Saturday, 29 August 2009

Access all areas?

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?


  1. I decided not to vote on the basis that every pub should do what it thinks is right for it's own customers.

    I do think that every licensee should be permitted to enforce his/hers rules. Some might benefit from the wacky warehouse style, others from child free style of operation. There are of course many compromises in between.

    The result of the poll is useful information for me however.

  2. "I decided not to vote on the basis that every pub should do what it thinks is right for its own customers."

    That is the point - the poll was to determine what customers preferred.

  3. I voted for Option 4.

    I would imagine that for many pubs this will be quite difficult. With many of the remaining pubs being the way they are (glorified eating venues) since the smoking ban it doesn't really matter as such what the pubs want - they're looking for the maximum amount of cash, even if it means tearing the atmosphere of a pub apart in order to achieve that. I'm sure there is a big market for smokers' all-beer pubs but since pubs have been perverted so far from their original purpose...

    When I was little I remember the adults telling me that pubs aren't really a place for children. And, to be honest, although I thought they were wrong at the time - they're not. Adults need somewhere to get away from life - a place where time can - almost - stand still.

  4. I voted for option 4 but really think it merited an option 5 'Yes but in a child/family friendly area'.

    I agree with Paul that pubs aren't really a place for children, I gave up running them when I had my own daughter, and when you do see kids 'misbehaving' in pubs it's normally because they're bored in an environment that's not catering for them.

    If a pub has the ability to cater for children (and the customers that want them to) then that's great, welcome them in, if not then it should be an oasis for grown ups


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