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Beer Halls Give Last Call to Baby-Friendly Drinking Scene

By Meredith Hoffman | March 19, 2013 7:10am | Updated on March 19, 2013 8:44am

WILLIAMSBURG — Brooklyn bars are giving the baby drinking crowd a last call.

Though Williamsburg beer halls welcome kids — and parents in need of a drink after a hard day of calming tantrums and navigating city streets with strollers — they're setting strict curfews on the way-underage set.

The no-kids-after-8 p.m. policies are designed to help keep evening drinking sane for adults who don't want to feel they're imbibing in a preschool.

"Radegast and Spritzenhaus have curfews for the babies," said neighborhood mom Courtney Brett. "It's great for all of us, because what baby is going to stay up past 8 p.m.?"

Brett and other young parents who were drawn to the neighborhood for its nightlife have created their own day drinking scene, filling Radegast and Spritzenhaus in the afternoons with their toddlers, Brett and other residents said.

"We've had moms' group meet-ups in bars," said Brett, echoing a tradition that's long been common in Park Slope, which is heavily saturated with young families.

"Radegast and Spritzenhaus are good because a lot of other places around here aren't baby friendly."

Yael Eisele, who often takes her 5-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter to Spritzenhaus on afternoons because "it's pretty empty, there are big benches and there are always kids there," said she'd faced resistance from some single bar-goers who claimed her kids were out of place.

"Someone at Spritzenhaus once said to me, 'I don't drink my beer in the playground,'" recalled Eisele.

"People go out and relax, and I get it, not everybody wants to have kids around, especially if [the kids] are going crazy."

Staff at the two beer halls maintained that babies were welcome until the later hours of the evening. Radegast is open until 8 p.m. for under-age customers, and Spritzenhaus asks kids to leave at 7 p.m. 

Brett, part of a 90-member Brooklyn mothers group with only Williamsburg moms who gave birth this fall, said all the "hipsters" who had kids in the area needed somewhere to go.

"These bars are loud," she said as she held her son Henry down the street from her Kent Avenue apartment. "It's great because if your baby starts crying, nobody can hear it."