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Maine’s Family Friendly Brew Pubs
By Libby Miner

Brewpubs have popped up all over Maine in recent years, and I was once naïve
enough to think children weren’t allowed in bars, but now I know that there are
many brewpubs that are family friendly. Let me take you to three of my favorite.

Sea Dog Brewing Company
1 Main Street
Topsham, ME 04086
Telephone: 207-725-0162

Mother’s Day weekend this year we were in Brunswick, about an hour from
Home, and it was close to dinner. My husband suggested we go out for dinner. I
jumped at the chance to think of a place other than the family restaurant
standbys. The first place we tried was too crowded and pricey for a family
outing, so we crossed the bridge on Route 201 into Topsham and went to
Dog Brewing Company
on the Androscoggin River.

Located in the Bowdoin Mill, Sea Dog Brewing is beautifully situated by the
dam. The river intrigued my son, who with my husband, spent a good part of our
25 minute wait watching it from the deck. Inside the dark, busy pub I noticed
remnants of mill equipment remained. With the bar located in the middle and a
majority of the seating to the right, I was surprised when the host directed us left
to a less busy area of the restaurant. Then I realized why when I noticed other
families with small children nearby -- family seating!  

We still enjoyed river views and with less people and activity there was room for
children to stretch their legs without tripping servers. The two video games, pool
table and pin ball machine interested my son. He also had fun lying down in the
wide wooden booth and going under and over the table.

Seadog is a familiar brewery name, but since I don’t drink, I go for the food,
which should be as famous as their name. I enjoyed the Potato Encrusted
Haddock with Dijon sauce, rice and vegetables. Even though they offered a
children’s menu, my son enjoyed French fries from my husband’s plate and
picking rice and veggies off mine. The service was fast, friendly, and attentive
and we were out of there before our little guy wore out. This great experience
caused me to stop and take notice of the opportunities families have to enjoy
good food in the fun atmosphere of a brewpub. The owners know what they are
doing when it comes to the restaurant business. My conclusion: They must have

Gritty McDuff's Freeport Brew Pub & Restaurant
Lower Main Street
Freeport, Maine 04032
Telephone: 207-865-4321

Gritty McDuff’s,
another well known brewery name in Maine, also surprised me
in their appeal to families in their Route 1, Freeport location. I had never been to
Gritty’s until recently when we met my husband’s high school friends one
Saturday for dinner. When we pulled in I wondered if they were hosting a family
reunion or children’s birthday party because the fenced backyard was full of
children playing on a swing set. Since it was a warm day, the outdoor deck
seating was at a premium wait time, so we took to the low lit inside where over
the door it reads: “Blessed Be the Mother that Gives Birth to a Brewer.”

A party of five adults, we could spread out and relax at the long, wooden tables
with benches. We enjoyed the "Stone Oven Nachos" appetizers which were a
meal in themselves, before having sandwiches. They have an extensive menu
including pizza, quesadillas, fish and chips and steak.

While my husband was catching up, I noticed one couple after another with a
baby or young child come in and sit at the smaller tables. With a baby asleep next
to us, toddlers by the windows, and young teens behind us, I felt a little out of
place without my son. Were we in a pub? Like me, other parents must be tired of
the same old fast food.

Jameson Tavern
115 Main Street
Freeport, Maine 04032
Telephone: 207-865-4196

Our favorite pub is the Tap Room at Jameson Tavern, in the heart of Freeport,
next to L.L. Bean. It is not a brewery, but a cozy pub in the back of a building that
has been a part of Freeport’s history since 1779. Jameson Tavern is famous for
being the “Birthplace of Maine” since Maine’s succession from Massachusetts
was signed here. The more formal restaurant in the front of the house serves an
excellent menu, but we enjoy the relaxed bar atmosphere where a tongue-in-
cheek sign over the bar reads, “Hot Beer, Lousy Food, Bad Service.”

We love their cup of soup and half sandwich with chips. Upgrade to their
yummy French fries or onion rings and you’ll be stuffed. They serve quiche,
salads, burgers, steaks and lobster, as well as their restaurant’s dinner menu. Free
popcorn and a children’s menu complete with crayons make this a child friendly

During our last Friday night visit, our son enjoyed the live musician and
watching a game on the bar’s TV. On the back of one booth a sign with a quote
from Samuel Johnson sums up our brewpub experience, “There is nothing which
has yet been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a
good tavern.”

And for families with children, happiness and going out to eat go hand in hand.

About the author: Libby Miner was born and raised in Maine and now lives in
Nobleboro, Maine, in the midcoast, with her husband, Paul, and 3 year old son, Patrick.  
She currently she works on the editorial and proofreading staff at the Maine Antique
Digest. She enjoys reading, writing and being with family and friends, and the occasional
family dining out experience.
Author's three-year-old son in front of SeaDog Brewing Company
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