5 Family-Friendly Places to Have a Drink in Des Moines


family friendly barsI distinctly remember bringing my one-month-old daughter to Confluence Brewing and honestly getting zero dirty looks. One of the many reasons I love Des Moines is that there are plenty of family-friendly restaurants and bars. Parents can enjoy an adult beverage in public without shame. 

Little baby Merritt Smith at his first Drake basketball game.

One of the bravest mom things I’ve ever done is take my 2-week old son out with my 4-year-old daughter to a Drake basketball game, while also recovering from a c-section. I thrive on human interaction, and I needed to get out and see my Bulldog people.

Other parents get it, but I also don’t exactly care what other parents thought. That being said, we do seek out restaurants that will make the juggling act of two kids a bit easier for us. I reached out to some fellow warrior moms to bring you a list of kid-friendly places in Des Moines where you can enjoy a drink (and feed the kids, too).


5 Family-Friendly Bars in Des Moines

The Hall, Valley Junction in West Des Moines

The Hall is a great place for a big family gathering. There are tons of food and drink options to satisfy the unique tastes of any family member. In the summer the outdoor beer garden is a great spot for families. 

Confluence Brewing, 1235 Thomas Beck Road, Des Moines

Confluence Brewing has plenty of space to spread out, a mountain of board games, and when the weather is nice, a gorgeous patio off the bike trails. Not to mention, the smell of delicious beer being brewed. The spacious venue and tasty beer are what keeps us coming back with our kids. One modification I suggest is that they add a changing table in the bathrooms.

My sister with my son in a bar.

Smash Park, 6625 Coachlight Drive, West Des Moines

This place is HUGE! There are so many fun things to do at Smash Park including pickleball, cornhole, shuffleboard, bocce ball, ping pong, foosball, arcade games, board games, and more! Some areas are for 21 and over only, but there are plenty of spaces to hunker down with your family and have some fun. In addition to a full bar, there is a lot of delicious food.

Jethro’s BBQ, Various Locations

We love taking our kids and extended family to any Jethro’s location in the metro. There is consistency in the menus, coloring for the kids, and a lot of TVs to distract the babies. Being locally owned, we always know that a college game will be on a TV to watch while keeping the kids entertained.

Uptown Garage Brewing, Ankeny

I haven’t been to Uptown Garage Brewing yet, but other moms told me there is ton of outdoor space for bags and free play, and they also have an area with toys for kids and board games for the big kids.

What places would you add to the list? 

If you need a break from cooking, check out our guide to Kids-Eat Free options in Des Moines and our favorite local patios

kid-friendly bar

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Niki Smith
Niki grew up in Earlham, Iowa and now lives with her husband Ryan, daughter Riley, and son Merritt in Johnston. Riley has an observant stare that inspired the Facebook page Riley Is Not Impressed. Niki is an assistant director of public relations, social media at Drake University where she runs the university’s main social media accounts. She is also the director of the world-famous Beautiful Bulldog Contest. She has an Olde English Bulldog named Dexter, but he is ineligible to compete because she already knows he’s the most beautiful bulldog. She serves as President on the Board of Directors for Animal Lifeline of Iowa, which is a special needs, no-kill animal shelter. Niki is a two-time graduate of Drake University with a bachelor’s in journalism (2008) and a Master’s in Communication Leadership (2015).


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