I recently concluded a poll which asked the question: “Should children be allowed in all areas of pubs?” There were an impressive 61 responses, and the results were as follows:
Yes, at all times: 3 (5%)
Yes, at lunchtimes and early evenings only: 11 (18%)
Yes, at lunchtimes only: 3 (5%)
No, all pubs should have a child-free area: 44 (72%)
The poll was originally prompted by a discussion – I think on the CAMRA forum – where someone was complaining about being asked to leave a pub in mid-evening because he had children with him. He seemed to think that was unreasonable, but the poll clearly shows that well over two-thirds of respondents believe that pubs should offer their customers a choice of child-friendly and adult-only areas throughout the day.
Yet I find it very rare that pubs (or at least the pubs in residential and rural areas where people might be expected to bring children) have an explicit policy of keeping part of their drinking area for adults only. Shouldn’t it be a basic maxim of customer service that you give people what they want – and here we are talking about choice, not a uniform, one-size-fits-all solution?
It should be made clear that the poll was entirely concerned with the policy towards admission of children that people would like to see offered by pubs – it had nothing to do with the law of the land.
Now in what other context have we heard the complaint before about pubs not giving (or being allowed to give) their customers a choice?