldn’t be at a brewery, or any restaurant or bar, at 9 pm.”
Twin Elephant Brewing in Chatham limits kiddies to Thursday and Fridays, 4–6 pm, and weekends, noon–4 pm, provided they are (says the website) “accompanied, well behaved, clear of the handicapped entrance and monitored responsibly.” Krogh’s, a brewpub in Sparta, allows kids until 10 pm. Eight and Sand in Woodbury admits children, but bars them from sitting at the bar. Source Brewing, about to open in Colt’s Neck, plans to limit mezzanine and rooftop access to adults.
Do parents blithely accept these limits? Go ahead, take a guess. In other states, some breweries have reined in kids, only to face social media blowback and even threats of lawsuits. That may help explain the response to a survey sent on my behalf by the informational group New Jersey Craft Beer. Of 25 responding breweries, 24 essentially said, “No problem!”
“We have games, a chalkboard wall and always make room for strollers,” wrote Chelsey DeMarino-Ziolkowski of the Bradley Brew Project in Bradley Beach. “We very actively welcome kids.”Click here to leave a comment