Following my recent post on the vexed subject of children in pubs, I decided to run a poll on whether the pre-1988 legal regime of barring under-14s from all bar areas of pubs should be restored. The results are pretty conclusive.
Obviously this isn’t realistically going to happen, although I can imagine the childless and hard-faced Mrs May having considerable sympathy. However, it underlines the point that this remains a major issue for the pub trade, as highlighted last year by the Good Pub Guide. It just won’t wash to paint anyone who prefers a quiet drink in a child-free atmosphere as a miserable curmudgeon who pubs are better off without. Traditional pubgoers have deserted en masse to avoid noisy, badly-behaved children.
And any intolerance on the issue comes overwhelmingly from the pro-children lobby, who seem to object to children being excluded from any area of any pub at any time. As I’ve said many times (and on another issue too), what on earth is wrong with a diversity of provision?
I can’t help thinking that a good compromise solution to the smoking issue would have been to ban smoking in all areas of pubs where under-18s were admitted. This would surely have killed two birds with one stone. We could have had pubs divided into two sections – one of booze, baccy and banter, and one of food and families. Or even individual pubs devoted to one or the other. And no prizes for guessing where the best crack would have been.
It’s also worth repeating the words of Ian MacDonald in the poll comments, who is someone I know through Twitter and Facebook, but doesn’t tend to comment here. If all parents took such a considerate and responsible view, there would be no problem
As a beer drinking father of three, my children only go to pubs that serve food. I do not allow them at the bar and generally they will be in the beer garden. I would not take them to a non-food pub nor would I expect to see other children there.And also note this from Brian, follower of Deornoth
A few years ago I would have said, "Of Course Not, it should be a matter for individual publicans and their customers." But now I know it is perfectly acceptable to have those that disagree with my preferences arrested, so I'll vote for a ban.