Saturday, 19 March 2011

Saturday lunchtime special

Last night, we had a CAMRA pub crawl, and one of the participants was a retired gent who said that his normal mode of pubgoing was on his own with the paper. Snap. Exactly the same applies to me. Being someone who still works during the week, the principal times when I am able to explore pubs are Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes. And, all too often, I find that Andy and Denise have decided to bring little Jake and Ellie along to the pub. Quite frankly I am getting fed up to the back teeth with it.

I have no problem with dining pubs admitting children to eating areas. But if I’m in a wet-led pub hoping to have a quiet drink, the last thing I want is howling, wailing brats running around. I really wonder whether I should just give up and stay at home with a nice bottle or two. Admitting children is often presented as “the future of the pub”, but I reckon it’s killing it.


  1. There are also lots of ignorant/loud mouthed/drunkard adults in pubs but you don't mention them.
    The vast majority of chidren in pubs are quiet and well behaved as are the vast majority of adults.
    The unwillingness to assimilate children into establishments that sell alcohol is the major difference between us and the rest of Europe.
    If ANY customer misbehaves in the pub that you visit why don't the staff intervene?

  2. In my lunchtime pubgoing I never see ill-behaved adults. Actually I never see ill-behaved children either. Just children behaving as children do. Which I do not want to see in a pub.

  3. I have been in pubs where children are allowed to run wild with the boozing parents doing nothing to control their behaviour and the licensee doing nothing to rectify the situation. The answer is to go somewhere else.

    The simple fact is that pubs are not places for children to be in for any length of time - unless they're eating, half an hour maximum I'd say.

  4. The kids are a menace. Many times I've seen them bought in straight from school, still in uniform and fed crisps while the 'parents' get slaughtered.
    Some pubs at last are now not letting them in, about bloody time.

  5. The Children are central to alcohol control's future plans.

    First will come shrill demands for an 'alcohol-free' room, to protect The Children from the dangers of second hand drinking.

    And when the landlords don't all rush to 'voluntarily' oblige Public Health, legislation will follow.

    That's my prediction anyway.

  6. I'm mostly a solitary drinker with newspaper myself, and (as I said on the other thread), I hate noisy kids in pubs. I very rarely see any, at any of the five or six pubs I go to regularly. The last time I was annoyed by anyone in a pub it was a drunk who seemed intent on staring me out; the time before that, a drunk who tried to entertain the pub with his daringly transgressive humour; the time before that, a guy in a Spoons who I thought was going to ask me outside when I got served before him. I've been annoyed by noisy kids in pubs, I just don't remember when.

    Being out with my own kids & not being able to take them in to a perfectly good pub - now that is annoying!

  7. "where children are allowed to run wild with the boozing parents doing nothing to control their behaviour "

    "Many times I've seen them bought in straight from school, still in uniform and fed crisps while the 'parents' get slaughtered."

    Obviously it the childrens fault, not the fucking irresponsible adults. Frankly i wouldn't want to frequent a pub if that was the quality of the 'adults'.
    If the wife and i take our kids to the pub, which we infrequently do, we take colouring books etc. to keep them from running around, or in weather when we can use a beer garden.
    As for being in and out in half an hour, if you can get your meal done in that time your lucky. Last time we were out and waiting for frankly to long for the puddings the kids were getting itchy feet, starting to get restless. We packed up, cancelled the pudding order and paid and left.
    Some of us are responsible and thoughtful, dont tar us all with the same fucking scummy brush.

  8. As others have said, it's not the principal of allowing kids that's the problem, it's the selfish don't give a f**k parents combined with management that don't tell them to control their kids of take a hike.

    As a beer loving couple it used to frustrate the hell out of us that we struggled to find anywhere we could go with our daughter and get decent ale. Those that did allow us would have had three perfectly well behaved customers who say quietly at their table, two with their pints of ale and one with her orange juice. We didn't let her run around, shout, scream or anything else that would have disturbed out peace or others.

    Loads of pubs used "it's not us, it's the law" even after Children's certificates were banned". We found it very annoying that a perfectly well behaved customer was not welcome in places where we regularly saw much worse behaviour from so called "grown ups".

    Thankfully, places like The Bar, Electrik & Pi in Chorlton all have a more enlightened attitude where all ages are welcome - provided they can behave.

  9. Knock a few kids out with your bird, Mudge & the your avid readership will wait to see how long it takes for you to change your mind.

  10. Arn: you quote me "where children are allowed to run wild with the boozing parents doing nothing to control their behaviour" & then sarcastically say it's obviously the children's fault. No - if you hadn't got such a bee in your bonnet, you'd have read "with the boozing parents doing nothing to control their behaviour" - which you actually copied! It's very clear I'm blaming the parents there for not controlling their children. As for my "half hour" comment that you took exception to, I actually said, "UNLESS THEY'RE EATING, half an hour maximum I'd say" - so your comment about waiting for food means you missed my point again.

    And since when does citing genuine examples of bad behaviour that I have witnessed constitute tarring every parent with the same brush?

    All a bit of an overreaction, I'd say.

  11. I've heard interviews with publicans who don't allow children. You need to show there is a market for child free pubs. Problem is, since the smoking ban there might not be. Pubs have no option but to become Pizza Hut Creches. Not enough drinkers.
    BTW, this foreign stuff is a myth. I've never seen a child in a Parisian bar or restaurant.

  12. Rednev - yes your right, sorry about that, red mist made it hard to read properly! ;)

    I suppose i was just trying to say for every poor example of parenting that winds up pub customers , there is another family behaving well so that you didn't notice them in the establishment.

  13. Arn: I agree with that point completely. Cheers!

  14. I feel an anectode coming on. I saw a couple with a toddler in a buggy in our local Spoons once - Saturday evening this was, and they were playing with the kid, picking him/her up, showing him/her off to other people... dear oh dear.

    Mind you, the vast yawning acreage of our local Spoons being what it is, the only reason I even noticed any of this was that I was keeping half an eye on the mother. Five minutes earlier she'd come to sit at my table, tried to make conversation ("What you reading? I love reading, me. What's it about?"), then talked me into letting her try my beer, told me it tasted like shit and knocked it over when she put it down. That was annoying. (To be fair, her partner apologised and bought me a replacement - I think he was the designated buggie-pusher that night.)

    Anyway, I was against the smoking ban on principle, and I'm against a child ban on very similar principles. Let the pubs decide who they want to attract. Open discrimination isn't necessary; as a parent, I can assure you that there are lots of ways to tell parents with children that their custom isn't wanted. Not serving food is a good one; if you do serve food, make it expensive and (of course) don't offer child portions. Or fill the pub with unaccompanied adults: parents will soon get the message and go elsewhere. Go big on alcopops and get crowds of students in; or go big on wine and get crowds of suits in.

    Sadly, going big on decent beer and getting crowds of tickers in isn't the parent-repellent that it would once have been. Can't think why.

  15. Oh, I'm certainly not advocating a legal ban, just saying that some people go to pubs in the hope of avoiding children and so a variety of provision rather than a one size fits all policy is desirable. Ironically, there's one of my local pubs that does serve a decent range of ales, and does explicitly ban under-18s, but because of the general way it's laid out and the people who go in there never seems particularly congenial.

    Children, of course, reach a stage around the age of 7 or 8 when they become self-conscious and suddenly decide that sitting in a pub with mummy and daddy and all those strange people looking at them is the last place they want to be.

  16. Martin, Cambridge22 March 2011 at 14:17

    The point is surely that it's up to licensees to dictate (and be clear about) their policy regarding children, a family hostile approach like Chester's Albion is neither right nor wrong in itself.

    Personally, I very rarely in pubs across the country encounter the sort of child noise Curmudgeon and others complain about here, and I also use pubs mainly for a quiet read and a pint.

  17. I would say (as the post title suggests) that it is primarily a weekend lunchtime problem, but that is the main time for pub exploring it is, in my experience, something I often encounter. It also, surprisingly often, seems to involve children who are the offspring of friends or relatives of the licensee.

  18. This post on "Nanny Knows Best" is very relevant to this topic.

    "On the way out, the manager asked me if I had enjoyed the meal, I said that the food was fine but the kid and its mother rather spoiled the atmosphere and that it was the first time I had not enjoyed my time at the venue.

    "The manager said there is nothing we can do about it because the second one complains about any activity involving a child or its mother, the press get involved and the publicity really harms the business."

  19. father of wayne
    no child should have alcohol imposed on them there is no excuse for this any were in public places
    i hold the political drug barons accountable for imposing second hand alcohol in public places that put your life in danger

  20. Ah yes, the dangers of second-hand alcohol. Why not confine drinking to separate rooms in pubs that no children or bar staff need to enter? Hmm, I can see where that one's going...


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