Saturday, 29 June 2013

Seen but not heard

Well, the poll on admitting children to pubs has now closed, with an impressive 89 replies, although not quite as many as the Spoons poll. 49% of respondents took the view that children should not be allowed in bars under any circumstances, and 82% reckoned they should at least always be restricted to defined areas. And, for the six people who thought there should be no restrictions at all, do you really think it is responsible parenting to have your toddler in a pub at 10.30 pm?

There’s been an extensive and, er, lively discussion on the previous post, so I will just make a couple of further observations. It is not in any sense anti-children to not want to be in their company every hour of the day. And I just don’t get the argument at all that bad behaviour from adults is far more common. Maybe I go in the wrong pubs, but I’m struggling to recall the last time I witnessed adult misbehaviour. The other night I attended a CAMRA Pub of the Month presentation in a pub in one of the more down-to-earth areas of Manchester. The pub was packed, a lot of beer and other drinks were consumed, yet I didn’t notice a single person step out of line.

And, if you think it’s OK to drag your child into a pub so that you can have a swift pint, why shouldn’t it also be OK to take them into the bookie’s for a quick flutter on the 3.30 at Market Rasen? There is nothing for kids in pubs (unless eating) and nothing in betting shops either. But, oddly, I don’t see those who are keen to allow children in pubs campaigning for the principle to be extended.

Plus, as someone said in the comments, you don’t tend to find young children in gay pubs and bars. Only trouble is, they’re not exactly thick on the ground in the Stockport suburbs.


  1. An Anonymous Boozer29 June 2013 at 17:37

    What exactly are you regarding as 'bad behaviour'. Do you honestly think that the police are more often called into pubs to deal with problem children rather than problem adults?

  2. Anon: I cannot remember the last time I saw the police called out to a pub for anyreason; it is so many years ago, probably decades. And I don't do all my drinking in just one pub, or even in just one town.

  3. What he said. I've seen adults violently assaulting one another in pubs three times, and been mildly irritated by children's behaviour about five or six times. They both happen, and they're both very rare. The idea that children should be barred from pubs has nothing to do with the nuisance they actually cause, and everything to do with prejudice.

  4. And what do gay bars have to do with the price of fish?

  5. At least I'm equally prejudiced against the the screaming running brats and the indifferent boozing 'parent'.

  6. Oh, I don't blame the children in the slightest - any blame lies with a combination of selfish, irresponsible parents and pusillanimous publicans.

    Re gay bars, see this comment.

  7. It's interesting that the well-regarded Hope brewpub/freehouse in Stockport has a sign in the doorway saying "No children - including outside areas." Mind you, since it doesn't do food, what is there for them?

  8. "I've been mildly irritated by children's behaviour about five or six times"

    Hmm, I've been legally drinking for 36 years, and must have experienced this at least a hundred times, probably much more.

    Wailing like a banshee, constant banging of some toy against a hard surface, playing noisy electronic games, running around in circles, jumping up and down on seats.

    All just natural childlike behaviour, but wholly inappropriate in the bar of a pub.

    And adults generally do NONE of these things.

  9. Children don't generally have shouting matches or fist-fights; I don't think I've ever had a child try to chat me up or knock over my beer, either (well, not a child below drinking age).

    Maybe you've been unlucky with kids in pubs. But people like the writer of that Doghouse article strike me as being permanently prepared to be annoyed by kids - but if your drink is ruined by the constant apprehension that a kid might be about to start screaming and running around, it's not actually the kid who ruined it.

  10. I go in loads of pubs, but I really struggle to recall any occasion in the last ten years when I have observed any bad adult behaviour directed towards me.

    Children do what children do, make a noise and run around. This isn't bad in the overall sense of things, but inappropriate and annoying in the bar of a pub.

    I see this *so* often it is, frankly, a major source of annoyance to me in pubs.

  11. "And, for the six people who thought there should be no restrictions at all, do you really think it is responsible parenting to have your toddler in a pub at 10.30 pm?"

    Tsk. Nanny-statist.

  12. Well I answered "Not at all" because by bar area I assumed you meant where they weren't serving food.

    I cannot see why you would want to take children into a pub if you weren't eating. So my actual answer would be that they should be allowed anywhere you are serving food, maybe with some time restriction for those pubs that serve food till late.

    The exception to this is country pubs where I can understand you might want to stop for a packet of crisps and a drink if you have been on the fells all day. Country pubs tend to be pretty welcoming to kids though.

    Oh, and my reasoning is more about whether it's a suitable place for a child to be rather than whether a young'un is spoiling someone else's quiet pint.

  13. @Bailey: There are plenty of things I may think are irresponsible that I don't believe should be made illegal.


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