There were days long ago. Pre-kid days. Days when we used to go out. At night. And sometimes we’d drink. Where are those days and how do we get them back? And can we bring our kiddos? If you’re longing for those leisurely pre-kid nights, check out the Highland Park Improvement Club’s Corner Bar. It’s Fischer Price Little People and cold beer on tap. Music and dancing, complete with sippy cups and snack traps. Hey, it’s a Friday night where all you have to do is show up. And it’s totally fam-tastic!

What is This Amazing Place?
The Highland Park Improvement Club is one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Seattle. Incorporated in 1919, it’s served the social needs of the Highland Park community for over 90 years. And while some things have changed, the club’s mission remains the same. To build community and have a good time while doing it. And they take this mission seriously, offering classes and events throughout the week. But on the first Friday of each month, the building, that could surely double as an elk or lions or moose lodge, transforms into the Corner Bar. A place where families and community members can gather to eat, drink and be merry together. And by 7:30 pm this place is seriously hoppin’!

Kiddie Korner
What sets this Friday night experience apart is the awesome family-friendly vibe. Wee ones are welcome (yippee!) and the Corner Bar’s got the space to prove it. Divided into two sections, the club’s family area is hard to miss. They’ve got tables full of games and projects for the over 5 crowd. And little play figures that live in plastic houses and foldable barns line the floor, right at toddler eye level. Plus, the added bonus of other kiddos for yours to play with elevates Corner Bar to the next level. It’s twice the parent paradise. Not only do you get to unwindulax, but your littles have built-in playmates. And, guess what? They’re not you. Hooray for community gatherings!

Parent Play
Corner Bar isn’t just for the kidlets. After all, parents deserve a little playtime too! Plan a kid-friendly date night. Trust us, they won’t pay too much attention to you with all the other distractions, so you can enjoy a drink and some conversation that otherwise might be hard at home. Or grab a group and head out together. Minivan caravan anyone? There’s plenty of room to seat you, your besties and your besties’ neighbors around the long tables. And it’s easy to keep an eye on the Littles wherever you’re sitting, so relax and enjoy the night!

Cut a Rug
Each month the Corner Bar features a different theme. Sometimes related to the season, sometimes not, the themes influence food, drinks and entertainment for the night. Last month, DJ Rich spun 70’s vinyl with that irresistible siren call, like YMCA and The Jackson 5’s ABC, that makes everybody want to dance. Who knows what November holds? A salsa band? A karaoke jam? Whatever it is, it’s guaranteed to be a G-rated dance scene until 9:00 pm. So bring your dancing shoes and some groovy moves!

Eats and Treats
There are three major ways to play the “dinner thing” at Corner Bar. Families can eat at home, then head over for drinks and playtime with friends when they’re all fueled up. Or plan to pack it in. Bring your dinner, find a table, and enjoy some homemade food right there in the club. Finally, there’s that third, low maintenance option (it’s Friday night, after all). Just bring yourselves and some cash or a credit card and dive into the fare served up at Corner Bar. There’s always pizza from local fave Proletariat, along with a salad. Beyond that, menu options change with each month’s theme. October was brats, sausages and beer for Oktoberfest. Prost! And November’s sure to bring something spicy and delish to match the Day of the Dead theme. We’ve heard rumor of nachos and a hot chili margarita. Sounds like a fiery combo for a chilly fall night! They’ve got drinks for everyone covered, too. You’ll always find draft beers, wine, and juice or soda for the kiddos, available. And prices are on the cheap. Plan to spend between $3-$5 for drinks and the same for food items.

Wait, There’s More!
Fridays at the HPIC aren’t just about Corner Bar. On the third Fridays, family-friendly movies play on the big screen. For free! Think of it as an outdoor summer movie series, but with less grass and more shelter from the chilly, rainy elements. All you need to bring is a comfy blanket and some munchies, if you’d like. Or the club has chairs if you’d prefer. Plan to spread out your blanket and picnic goodies when the doors open at 6:30 pm. The movie starts at 7:00 pm. And just to be on the safe side, check the movie title before heading over to make sure it’s right for your family. Then lay back and enjoy the show!

Highland Park Improvement Club
1116 SW Holden Street
Seattle, Wa 98106
Online: or find them on Facebook

When: First Friday of the month from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Cost: Free

Do you plan on giving Corner Bar a try? Share your experiences with us in a comment below!

–Allison Sutcliffe, words and pictures

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