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SAN DIEGO – After more than half a century of only allowing customers 21-years of age and older into its bar, the Coaster Bar and Grille will now welcome babies and kids.

The Coaster, which is known for its craft beer, has been a local hang out for its customers since it first opened in 1956.

The Coaster Bar and Grill“I love this bar,” said 24-year-old Robert Palladino. “I come here every day.”

The Coaster switched from a type 48, commonly called a “saloon license,” to a type 47 liquor license so it can allow children.  In order to qualify for a type 47 license, at least 50 percent of an establishment’s revenues must come from food sales.

Mackenzie Johnson, her husband and two young kids stopped into The Coaster for dinner Friday night.

“We have our kids with us so they can eat and that makes it convenient,” Johnson said.

The bar, which is also a restaurant, became kid friendly so families could dine together.

“It’s typical of the cultural change that has happened in Mission Beach ever since the drinking on the beach ban in 2008,” said Darren Renna, general manager of The Coaster Bar & Grill.

Manuela Seidl has two children and said she does not approve of bringing kids into a bar.

“They get exposed to people drinking alcohol and I don’t think that’s a good thing for little kids to see,” said Seidl.

Despite critics, Renna said The Coaster has had no shortage of families showing up since the bar got its new license two weeks ago.

“Sometimes during the day we’ll have more than half the people in here under 21, said Renna.  “That is, kids accompanied by parents.”

As for the regulars, they say the more the merrier.

“It doesn’t bother me one bit,” said Palladino.  “I love kids.”

The bar has an open air area where smoking is allowed.   Palladino added that he would feel bad smoking around children, but said he would put out his cigarette if he noticed any kids near him.