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30th Birthday Party - with children

This isn't for a few months, but people have started asking about it, so I guess I should start planning.

My partner turns 30 in June, and I want to do something special to celebrate. The only problem is that many of our friends and family members have children (mostly under the age of 4). So, it has to be somewhere where children are welcome.

My first thought was a day trip to the Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier in Kittery - which is fun and festive, and not too expensive since it's BYOB. You can also stay and hang out for a while, or go over to Portsmouth after. Obviously that's pretty far away, though. Is there anything like that closer to Boston?

Other thoughts are a surprise party at a bar somewhere in Boston / Brookline / Cambridge / Somerville - though it'd have to be either during the day or early evening. Crazy to think about outdoor space now, but is there anywhere with a nice patio or backyard area?

Mostly just brainstorming now - any and all ideas are welcome.

Thanks!

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  1. How big a group are you thinking (adults plus kids)?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Allstonian

      Good question - likely about 15-25 people total.

    2. Flatbread in Davis Square? Good with kids, tasty and festive, and you can bowl!

      5 Replies
      1. re: rebeccact

        +1 on that. pizza is decent and it's noisy enough nobody cares if the kids are howling. :)

        how many kids?

        1. re: rebeccact

          Great idea. I've gone to two similar parties there and it seemed to work out well: Daytime party with kids (pizza, bowling, beer), and non-kid people meandering around Davis for dinner/more drinks afterwards.

          If you do decide on this, I'd make arrangements soon, though. Literally every Saturday afternoon I've been to Flatbread, there has been a birthday party of some sort going on.

          1. re: LeoLioness

            I'll add another vote for Flatbread, but add two other potential options:

            -Atwood's Tavern in Cambridge has an excellent patio that is pretty kid-friendly in the early afternoon. I've also seen large parties (25-30 people, w/kids) take over the back room during the afternoon.

            -Cambridge Brewing Company's patio is pretty kid-friendly in the afternoons.

            Speaking of patios, I know Flatbread got zoning approval last year to add a 76-seat patio. Not sure what the status of that is,but if they're still doing it, perhaps it'll be open by june?

            1. re: huuvola

              Thanks, all - Flatbread is such a great idea that we had his birthday party there last year! It's definitely along the lines I'm looking for, though. Maybe something slightly more 'special' if that's possible with toddlers in tow.

              1. re: huuvola

                Giant +1 on Atwood's patio. It's a really nice space.

          2. Go to Danehy Park in Cambridge (gazebo area next to playground, you may need a permit) and get takeout from Gran Gusto across the street or a picnic from Formaggio.

            1. What about a Boston Harbor Islands ferry ride to Spectacle Island, and a party there with food from Summer Shack? I'm sure it would be somewhat pricier than the Lobster Pier, but it would fit the bill of being more of a special event, the boat ride is pretty short with a great view of Boston, and of course the whole thing would be outdoors.

              Might be tough if there are infants in the group -- though anything is tough for parents of infants -- but based on experience with my nephews it's a great day out for any kid 2+.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kenner83

                could see whether Alive 'n Kicking in Cambridge would let you book it's whole little funky patio - bring desert, order lobster rolls and steamers - or try Sullivan's on Castle Island - fried clams, hot dogs, lots for kids, beach at your feet.

              2. If you really have to have the kids maybe Summer Shack + Kings would be cool.

                1. Sweet Cheeks' patio is pretty no-frills but it it fun and festive. Kids would definitely be welcomed and I'd rather have one of those biscuits than a birthday cake!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: bear

                    Is the sweet cheeks patio right on the street? is there a gate? I'm just imaging toddlers chasing each other around right into the street.....

                    1. re: Madrid

                      Good point. I don't think there is a gate.

                      1. re: Madrid

                        It's not really a "patio" just tables on the sidewalk right on Boylston. I don't think there's a gate but I could be wrong about that.

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          A group of eight of us ate their in the very early fall, and there was definitely a metal rail/fence around the area so it felt at least a little separate from the street. It probably wouldn't be good for toddlers since I'm pretty sure there wasn't a gate. I don't think a gate would make sense in the space since it might discourage curious potential diners.

                          It was a few months ago, though, so my memory is a bit fuzzy, and there aren't many pictures on line.

                    2. another option would be Kimballs in Westford, Its pretty pricey, not sure how many would be in your party but I went there last may for a work event of my husbands, it was a private tent (there were 4 or so other tents in the same geographical area) Our outing included a food buffet and a make your own sundae bar. the adult beverages were pay as you go but other tents seemed to have an all inclusive. Ours came with free reign of all activities, bumper boats, mini golf, driving range. One of the other tents had a bounce house adjacent, the must have ordered. definitely something different but seems better to me for a large crowd.

                      1. I think you probably have to decide if you want to prioritize the food or the atmosphere/activity possibilities. Based on your Maine thoughts, maybe doing a beach day and hitting one of the North Shore seafood locations would work? Woodman's?

                        The other thing about June (or any month really) is that it can be wet and cold. (Speaking from the experience of having to wear a sweater at my own late-June wedding.) So especially with a lot of little kids involved, you need to know that if you plan a patio event and it's raining they'll also be able to accomodate you indoors.

                        Finally, as for travel, we've had times of such difficult sleep situations with our little ones that we're kind of protective of nap time and bedtime so if anyone were to invite us to something that was a far drive or that overlapped with nap time we would really have to think about whether we could do it.

                        1. If you are having it on a day when the Red Sox are out of town the Fenway area would probably work well. Audubon Circle has an enclosed back yard patio and is fairly quiet on non-game days. There is also a large communal table inside you could take over.

                          1. Okay - so the time has come that I actually need to act on this.

                            I think I'd like to book somewhere with a patio or some sort of private outdoor space. We'll likely do afternoon / early evening, if that makes a difference.

                            I love the Atwoods idea, though we've been there a lot, so it's not really exciting / interesting. That said, I'm definitely considering it.

                            I'm also going to look into Audubon Cirlce, and maybe go talk to Bronwyn - I think their patio would be great for this.

                            Any other restaurants/bars with nice outdoor space (hopefully in the back - not just tables on the street) in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, Arlington, Medford... maybe even a little further afield? Anywhere within 30 minutes or so of Somerville, really.

                            Thanks!!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: nyc_to_ma

                              Bronwyn is a good idea, if they'll let you do a private party in the biergarten. Jenny Ondioline and I celebrated our anniversary with dinner at the bar last weekend, and I was pleased to see a couple of family parties at the big tables in that room.

                              One caveat - they're now open for Sunday brunch (11 to 2:30) but otherwise don't open until 5 PM.

                              1. re: nyc_to_ma

                                ester has a quite nice back patio but my one experience with the food was all over the place.

                                They have a good kids menu

                                1. re: nyc_to_ma

                                  Art Bar at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge should be on your radar screen. Their patio out back is great. It overlooks the Charles and there's a walking path along the river towards the Longfellow. The patio is very spacious. And they have a kids menu with PB and Js, grilled cheese, etc. The place gets busy during the summer after work, but if you go before 5 (and chat with the management) it may be a great choice for you. It's a special location, that is for sure. And I'd feel safe with little ones there.

                                2. scampo has a very secluded patio and can do pizzas or simple pastas for the kids if they are fussy eaters.