From David- Founder of Sommbeer:
SOMMBEER BEER DEBATE #2
Check out this follow-up on the Federalist We Bring Our Kids To The Pub
Kid Invasion: Why Not Bring Kids to a Brew Pub?
Good brew pubs have relaxing atmospheres that invite conversation and fun. Part of this includes bringing your kids. Heck the brew pubs often make and push root beer. Root beer! I loved that stuff when I was 8. Which is precisely my point. The brew pubs encourage comes to visit. Many have board games and kid toys just to keep them occupied.
…that should be amended to adult conversation and adult fun. Because grownups needs grown up time. When I was a kid, my parents had my grandparents babysit me, or hired a neighbor to watch me. Then they went out and did I know not what, but it involved grown up people drinking and smoking. I didn’t get to come to their dinner parties. I didn’t get to go to the club with them (it was the 70s, so God only knows what craziness was going on!)
I know that my opinions will piss off a lot of my friends with kids, but please understand where I am coming from. Don’t adults want adult time? And what better place than a brewpub??
I understand that the breakdown of the neighborhood, the breakdown of schools (thanks to schools of choice and such), the breakdown of the extended family…I get that all of this makes it hard for parents to find caregivers for their kids. But come on…don’t moms and dads want date nights? Aren’t there plenty of places to take kids where you can get a craft beer (Arbor, Grizzly, etc)?
I should say that I make a distinction between restaurants and brewpubs. If you focus on food (Arbor Brewing, Grizzly Peak, Jolly Pumpkin), have booths and wait staff, then you are a restaurant. I don’t mind kids being in restaurants. I object to kids being in pubs where the focus is on the beer (as opposed to beer and food). I don’t like to have to step over kids when I stumble about, or have them screaming in the beer garden as they climb a hop trellis—and I also worry about the liability of my friends who are brewpub owners.
Seattle gets it–they either had signs up telling parents that no shenanigans would be tolerated, clearly stated that they were 21+ ONLY or had separate sections for kids/no-kids. When I go to a brewpub, I want to have a drink with my friends and be grownups.
When I’ve tried to talk about this to friends with kids, they almost take it personally…like I’m saying their kid is bad. They also have said that they need this time for socializing their children. That might even be okay, but I usually see the kids on electronic devices while the grownups do their thing.
First some common ground. Bad kids shouldn’t be allowed anywhere, restaurants, bars, brewpubs or planes – especially planes. I’ve been in fancy restaurants expecting a nice time and a huge bill only to have it destroyed by bad parents. If you don’t manage your kids, that makes you a bad parent with kids that are likely misbehaved. It ruins the night for everybody. Interesting note, during one dinner occasion the kids next to us misbehaved so poorly it annoyed my kids !
The strongest argument against kids in brew pubs is that they don’t drink. They are a revenue loss when things get busy. When things are slow bring ’em in I say. Then the only issue is vulgarity.
Vulgarity of all sorts has crept into our society so steadily I doubt we are all aware of just how prevalent it really is. I try to isolate my kids from it all the time, even during normal hours in a normal restaurant. With that in mind, when I bring my kids to a brew pub I recognize it is focused on adults first and kids second. I pick tables or booths away from large groups or visibly rowdy folks. That’s just good parenting. When it’s just me and the wife it’s a different story.
Bottom line – kids and adults can coexist in the brewpub but it takes good parents and common sense to do so.
Bad parenting is the problem, no doubt. And the good parents get thrown out like the baby in the bath water (hahahahahahaha). On two occasions, I have had to leave the Original Gravity because families were hogging the tables. The kids had juice boxes, there was maybe a pint or two on the table, and the rest was pizza and electronics for the kids.
I do want to add that I have really thought long and hard about this issue…parents have attacked me (personally and otherwise) for saying this and so I’m often hesitant to say anything. I don’t even know if it’s the kids that bother me…it’s the sense of entitlement that bothers me…. I understand if you want a good beer with your dinner–but there are places for that (restaurants, Arbor Brewing, Grizzly Peak) and I’m not saying that you have to eat at Applebee’s for the next 18 years.
I think one way to do it is how a couple of brewpubs in Seattle did…where they split the space for 21+ and then everyone else.
Thanks Patti for the debate. Let us know what you think…..
Patti Smith Bio:
Very happy special education teacher. I like beer, brewing & drinking.
Twitter Bio @TeacherPatti
#craftbeer #beer #annarbor #teacher #education #sommbeer
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