Cafes with kids

Remember the days when you could linger over your latte in a café, lost in reverie as you planned your day. Or when your choice of meeting spot for a catch up with a friend was guided only by the quality of the coffee and the food and not the availability of changing tables and buggy sized entrances.

Can’t remember? I barely can. A three year old and a baby and the accompanying sleep deprivation will do that.

Luckily, there are plenty of places in Sligo and the surrounds where you can get your café fix and you don’t have to leave the kids behind either.  Here are a few favourites, in no particular order.

  1. Pudding Row, Easkey. Gorgeous café, great coffee, locally sourced and organic food. High chairs, changing table, a kids menu and plenty of space so you don’t feel like your little ones are on top of the solo diner beside you.  A shelf with books and toys is a nice touch, and the staff is very welcoming. It’s upstairs, but a little gate at the top of the stairs keeps little feet securely in the café area.  The sweet treats are amazing, and not placed right in the eyeline of the younger kids.. so you can pay at the till and pick up a delicious treat to enjoy later. Or you can pay the toddler tax and hand over some of the sweet stuff to him. Your choice!
  2. The Model Café. Sligo. The café occupies a huge, light-filled space in the Model Art Centre. It’s a short walk from the library, so great for a break while the kids peruse their book choices. They also sometimes have art/play installations that are a big hit with little kids. Coffee is good and there’s a decent light lunch menu. Regular events such as Sligo Global Kitchen and the Informal Music Afternoon (on the first Sunday of the month) are family-friendly, and an opportunity for you to feel like you still have a social life!
  3. Osta.  One of my favourite spots in Sligo for a coffee is outside Osta, looking out towards the river, the sound of the weir providing a soothing auditory backdrop. You’re partly covered so there is some degree is protection from the elements, and kids are more than welcome inside too (high chairs, changing facilities, smiling staff), if you need to retreat from the weather.
  4. WB’s coffee house on Stephen St is also an easy post-library stop. I’m told they do a great baby-chino for sophisticated little café-visitors, their coffee is good and it’s big enough for the buggy. Currently undergoing renovations, so looking forward to checking out the makeover.
  5. The chef at Nook café in Collooney recently won best chef in Sligo in at the Irish Restaurant Awards. While my three year old may not appreciate that, you will appreciate that she has not forgotten about the kids in preparing the food. They have a really high quality children’s menu, and the food for the adults is pretty amazing too. All the usual stuff for kids too, including high chairs, changing table, and staff who don’t blink at the amount of food debris that makes its way onto the floor.
  6. Shells in Strandhill is an obvious choice for a post-beach walk coffee and you won’t be alone with your funsized entourage here- there are always plenty of parents with kids. They also have a funsize menu, so you can have your plate of delicious breakfast/lunch/dinner all to yourself. It gets very busy on sunny weekends, but you can also grab a takeway coffee in the little shop and take in the sea views while the kids investigate the beach or the famous Strandhill Cannon.
  7. Also in Strandhill is Mammy Johnstons, good for a pancake and ice-cream treat for the kids while you get your caffeine fix. It’s huge, lots of room for lots of kids (and there will be lots of kids, and the accompanying noise levels). Pancakes are adult portion sized though, so I recommend ordering one between two kids, and if you want to avoid demands for even more sugar than the ice-cream provides, avoid the seats by the colourful display of old-style sweets stretching up to the ceiling by the pancake counter.
  8. Not a café, but The Drafthouse in Strandhill come highly recommended for kids. They have the usual in terms of high chairs, changing facilities, but also have toys, books, colouring stuff, and staff who are happy to see you and your littles. Kids eat free on Friday evening, with a special menu too, so could make this the perfect end to the week!
  9. I’ve only been to the Little Cottage Café in Rosses Point once, but I am a fan. I was made feel very welcome with baby and three year old (who had demanded a café and a scone after just two minutes on the freezing beach). Probably gets busy on sunny summer days, but it’s so cosy and welcoming that you’ll feel warmed up inside even in mid-winter.
  10. Special mention for Hearts Desire (Aka ‘Tony’s’) in Stephen St Car Park. A snug space, that’s not targeted at kids particularly (no high chairs or changing facilities- you’ve been warned), but it has some of the best coffee in town, and there is always someone to have a chat with, if you’re feeling in need of some adult conversation. Because some days you need to talk about more than dinosaurs…

Other hidden gems of baby/child friendly cafes we should know about Let us know!

Thank you so much to Mairead, a blogger based in Sligo for this guest blog post – we hope you enjoy this post as much as we enjoyed reading it. You can find Mairead here.

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