This is part of an ongoing series titled Mailbag, items readers submit via email or our feedback form. We get a ton of feedback, this is not close to everything (it’s about 4%), but it’s a good sample.
In response to: Top 10 breweries for babies, ranked
“Get your damn kids off my lawn and out of my breweries. If you seriously think that ‘breweries are the new park’ and are an appropriate place to raise your children then I fear for the next generation. Also, if I see your kid throwing rocks in a public place where adults are trying to relax and enjoy an ADULT beverage, I will throw a rock straight back in his face.” – W
“Tell your readers to watch after their little ones while enjoying a cold one. My husband saw a little one heading towards the street at OMB a few weeks ago. Luckily staff grabbed him just before he got there. You can’t count on staff to always be there, nor should you.” – L
“This is why I almost exclusively visit bottle shops.” – J
“Thank y’all for this… so I know which breweries to avoid.” – N
“This may be the most painfully Charlotte headline I’ve ever seen.” – B
“It’s fine to bring kids when as a parent you aren’t a s***head. (1) Stop letting your kids run all over the cornhole boards, they’re not a slide. (2) Stop letting your kids take all the pieces for any game and run all over the brewery with it, no brewery has hide and seek find the game parts. (3) Watch your own damn kids, a brewery is not a babysitter. I’ll trip your little crumb snatcher if it keeps running into me or running by my table every thirty seconds. (4) No, your kid can’t pet my dog, I don’t ask to pet your kid. (5) Lastly, don’t get pissed when your kid comes home with a new arsenal of 4 letter words, it’s a brewery it’s a place for adults there will be adult language.” – S
“Thank you for the list of Top 10 Breweries to Avoid When I Just Want To Be Drunk In Peace.” – A
“Ted, with all due respect to the parents of the world, breweries are BARS!! Stop. Just stop. I love children, but damn! Can the rest of us tie one on in peace with adults? Business idea: adults-only brewery. I’ll check back in after I’ve become a parent and let you know if my thoughts have changed. Until then…. – Sincerely, childless and loving it!” – S
“If they can wear nothing but a diaper at the bar then I don’t see why I can’t.” – T
“Leave your kids at home. Jesus. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us.” – A
“Back in 2012 I brought my then 6-month-old daughter to a brewery here in Charlotte and needed to change her diaper. There were no changing tables in the men’s room and so I changed her on the floor. Afterward I talked to the employee at the bar and said, “You all should get a changing table in the men’s room.” He said, “Uh. Most people don’t bring babies to breweries.” I responded, “Well, maybe that’s because you don’t have changing tables in the restrooms.” I love seeing how far Charlotte has come from that interaction to now reading a ranking of ‘The top 10 breweries for babies’ five years later.” – G
“Families going to breweries is a wonderful thing. They have money to spend and it’s a great way to be outdoors together. Breweries love the business and so do the food trucks or kitchens at these breweries. I moved to Charlotte 2-3 years ago from Denver, CO where breweries are even more common than here. Families were welcomed and actually it was a great way for parents to connect without having to create “parent groups” or other unnatural ways of meeting people. In my opinion, people who don’t think families should be welcomed at breweries are the same people that probably didn’t mind how HB2 set this city back both financially and culturally by 2 decades… Welcome to 2017!” – A
Note: Longer, more intense responses farther down the page…
“I am totally opposed to having a soccer stadium built here due to the fact that the two men who want it can well afford to pay for the stadium and not require any money from the city nor tax breaks. Charlotte needs: (1) Parks – you just mentioned how OMG and other breweries are becoming the “family” park as you just went with your family (2) More hires for civil servants… pools opened but not enough inspectors to get all of them to check the conditions for safety and health hazards until way after the summer season. (3) CMS – more people moving here – awesome – families in all neighborhoods – so what is happening to build more schools? OOPS – we are moving children around so they can be on the bus way to early and get home late. Parents cannot help at local schools if they could and would lessen the wonderful connection of parent – teacher relationships. (4) Roads – do I need to say more?” – H
“I have a love/hate relationship with this place. They have booked good DJs, but the booth is in the wrong place and the light show is WEAK. Not sure how I feel about the Kandy Bar guy taking over, he overprices everything at that place and could make it worse at this location IF he books good DJs. I hope this a positive movement for more EDM in Charlotte, but we shall see.” – I
“Nothing says VIP like EDM, DJs named Blac Youngsta, and the possibility of being shot in the parking lot. Hopefully this becomes a trend and these nightclubs vacate Charlotte.” – F
“We used to have really good DJs come through (Alesso, Calvin Harris, Chainsmokers, Tiesto).” – B
“Was never my scene, but “It” clubs have a definite expiration date. This one was way past it. Best of luck in DFW.” – T
“Well looks like there will be no more shootings at the NC music factory, LOL.” – C
In response to: Beat the heat with these private Charlotte pool access hacks
“Yessss! & stop coming to apartment pools you don’t live at!” – H
“Missed opportunity to bring some attention to the fast-developing North End. The Double Oaks Family Aquatic Center off Statesville is less than 2 miles from Uptown and will cost $1 to enter for all county residents when it opens on June 22.” – S
In response to: Confirmed: Shake Shack is coming to Park Road Shopping Center
“YEEEESSSSS, Jennifer time to bust out the fat pants” – A
“OMGGGGG!!!!! OMGGGG!!!!!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKK” – M
“Please continue to support local business at the Park Road Soda Shop, family owned. They have great burgers, hot dogs and shakes. I hate to see these stores lose business to a big chain.” – K
“Get a clue about what “reasonable” means for the majority of people.” – J
“This is reasonable for BUYING in or near Uptown. It may not be the best price for buying in general but for new construction near the city? Almost every place available in or near Uptown is lease only. As an owner in Uptown, believe me, we searched for a long time.” – B
“I have a condo I’d love to sell for $125-ish in Cotswold but the neighborhood is still trying to bounce back from the housing crash several years ago. My unit likely wouldn’t appraise for more than $100k because the only comps are foreclosures where the units went for $40-$60k. What an effed up market we’ve got in Charlotte right now.” – A
In response to: White Duck Taco Shop is looking to open a Charlotte location
“STOP. First Shake Shack and now White Duck Taco. My heart can’t handle the excitement.” – L
“Oh for God’s sake… NoDa?!? Cabo and Sabor are already there.” – J
In response to: Topgolf developers are gearing up for a fight in University City
“I visited the top golf prior to opening and on opening day.. I must say it wasn’t that loud or “bright.” People need to realize how many jobs it brought just to that one location and the atmosphere is amazing. If they are proposing to give that area a face-lift I am all for it. I went to school at UNCC and that area has gone down hill and is only getting worse. I hope people think twice before protesting growth.” – D
“We NEVER get new or cool restaurants or places like this in the University area! We live in one of the busiest parts of town already! Bring it on!” – L
“Top Golf will be bankrupt in 10 years. They are expanding too fast and when people bore of the place you’ll have a big piece of difficult to develop property.” – J
“The light fixtures alone are worth checking it out.” – E
“Found our new bacon, egg and cheese joint!” – J
“While some apartment communities in University City allow their tenants to sublease the remainder or a portion of their lease, most student housing properties in the area have a strict no subletting policy. This is mainly due to the fact that bedrooms are individually-leased (aka leased by the bedroom, not the entire apartment). I was a property manager for over 5 years at one of the more popular student housing properties near UNCC and I cannot tell you how many times over the years tenants would get caught illegally subletting. Most tenants (college students) will not disclose this information to prospects that are looking to take over their lease for summer. So when a non-resident (the person subletting) is found living inside a unit, the locks are immediately changed. Also, since their name is not on the lease, they do not have a legal right to the apartment and the office cannot allow access. This puts the subletter in a terrible position because most of the time they don’t know that they’re living there illegally and essentially could be displaced for numerous days if the required paperwork is not then completed by the original tenant. Please note that while it may be more expensive and will require more paperwork (on the original tenant’s end), there are ways to have someone legally take over the remainder of their lease.” – L
“Mumford gave y’all the answers developers told him, because developers aren’t going give him the real answer and risk alienating the officials who control rezoning on all their other projects. Or perhaps they have told him, but Mumford can’t say it publicly without angering his bosses. Driggs came close in hinting at “a reality out there we’re trying to avoid recognizing.” That reality is this: the risk developers aren’t willing to take isn’t about rent. It’s about political meddling. I heard this directly from some of the city’s best developers a decade ago about Eastland. The problem wasn’t the site (at least not primarily). The problem was getting into bed with politicians with an agenda. Does that mean city officials are wrong to try to engineer something at Eastland? Absolutely not. We’re not going to get more affordable housing by going free market, for example. But the tighter the reins that the city wants to keep, the longer the process is going to take, in direct proportion. You want affordable housing? (Yes, please.) Okay, give a developer free rein of the site and a below-market price conditional only on producing X percent of the units as affordable, maybe a few other conditions thrown in like park space or a neighborhood school. But once a developer agrees to those conditions, get 100% out of the way, don’t be involved in the process. This also requires getting a proven developer, of course, not the pie-in-the-sky operations they were flirting with on the film studio concept or the Bojangles sports complex – with even the smallest bit of vetting, you could’ve predicted those disasters from miles away. Ludicrous outcomes like that are exactly why some of the best developers won’t even respond to an RFP driven by politicians. The more up-front conditions and the more checkpoints during the development process, the less likely the site will get developed before the next recession. You’re going to see everything around Eastland develop first, and only when market pressures are insanely high will developers come back to fill in the yawning gap at Eastland. Exhibit A: Scaleybark.” -B
Longer, more intense responses to: Top 10 breweries for babies, ranked
“I recently read your s***ty article about the ten best Charlotte breweries for babies and it inspired me to make my own ranking of the top ten Charlotte brews for babies. My first challenge in making the list was to procure a baby that was also a good judge of beer. Finding a baby wasn’t too hard given all of the CraigsList ads looking for babysitters and caretakers, but I was kept getting discouraged as I interviewed with parents and they didn’t seem to understand my question when I asked “I get that I need to bottle-feed the baby, but does he like the good stuff?” The parents would usually ask why I was winking so much and simply ask me to leave. Until I met Elliot and Aimee. They were in a rush to go on vacation and needed a last minute sitter, so their son was a perfect fit. The baby I procured for my taste tests also had all the signs of a well-versed baby beer guzzler; a small head, a smooth ridge between his thin upper lip and nose, and lack of coordination – it was clear this kid had drank some beer while in gestation. Perfect. Now onto the results.
1. Birdsong Jalapeno Pale Ale – After the baby drank this beer, he ate a ton of shelled peanuts – shell and all. It takes a good beer to make you eat a shelled peanut whole.
2. Sycamore Peak Farm Double Pale Ale – The baby liked this beer so much it made him poop his pants. He went right in the suit, like the astronauts do. The real mark of a good beer is that it makes you poo your pants.
3. Lenny Boy Laughing Yogi – This beer is appropriately named as the baby was laughing as soon as he took his first swig. He was also several beers deep at that point, so getting a bit giggly is expected.
4. Unknown Ginger Wheat – The baby wasn’t able to finish this beer, but I liked it and he didn’t vomit after taking a sip of it, so it must be baby-approved.
5. NoDa Jam Session IPA – This beer combined with the Lynyrd Skynyrd the baby and I jammed out to throughout the tasting really set the tone for a fun afternoon.
6 – 10. Sugar Creek’s Mocha Java Porter – Getting the baby to drink more than six beers was tough as he was losing consciousness quickly, but before he passed out I thought he looked like he needed some coffee, so this Java Porter gets the nod for beers 6 through 10.
I hope this list helps, Ted. Maybe one day your babies can take all of their brewery and beer experiences and type them out in poorly structured articles riddled with grammatical errors just like their father.”
There are things in this world that are “opposites” but when you look closely they are equally horrible. People who participate and support one side or the other think they are doing the right thing but in hindsight they often wish they weren’t a part of such a group. So it is with the KKK and the Black Panthers. Or the Christian Right and Atheist Liberals. And I would posit it’s the same with ‘Parents who take their Babies to Bars’ (The PBB) and ‘Adults who Drink at Playgrounds’. Opposite but equally horrible groups. And both acts I believe are deserved of illegal status and being placed on lists where you must register as an offender for the rest of your life! Look, I get it, at one time I was a parent of 2 young kids within 28 months of each other in age. You still want to have a nice beer buzz in the sun on a Saturday. But the deal is when your kids are that small you don’t get to go to bars for a while. You’re supposed to gather with equally laden parents in a cul-de-sac or on a patio and lament the loss of your bar hopping days with a beer from your fridge. Book a beach house with other parents of small kids and take along a 17 year old neighbor girl to watch them while you day drink away your week on the OBX. And when you and the Mrs. want to partake in town you pony up and hire a babysitter and Uber it up. Listen, you can call it a “family friendly brewery” all you want but there are still waitresses and alcohol being served and smoking and bad language and sometimes people puking in the bushes. It’s a bar. Don’t take your children to bars. And if you need more proof of the poor child environment you’re putting your offspring in please heed this story of the last (emphasis on “last”) time I was at OMB; I sat and watched as some hipster’s unleashed dog took a piss in those rocks you mentioned while literally 2 feet away a toddler, also unleashed, sat and ran his hands through those rocks and put some in his mouth. Mmm mmm good. So thank you for the list of places I will avoid this summer. I’m certainly not father-of-the-year but I never took my kids to bars. And when you’re choosing the environments to expose your children to maybe make a memory that doesn’t involve clinking glasses, the smell of beer infused furniture and canine urine coated patios. – R
Can the next article written be Top 10 unfriendly breweries for babies, ranked? That’s where I want to go. Because it worries me that the number of clicks on this article will only encourage bad parent behavior.
Your sentence, “Babies and toddlers are all over the Charlotte brewery scene” is a little more than disturbing. Let’s go through this list again and spot the problems. Although the reason could be summed up with this simple statement, these are breweries where alcohol is sold, kids can’t have alcohol therefore breweries are not meant for kids. If parents like a local beer they should buy it at the store, or get a growler, take it home and invite their friends over to enjoy it in the luxury or their home.
10. Catawba: Shouldn’t increase its baby offerings based on the trend of babies being unnecessarily toted around with their parents to the brewery. A group of us went here the first full weekend they were open, there was one baby and it cried the entire time and the parents didn’t take him outside but continued to let us hear him scream at the top of his lungs. How pleasant for of age, paying customers.
9. Lenny Boy: There is no changing table here, I have seen a baby have their diaper changed on the table, how appetizing. This section of kid activities is laughable, these activities are meant to be used and enjoyed by paying customers.
8. Sycamore: No high chairs and no changing tables, when will parents get the hint. Not to mention once again the kid activities are there for paying customers. Sycamore is always packed, crowds with unsupervised kids equal disaster. Walk the Rail Trail with your son, don’t stop at the brewery, he will love it just the same.
7. Birdsong: I hope the additional comment under the picture ‘if you’re looking for a birthday space’ is meant for those who are having birthdays that have 21 or more candles on their cake. I have seen kid’s birthday’s being held at a brewery and it screams selfishness.
6. Sugar Creek: All the kid friendly criteria seems to be checked off at this one, but were these amenities in place at opening or was this a response to the growing presence of babies and kids? Oh, and once again this is a bar where the main thing sold is alcohol.
5. Blue Blaze: This place was recently robbed at gunpoint, seems kid friendly. There’s a play set here just down the path. Take your kids there and play with them, they’ll thank you later.
4. Legion: The gates and fences here are not there to be a babysitter for parents. And the kid activities are meant for paying customers. I’ve heard people talking about wanting to play a board game but go to get one only to find kids playing with them. Just because Chutes and Ladders and Candy Land are meant for kids at home, doesn’t mean the same here. And I am sure Roots is happy to have their cuisine paired down to a hot dog and pretzel.
3. Free Range Brewing: If there’s a designated kid’s area, I hope the kids and their parents are kept in that area…but oh yeah, I’ve been there and that isn’t what happens. I am sure there is a room or two at home filled with toys and books and art supplies that are lonely.
2. NoDa Brewing Company: Once again hits all the kids’ criteria, but I have been here one too many times where crying is the background noise and parents can’t seem to be bothered to break away from their beer and conversation to handle the tears. I have also seen a child who is table height grab onto the end and knock a stranger’s beer down, no apologies or replacement beer offered by the parents.
1. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery: It may look like the quintessential brewery playground, but don’t be fooled. I’ve seen kid’s birthday parties being held here, and find myself asking why; what activities are there for kids to be entertained with for a five year old’s birthday party? Anything there can be found at a nearby park. And yes, by all means encourage the kids to play with the rocks that they throw and hit of age patrons and other kids with, which usually results in the shedding of tears and sounds of screams. I find silent pleasure when parents can’t roll strollers through the rocks and get frustrated when the wheels get stuck. To base an outing to the brewery around a child’s nap time may highlight that having kids is maybe something you should of held off on.
If parents of young children want to go to a brewery and be able to relax and hang out without wiping snot and changing diapers, why are they bringing their kids? Find a trusted babysitter, leave the kids at home, and join the grown-ups.