Crazy Woman accosts my son and me in a bar

So one of the great things about living in London - lots of great pubs reasonably near by serving a wonderful range of beers. One of my favorite pubs is a few tube stops away, it’s a free house (i.e., it’s run independently of the breweries that supply it), which means a wonderful range of regional /micro brews that change every few months.

Most Sundays, the tax deduction - he’s 4yrs old - and I get out of Mom’s hair for a couple of hours by going up to the pub. It’s a clean, pleasant pub - the food is decent as well - and the clients tend to be pretty typical of your Sunday afternoon crowd: cyclists having a beer after their ride, young guys waiting for the premier league match to start, couples, friends etc.

When the weather’s nice, we sit outside and watch the cars and people go by, otherwise we sit inside. I have a beer or two, he has an apple juice or a hot chocolate - sometimes he has a Coke, but don’t tell Mom - along with some french fries or some other little snack. Sometimes he sits quietly and watches everything around him, other times he wants to tell me the fascinating story of the snail he found in the back yard :wink:

It’s one of my favorite times of the entire week.

So imagine my shock yesterday when a young American woman accosted me as I was about to leave. She was there with a group of people, didn’t really see how many or anything, but she starts yelling at me at how could I possibly be bringing a young child in to a bar, what a horrible parent I must be, how he was almost certainly going to grow up to be an alcoholic ‘like his father’ :rolleyes:

Once I got over the shock, I of course immediately asked if she was suggesting I should never have a beer at home, or should never go to any restaurant that might serve alcohol, but she was in such a fury of righteous indignation I don’t think she heard a word I said.

So, tell me oh oracle of wisdom. Is this a case of crazies gonna crazy, or does Crazy Woman have a point?

Meh, she’s crazy. You are role modelling sensible drinking and socialising to your son, which is great!

My only problem is that you’re giving him juice/hot chocolate, I personally don’t think kids need the sugar from sweet drinks. But I’m not going to start yelling at you about it. :wink:

Apple juice is a sweet drink?

Sounds like an American moron to me. With daddy issues.

She may have been conflating British pubs with “bars” in the States, where children aren’t allowed and they don’t serve food. If you were in a type of pub I’m imagining, where I spent quite a few Sunday afternoons myself while living in London oh so long ago (Pembroke Castle, Chalk Farm), nothing wrong with what you are doing at all. Sounds quite nice to me.

Very. Do you know the brand that your pub stocks?

Ignore her, Americans are whacko about alcohol even beer.

Not sure. It’s on the menu as ‘100% pressed apple juice’, FWIW.

That’s what I couldn’t figure out - *she was in the friggin’ pub! *She could tell that it wasn’t like some run-down college dive with obnoxious drunks or blaring rock music. The food isn’t gastro-pub quality, but close - I mean, it’s a perfectly nice place for a family with kids. Granted, I don’t usually see any four year olds around, but teenagers? Definitely.

She’s nuts.
I tended bar for years in the USA and we had kids in all the time for lunch or to watch a baseball game with Dad. We served decent food and frozen pizzas so the kids could always get something to eat and we were two doors down from the mom & pop dime store so they could always take a walk over there for a candy bar or bag of chips.
It never bothered me or anyone else and if someone made a fuss I’d tell 'em to stuff it.
The rules we did have were no kids sitting at the bar and no kids after dark because that’s when the serious drinkers came in and started blaring the juke box, cursing, fighting, making out in the corner, and all that other lovely crap.

From my years of working in drug and alcohol counseling I would be pretty happy to assert that most of my clients had parents that were themselves abusers or alternatively, prissy teetotalers.

Now, while there are no guarantees in life, I fancy your approach is the one most likely to be useful.

Note that Zoid is in Chicago, which, like the Wisconsin of my childhood, has neighborhood bars where families can go. My dad’s bar had a sign on the back mirror “we love children, but not after 6 o’clock.” Some of my happiest memories was being shown off to the characters in there: the women fussing over me and the men treating me like one of the guys.

Britain never had Prohibition: in America, it changed bars from an all-men’s’ drinking/eating/bullshitting clubs to, in most of America, a place where both sexes meet to get drunk so they can stand each other long enough to fuck.

In her worldview, your ulterior motive was to get her to go “wow, he’s so cute! You must be such a sweet man! let’s all go back to my place, slip him some Benadryl and you and me get it on!”

I’m just wondering (as so often I do) what ever happened to manners. I mean, many times I am struck by the urge to tell people how to raise their children (not usually to do with alcohol, more likely to do with sit-down-and-shut-up-teaching) but my good manners, taught to me at my mother’s knee, tell me to mind my own business. Were these people not taught manners, or is it that they think the urgency of their message (BOOZE! CHILDREN! MUST STOP!) overrides manners? Because, well, it doesn’t. Unless the kid is smoking a stogie and drinking whiskey, they need to STFU.

We in the colonies have a variety of establishments that serve alcohol. Some are children friendly and some less so. And some would fall into the category of a place you would not take a child to and that’s discounting places that would be dangerous to take a child to. I doesn’t sound like you went to the later. That leaves the former. Is this a hideout for adults who want to let their hair down away from kids? I went to a bar the other day that has really good food but I rarely see kids there. In comes a fella with his son and my buddy gets upset because he cued up some less than appropriate music on the jukebox. He wanted the bartender to kill the music before it played so as not to expose the young lad.

That’s one angle. Another could be the assumption that you’re driving which in this case doesn’t seem to be so. When I was young a trip to the bar with dad meant he had one drink and left. That would have been a 12 oz beer at 6% alcohol. But that ship sailed, sank and is now a coral reef. Parents drive their family to kid friendly bar/restaurants and watch sports games for hours with abandon. Some of these places have separate video rooms for kids to play in.

It sounds to me like you met Prudence and are looking for absolution. Not sure what 32 oz of beer does to you (Pint conversion to US OZ) but unless you stumbled out the door Prudence didn’t either. So that leaves the type of bar you’re in and the customs of your area which again, Prudence wouldn’t know. Look not to the west for temperance. for we are your drunken fools of a cousin.

“Quite right! Server, another pint for my son!” :smiley:

She’s nuts. In the US the bar and grill type places where you can take kids to grab something to eat vastly out number the other kind. Plenty of national chains based on that concept. Of course there are some bars in which the food is an after thought and the main clientele are adults who are there to drink. It doesn’t sound like that kind of place.

Girl was a loon. Obviously y’all do things differently than we do. I admit my eyebrows raised at the idea of taking a four year old out for a beer. But that’s just because it’s not done here. Minors are not allowed AFAIK into bars. And yes, I realize a pub is a different animal. I don’t think we have anything similar. If you and the kiddo’s mama are happy with the arrangement, then it’s not crazy lady’s concern.

I blame the Puritans. No wonder all y’all over there threw them out. I would, too, if I could.

People are really uptight about alcohol here and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union had a lot to do with shaping our current culture surrounding alcohol.

A year or two ago, someone in my company’s London office needed a British-to-American English translator. I volunteered, so they sent me a brochure to read and change any Britishisms to Americanisms. It was a piece targeted toward middle schoolers about how to best prepare for high school/secondary school that the London office wanted to market in the US. One panel suggested getting a nice gift for your homeroom/main teacher at the end of the school year. There was a list of suggested gifts, which included a bottle of wine. While I’m quite sure that most middle school teachers would* greatly* appreciate a bottle of wine, I had to nix that list, explaining that parents would lose their minds at the thought of sending a 13-year-old to school with a corked, sealed bottle of wine to give their teacher. And probably, they’d lose their minds if the teacher had a corked, sealed bottle of wine sitting in a drawer in her desk, out of sight of the students. The London office had a nice chuckle over that and made the changes I suggested. (And I got paid with a bottle of wine!) But that one little brochure showed me the huge divide between how Europeans view alcohol (with moderation and some damn common sense) vs. how Americans view alcohol (with hypocrisy and excess).

Nevermind how incredibly rude it is to A) go to another country and criticize people for not acting like Americans, and B) to openly tell someone in a public place that they are a lousy parent because you have some Puritan/WCTU bug up your ass about booze.

Speaking for all the rest of the Americans over here, I am so sorry for that woman’s behavior. She makes the rest of us look like assholes.

Except at soccer games of course.

On behalf of Americans I apologize. Aside from the issue of taking children into actual bars (like dive bars where the only real reason to be there is drinking), I think some Americans even get weird if you were to sit with a child in the bar area of a TGI Fridays, Applebees, or TJ McFukkers.

Why? I can’t really explain it. It doesn’t make much sense to me that sitting on a stool where one is in visual range of taps and bottles of liquor is deleterious to a child… But sitting in the same establishment in a booth, where one must crane their necks ever so slightly to see a bartender, would save the munchkins from severe psychological damage resulting in careers in such fields as strippers, carnival workers, or journalists.

If there’s an element of that pub that the child should be rescued from, it’s that woman.*

*Provided you aren’t an actual raging alcoholic.

“Thank you, madam, for your expression of concern - which will receive, I assure you, all the attention it deserves.”

We have a local place that could be seen as a “pub”. It’s a restaurant with a bar (about 50/50), and lots of families like to go there. Kids are allowed in the “bar” part only during the day. The “bar” does have lots of big tables, and isn’t just a stand-up place.

This is in CA, and it’s probably different in other states. But, yeah, some Americans can be whacko about alcohol.