Waco’s family-friendly brewery game is strong. Our small urban town has Waco-born originals where you’ll find a family-friendly atmosphere and craft beer.
Two things bring me joy—writing and drinking with friends and family. So, writing about family-friendly breweries in Waco made me happy. I was cheerful to step up to the challenge. Happy to do the research.
I know all about Waco bars, pubs, wine bars, and restaurants, but I am new to breweries. So, I’ve wanted to explore Waco’s breweries for a bit, and this was the perfect excuse.
I found one brewery that is more family-friendly than the others, but they are all fun, have good food and good craft beer, and are worth researching for yourself. And I recommend them all. They all have outside brewery grounds and are dog-friendly, as well. One even allows you to bathe in beer!
And for that one person who doesn’t know that I am outdoorsy (as in I enjoy drinking outside!), our Waco-born breweries all have outside drinking areas, some better than others, but they all have a place to gather outside and enjoy craft beer. The beer gardens also make these breweries more family-friendly.
A little beer garden history
Beer gardens began as lounging, family-friendly outdoor spots that encouraged patrons to relax and linger at the brewery. As they developed in America during the 1840s through the 1870s, food, music, games, and other entertainment often were part of the attraction.
And beer gardens in Waco continue this tradition today.
We have a new brewery in town, from far away, and yes, it’s also family-friendly.
Pivovar is located in the historical “New Katy hotel” building near the railroad tracks at Eighth Street and Jackson Avenue and next to the Magnolia Silos.
Inside Pivovar, you will find a brewery, restaurant, beer garden, Czech bakery, and a hotel with a beer spa that has 28 hotel rooms and copper tubs—full of beer. Yep, you can bathe in beer.
The main floor of the building, in the restaurant, showcases the traditional Czech brewery specialized for bottom-fermented Czech Pilsner lagers.
Pivovar, meaning “brewery” in Czech, has a delicious menu that will delight all, featuring Czech and American dishes. You can dine inside on green leather chairs, surrounded by wood, or out in the beer garden staring at the silos. They serve four types of Czech lagers, brewed in-house ranging from Light, Premium, Vienna, and Dark lagers, using only noble hops and malt imported directly from the Czech Republic. And they serve wine and specialty drinks from the bar, as well.
Old World has come to Waco. Go Czech it out!
Southern Roots Brewing Company
Southern Roots Brewing Company, founded in Waco, is located at 219 North 8th Street and was my first (and favorite) brewery in Waco. And it is indeed family-friendly.
During my afternoon at the brewery, several families were eating (and partaking) and having fun playing Jenga, table hockey, and other games. The brewery has a shelf-full of board games and wooden games like tic-tac-toe.
Southern Roots is also dog-friendly, inside and outside.
The atmosphere is a big part of the brewery package, and it is very comfortable—a sit-and-stay-all-afternoon type of place. And that is precisely what we did. The stills in the taproom add to the atmosphere.
“We pride ourselves on southern hospitality, family, camaraderie, good eats, and great craft beer over all else,” as seen on their website.
They have an inviting outdoor space that I will be visiting in the fall when the Texas heat simmers. It has shade trees, chairs, tables, and more games to work up a thirst. This beer garden is family-friendly, for sure.
Southern Roots has a pleasing menu that involves wings and pizza, among other beer-drinking foods. The pizza was worth returning, and of course, the beer as well.
If you’re not a self-identified beer cicerone (I am not!), they will find a draft you will enjoy. I’m a wine drinker 90% of the time, but I also enjoy a Coors Lite or a Guinness (extremes, right?). They recommended the perfect-for-me Southern Roots craft beer, and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed several, actually.
They also have flights so that you can drink your way to your new favorite.
Southern Roots puts their heart into their craft, and it shows.
“We set out not to be beer snobs but to be the most accessible and engaging craft brewery for all of our guests.”
And I believe they achieved this because it can be intimidating to admit you are new to craft beer, but they made me feel at home and comfortable.
I will be a return customer.
Brotherwell Brewing, located at 400 E. Bridge Street in Waco, is family-friendly like the other breweries I mention here. In fact, their website states and encourages bringing the kids. So, pack the kids and the dog and bring them to Brotherwell, and the kids and pups can play in the large yard at the beer garden.
They also recommend you bring lawn chairs, blankets, and games and stay a bit. They provide tables and patio umbrellas, but if you want to spread out, bring your own. Food trucks rotate for your munching needs.
The beer at Brotherwell speaks for itself. Many Waco-owned restaurants and bars serve Brotherwell on tap. But if you want to see the locally-made craft beer in its habitat, you’ll want to visit the taproom.
They also serve flights, which I recommend.
You can also visit and partake in Brotherwell beers at the Eastside Market once a month.
Waco Ale Company
Waco Ale Company, located in the heart of downtown, at 806 Austin Avenue, was my third adventure into craft beer in Waco.
I’ve driven down Austin Avenue many times, seeing people on the small patio drinking ale and laughing. And I’ve always wanted to check it out. So again, for the sake of research.
My first impression of this brewery—the happy people that served me. They couldn’t be more glad to hand me their craft beer.
While I saw only one couple with a baby in a stroller, this might be a brewery you would get a babysitter and enjoy it without the kids.
The food offered on the menu looks and sounds fantastic, although I did not try it. The menu is vast (go to their Instagram and see how good it looks!) They offer flights and bites (what could be better?) or full meals. I’ll return to try their food.
Bare Arms Brewing
Bare Arms Brewing, located at 2515 LaSalle Avenue, is where I continued my research.
Known as the first brewery in Waco, Bare Arms Brewing is a family-friendly brewery, too. And dog-friendly, as well. Still, I would recommend another babysitter so that you can better enjoy your craft brew.
The taproom offers a shelf full of games to pass the time while you pass the pints. They have tables outside and food trucks, but the atmosphere seems to gear towards a younger (I should say older, non-parental crowd). The event room looks inviting, too. So, again, get a babysitter and enjoy yourself.
They offer trivia nights and axe throwing. (perhaps not family-friendly?). But what’s more fun than beer and sharp blades?
What I learned about all five breweries in Waco—they are all about community. Is this a Waco thing or a craft brewery thing? I don’t know, but I like it. These people love their craft and want to share their beer with Waco and Waco’s visitors.
If you want craft beer, a fun atmosphere, and a family-friendly spot, and some food, all four of these breweries are great options. If it’s your very first foray into craft beer, or even if you’re a connoisseur, you’ll find something enjoyable to drink at all four breweries. If you want to bring your children, they all have outdoor areas, some better than others, some more family-friendly, but they are all welcoming.
I recommend all four and would love to hear which brewery is your Waco favorite. Waco’s family-friendly breweries are worth checking out, and I hope you do. Happy drinking!