Boak and Bailey - Gawd Bless 'em - suggested on Twitter that there should be a guide to pubs that are child friendly. I wondered why, as being childless, it didn't really occur to me that there might be such a need. This set off quite a storm on Twitter with aggrieved parents defending their rights to bring their offspring into the pub, as and when they like and bemoaning the fact that some pubs don't take the same child friendly view. I quite liked this post, in answer to Boak and Bailey (who also seem to have suffered adversely from a "No Children" policy), which summed up one aspect of the argument succinctly, if not to my mind at least, persuasively.
I was, as recently as last Friday, in quite a rough pub. I was taken aback somewhat as I entered, to find ensconced in a corner of the small bar area, two young parents, a pram and a sleeping child. I wondered somewhat idly why they felt the need to be there, rather than in the spacious lounge, as the cramped bar was rather reduced by their presence. But I forgot about them and the child slept on until departure. In the case of my own local, we most certainly are, if not child friendly, child tolerant and it does give me the opportunity to observe. One thing. Children - and you can trust me on this one - don't sit still. If there is more than one, they pinch each other, they chase each other and they run in and out of the door, which, if you are in my seat in winter is a right pain. They get fed up. They wander around. They want to buy their own crisps at the bar. they play noisy electronic games with the sound up - a sound that parents have long since learned to tune out. They really, in most cases I'd venture, don't want to be there. They are bored by pubs. I reason though, that they bring money in and keep my boozer open, so all in all, no problem to me really and actually in the main, they don't run wild and parents do look after them properly. But it isn't always so.@BoakandBailey @tandleman walked into the Turks head in st Helens with a sleeping baby in a sling and it was like I was wearing a bomb vest— James, 35, SoWeTo (@JimbaudTurner) July 7, 2016
I was talking to one of my local pub managers recently about children when I was relating an experience of children running wild and unchecked in a different pub. He sighed and advised me that the issue is that staff are very wary about telling children not to run around and if they ask parents to do so, they are rarely co-operative and often abusive. The parents don't see any harm being done and are too busy enjoying themselves to think it a problem. They rarely see their own children with a detached view. If confronted, they threaten not to come back , but they are often high spenders on meals as well as booze and customers are needed. Simpler to turn a blind eye unless it gets really out of hand. Two sides of this argument are illustrated below:
I could go on, but one thing is for sure. Pubs would not see the need to restrict children if they perceived that there are no problems with them. Over the years they have realised that the issue is divisive and doubt if they can get the balance right, hence the plethora of restrictions, caveats, reluctant acceptance and outright banning.@oldmudgie @ErlangerNick @tandleman @petedrinks @BoakandBailey @JimbaudTurner pubs should police bad behaviour in kids or adults— craig (@CAGarvie) July 7, 2016
The Good Pub for the Sprogged Guide might just suit all parties. Much need information for both sides of this vexing divide. Go Boak and Bailey. Answer the call.
A thought. Aren't all these Happy Eater, Chef and Brewer, Toybox type places a better place for a child? They provide things for them to do, whereas an ordinary pub doesn't. And some sell decent beer too.
A second thought. Hasn't society changed so much that this sums up the matter too?
Lastly. Sorry for quoting you so much Craig.but you have a firm and quotable point of view.@CAGarvie @tandleman @ErlangerNick @BoakandBailey @JimbaudTurner I think that boat sailed years ago, sadly— Pete Drinks (@petedrinks) July 7, 2016