Time out for Dad!

As promised in last month’s issue, Dad’s Night Out (DNO) follows Mom’s Night Out (MNO).

I really want to make it clear: You dads need to do this! 

Though it’s sometimes implied that new fathers inherently have more freedom (you don’t lease your womb to occupants, you don’t breastfeed), you, too, need to remember what it’s like to be autonomous, light-hearted and interesting. 

Whether you and your better half agree on a night out once per week or once per month or … once, make Dad’s Night happen. 

Here are my picks for the perfect break from toddler madness for him:

1. Man food.  

Do dudes like fine dining and fruity cocktails, too? Of course they do.

However, you can get your apple martini and arugula-fig flatbread fix with the ladies in your life. Instead, embrace stereotype with anything featuring the word BBQ in the title, your favorite rib joint or these selections chosen by your favorite toddler columnist: Fogo de Chao (piles of meat, Brazilian steakhouse style), Devil’s Advocate (obsessed with food shaped like balls), the Butcher & the Boar (bourbon, sausages and beyond) and Wienery (enough said), all in Minneapolis. 

2. Team up. 

How long has it been since your days of playing in Squirt-level outdoor hockey tourneys? Summer little league? Playing kickball ‘til dusk?

Reinstate that regular sporty meet-up you used to look forward to as a kid.

Be it pickup basketball, racquetball, summer softball, a bowling league or even a kickball team, getting back into (or starting anew) old-fashioned team sport fun is a win-win. It’s male bonding, plus exercise. Last one to the dugout brings next week’s donuts. Bonus if the field has a grill.

3. Go natural.

Minnesotans love getting outdoors. All. Year. Round.

Not from here originally? Make Minnesota Nice with a native and get outside. Kayaking, fishing, ICE fishing, hiking — make a plan or just go.

Huntsmen, I’m pretty sure you used up all your days out in November. No doubt you’re already counting the days until next year (and rationing out your last few pieces of venison jerky). But I digress.

4. Rock out.

Chances are, there’s a band that you love — but your soul mate LOATHES (or, at best, barely tolerates).

Relive your glory days by seeing a show by an old steady — or a new fave.

Guns N’ Roses comes to town this summer, Rock the Garden will be headlined by Bon Iver and the iconic First Avenue has a mailing list you most certainly should sign up for now. This is my personal favorite thing to do when taking a little breather from parenthood. There’s really nothing quite like live music.

5. Beer!

I know I’m making assumptions. If you, fine sir, prefer a vineyard, coffee roast or teashop, by all means go forth and pick your poison.

But if, like many dads (and mamas), you enjoy a beer now and then … lucky you! Minnesota is in the midst of a craft brewery explosion. Several have popped up during the past few years, all with tours and tap rooms and tastings.

Surly is the mecca — huge, clean, fire-pitted, flannelled and bearded — but there are a bunch of other cool choices as well. You’ve probably heard of Indeed, Lake Monster and, the newest, Utepils

You might try Urban Growler and Bang, right next door to one another and a little off the beaten path. (Did you know that Bang is housed in an old silo? Cool, right?)

And finally, Pryes Brewing (dearly beloved for its Miraculum American IPA) has announced a permanent home for its brewery and taproom — expected to open in mid-2017 — right on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, across from Hall’s Island/Boom Island. If a new destination brewery isn’t cause for a scheduled DNO, then what is?

6. DIY.

Let’s be honest. Nothing is going to get you a ticket to “Guy’s Night” quicker than finally finishing that tree house, cleaning the gutters or staining the deck.

Order some pizza and make it a party. It’ll get done, your family will worship you and you’ll have fun in the process. You can even plan your next DNO while you work! 

Here’s to you, Daddio!

Jen Wittes is a freelance writer and mother of two who lives in St. Paul. Learn more about her work at jenwittes.com. Send questions or comments to jwittes@mnparent.com.