Kid-Friendly in City Center / Rittenhouse
I'm looking for a spot for dinner on an early Saturday evening (say 6pm) with my wife and a (reasonably) well-behaved 3-year old. We'll be staying at the Mariott right at City Hall and are open to a longer walk or a short cab. BYOB would be great (we don't get that chance in NYC), and thinking something reasonably nice. A number of options pop up in the search (e.g., Matyson, Osteria, Cochon, Melograno and many more) but I can't tell what works with the little guy. Food isn't the issue, as he eats, but we'd probably want a reservation to avoid boredom from a long wait and wouldn't want a place where he would be out of place or bother anyone (i.e., not a quiet date place where any noise is too much).
Also, how would a 3-year old be viewed at a nicer craft beer bar in Philly? Say Monk's Cafe. Again, we are talking early or even during the day, quiet and not bothering anyone. It works in some places here in NYC and not others.
Unfortunately, I think that Monks won't work for you. Its VERY crowded, and very little place to wait. If you want to visit some of the better gastropubs that Philly has to offer, I migh suggest Good Dog, and Standard Tap. And if you are willing to go more far afield Royal Tavern and Southwark.
Jones is the other restaurant that comes to mind for a three year oldl. Upgraded comfort food and ability to accomodating family.
Osteria is a great choice. It is loud and bustling and I have seen kids there on occasion. It's a few blocks north of city hall. In Rittenhouse, I'd suggest Parc. It's also very large and gets quite loud. Also, not in Rittenhouse, but I'd also consider Zahav (upscale Israeli small plates). It's an excellent restaurant, lively and bustling. We've been there with our kids and, while not a "family" place, it was fine. Amada and Distrito also fall into this category. Distrito in particular is fun for a kid because of the decor.
Most of the BYOs, especially in the Rittenhouse area, are very small and much harder to accommodate a kid.
(BTW, it's my pet peeve that people always recommend Jones for kids. My kids don't like it at all. It's more a place for adutls wanting to relive childhood.)
Kanella is a really good Greek-Cypriot BYOB that's about 6-7 blocks from the Marriot. Takes reservations and should be fine for kids. www.kanellarestaurant.com There's a bar across the street with good beer too.
I had an awesome meal at Cochon this past weekend. It gets a little loud so if that's a consideration with the kid you may look elsewhere (though at 6:00 who knows? Maybe it's not as loud.) If you're big on pork, Cochon is the place to eat in Philly, hands down.
Pub & Kitchen would be another good place for an early beer or two (plus good snacks or dinner). Lots of space around the bar to set up camp with a kid and hang out until the 30-yo MBA crowd shows up in the evening.
There are lots of good options and cabs are dirt cheap so you could easily expand your search radius. E.G. a cab to Northern Liberties a couple miles to the North and East of the Marriott brings you close to lots of good beer (Standard Tap was mentioned already) and a few really good byobs too - I really like Koo Zee Doo (Portuguese) but there are other choices up there as well.
I'd ditto the Pub & Kitchen rec for an early drink/dinner. I see lots of folks bring kids in early in the evening, later on is when it gets crazy busy and less friendly for the toddler set.
Melograno would also not be a bad choice for an early BYO dinner - ie, show up just when they open for the night. Won't be a wait at opening and, again, I've seen families in there with young kids without issue. It just gets cramped, crowded and noisy once you get past the first hour or so of service for the night.
Continental on 18th and Chestnut is actually a great place to go with kids, especially early.
Monk's early might actually work for you - and it's not a problem with the kids at that time. But any time after 6:30ish on a Saturday it is going to be packed.
BTW - we LOVE Jones with kids. We have season tix to the Walnut Street's Children's series, and make that our stop after for an 8 and 3 yr old. Totally works for us - but everyone's different.
Monk's after 5pm on most weekdays is a mob scene, too. For lunch it would be ok.
For craft beer, you could try Varga at 10th & Spruce. They have outdoor seating, too (unlike Monk's) and is also open for lunch. Not as many Belgians as Monk's but a pretty great American craft draft list:
I would recomend Parc. I can't comment on the other listed restaurants since I haven't been to them. We took our 3 month old son there for a ~5-6pm reservation. The restaurant wasn't busy at that time. The staff was very accomodating to us. By the time we left 2 hours later the restaurant was busy and noisy. So even if your little guy gets a little fussy no one is going to hear it, unless they are within a couple tables of you.