Kids in Bars: What Say You?

I read an article this morning about a woman who was arrested after taking her four year old to a bar. Apparently, she was asked to leave and wouldn’t and then started stealing drinks–so obviously there were some issues other than just the presence of the child–but the child is why she was originally asked to leave. What do you think about that?

If you saw a child in a bar (I’m talking a dozen bar stools and a table or two-type bars here, not big sprawling clubs) who was well-behaved and obviously supervised would you be cool with that? Or do you think bars should be strictly no-kid zones, period?

Personally, I went to the little pub down the road with my Dad a handful of times as a kid and always had a lot of fun. He’d drink a beer or two with his buddies, I’d get to plug quarters into the pinball machine, and then we’d walk home singing silly songs all the way. It saddens me to think that he’d have been hauled away in handcuffs had he tried that today–which to me seems infinitely more harmful to a child than watching Dad drink a few. So, I’d have no problems with it as long as Mom or Dad wasn’t getting shitfaced and was keeping an eye on the kid. Am I alone in this? Does anyone else have memories–pleasant or otherwise–of going to bars with parents? Am I being niave or neglectful to think that this is sometimes acceptable?

My dad’s played guitar for tons of bar cover bands over the years, so I was sort of raised in bars. I don’t see anything wrong with a little kid (obviously too young to drink, but old enough to use the toilet and amuse themselves) playing some pinball while dad or mom has a late afternoon beer with friends. If you’d drink around your kid at home, if you’re not getting schnockered, if it’s an off hour and there aren’t but a handful of people in the bar - what’s the problem?

I have fond memories of older female bartenders bringing me spite and grenadine, of eating cherries and olives, of having dad teach me to shoot pool, and of watching him and his buddies set up and have sound checks. It doesn’t seem to have done me any harm. (If you ignore the tattoos and a tendancy to hit on bartenders.)

I had the same experience as you, belladonna. My dad’s friend owned a bar not far from our house. Dad’d bring my little sister and me along to hang out there on a Saturday afternoon. He’d have a beer and to shoot the breeze with his friend. It was very rare for there to be anyone else int he bar.

We drank Cokes and ate peanuts, played with the cueball on the pool table, and played songs on the jukebox. My sister’s favorite was “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys. When the jukebox was replaced, they gave her the record.

I grew up to be a near tee-totaller, FWIW. Doesn’t seem to have infringed on my moral virtue.

Good OG folks!!! What about all that second hand smoke and the smell of stale beer?!?! Not to mention bar flies, cursing, darts, poor lighting, shady dealings in recessed corners. These places are veritable dens in iniquity! :eek:

I spent ten nights in a bar room. Would be there yet if someone hadn’t crowned me on the noggin with that whiskey glass . . .

(Wanders off, singing, “Father, dear father, come home with me now . . .”)

My friends and I frequently have Monday-night drinks/dinner at a pub, and there are occasionally children or babies at other tables. They’ve never caused a problem, and they’ve only been exposed to some really indifferent wait-staffing.

I spent many an evening at the local Knights of Columbus barroom while dad and his buddies did their thing.

I loved it. Several of the guys would bring their children, so the other kids and I would have a blast rolling balls around the pool table and drinking cherry cokes.

FTR, I did not grow up to become a barfly, nor a teetotaler.

Is that like piss and vinegar?

I’d think it was fine, depending on the bar and the time of day. If it was late at night it would be pretty odd, IMO, but I used to go with my dad to the American Legion bar often and play darts or a board game while he was having a couple beers.

My ex and I used to bring our son to bars occasionally when he was young. He’d have soda with cherries in it. It was nice to find a quiet place where we could all sit down and relax for a half hour or so.

But once we brought him to a restaurant in New Hampshire where we had to wait for a table, so we went over to the bar area, and they wouldn’t let our son set foot in it! He must have been about 6 years old at the time. They said it was a state law. We thought it was pretty silly since the restaurant and bar were open to each other and both served the same stuff (it was a brew pub).

Obviously I wouldn’t bring a child to some really noisy smoky place where people were getting into fights all the time. But just a regular nice bar, that’s a great place to go.

You don’t tell us if the article mentions the time of day, the day of the week…

Neighborhood bar, Tuesday evening, quiet crowd? I don’t see a problem.

Friday night at a rowdy bar? I can see a bar having a decent reason to ask mom to take a 4 yr old someplace else. If I owned a busy bar, I wouldn’t be real wild on having a small child around where they could potentially get hurt/lost/abducted.

My MIL invited us out once to meet her at a place that had a bar in one part and a sit-down restaurant in another. We assumed we would be in the restaurant since she knew we were taking our baby with us, but when we got there she was with a bunch of co-workers already (this was to celebrate her leaving a job) and sitting at the bar. We were a little uncomfortable since it was a smoking area and we were sitting on bar stools trying to feed baby dinner, but didn’t want to force everyone else to move on our account, so our plan was to eat and give our congrats and not stay very long.

Anyway, we got some funny looks with our baby in the bar, especially when he fell off the bar stool…I took him out of there then :). I joke with my husband now that I am sure some people went home and told their friends about the idiots in the bar with a baby who let the kid fall off a bar stool. (He was fine.)

If anything I was more aware of others in the bar because I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable about having a kid around. I know most people go after work to drink, smoke, let off steam, etc. and I didn’t want people to have to censor themselves, so I probably wouldn’t do it again. I think the situations like others have described would be fine, though.

There’s a nice local bar here in town that has the best steamed clams ever. My husband and I would bring our daughter quite often on a Sunday afternoon, have a couple of dozen clams and a beer each and watch some golf or football while she played the arcade games. We would sit at the hightop tables which were away from the actual 'bar". I don’t see the harm and she wasn’t ever the only child in there.

Kids don’t belong in bars.

I don’t frequent bars, but I expect them to be adult spaces where adults can act like adults. I’m not comfortable swearing, flirting, etc around other peoples kids (and perhaps they don’t care if their kids are exposed to bar behavior, but it still makes me uncomfortable).

Older men without children hanging around playgrounds are creepy, regardless of their intention. Kids in bars are creepy. They may have a right to be either place, but they don’t really belong.

I have had my son (11 years old) in a bar a few times. We share some of the same tastes in music, and he was there to hear bands. He could have heard music from a CD, but IMHO it is not the same.

It was a learning experience for him as well. He saw what happens when adults over consume alcohol. He saw how ugly flirtatious behavior can become. (Note that he did not see me doing these things)

Sure, he heard some obscene language. But he also heard people apologize for the language and explain to him that adults sometimes talk like that when they have limited vocabularies. All in all, good times.

Close to, and now that I notice my error, “Spite and Grenadine” would make a great zine name.

I wouldn’t bring a kid into a bar at night (unless it was a really sleepy little bar) - but “at night” translates to 9 or 10 pm, and most kids are in bed by then, so it’s not an issue.

My parents brought me to bars in many of the same situations people describe above. There was a bar on the way home from our cabin, and it was the greatest when my Dad would stop there for a beer on the way home (that happened way too few times for my taste. He never wanted to stop.)

[slight hijack]

A couple years ago we went out to dinner with a huge group of people. It was one of those things where a bunch of people were in town - relatives and friends, it may have been the fourth of July - and there were a lot of people who I didn’t really know that well. We made reservations at a local restaurant that happened to have a pretty good sized bar. It wasn’t the type of place where people go just to sit and have a drink, it was the kind of bar where you have a drink while you were waiting for a table, and I’m pretty sure all the smoking tables are actually in the bar. It’s one of the nicer places in town, definitely not the type of place where people get plastered and obnoxious.

The restaurant had set up a table in the bar for us. I’m not sure if it was because someone wanted to smoke or because it was the only place where they could seat so many people (IIRC it was probably at least 20 people.) One couple showed up with their kids, and were appalled that they were expected to sit in the bar. They flat out said “we’re not taking our kids in the bar.”

They ended up sitting in the main part of the restaurant, alone, and the rest of us thought they were pretty silly to do so. There was just as much alcohol in the main part of the restaurant as the bar - the only difference was that you couldn’t actually see them make the drinks when you sat in the restaurant.

When I was a kid my parents would take us to the bar occasionally for Spaghetti dinners on Saturday night. My father would have a beer or two and my mother had a mixed drink. I never saw anything wrong with it. We played the jukebox and the pin ball games.

I have taken my kids into bars. It was usually a Saturday afternoon after shopping and errands. I would have a drink or two and the kids would play the bowling machine or the arcade games. They would always get chips and pop.

The only thing I did not allow them to do was actually sit at the bar. I sat at a table with them. I don’t think kids should sit at the bar. The people at the bar should be comfortable and not have to worry about a child sitting next to them.

The bar I go to know has people that bring their kids in and I don’t mind as long as they are not there to long. I think a half hour to an hour is fine but after that I think it is time to leave. Unless they are in a bar that they have ordered food and are eating it there, then of course a longer time is acceptable. I also never took my kids in the bar after five or six.

I think it is a matter of responsibility. I have seen bad parents that bring their babies and young children in the bar and stay for hours. The parents are getting sauced and the kids get bored and rambunctious. The poor babies get cranky from sitting in a stroller or baby seat to long. I completely disagree with that type of situation and wish those people would stay home.

I’ve taken my 7 yo to a bar not far from our house to play pool and video games, but during the day when it’s quiet.

I think it would help the kid socialize in later life.

In a decent joint, with his folks present, fine.