Wednesday 16 January 2008

Kids and pubs

In my declaration of what this blog is about I mention rants. I think it's time for my first rant now...

The British pub chain Wetherspoons recently announced a limit of two alcoholic drinks for parents who brings kids to their pub. You can read more about it here, here and here.

This has been heavily debated, in media as well as 'around the water cooler'. I just thought that I would add my two pennies worth to the debate.

To start with, I know that I'll never win the Father of the year award. It's about as likely as Britney Spears getting Mother of the year at the same time. However, I have very strong views on children and how to raise them. Besides, it's my blog and I write about what I want ;)

I do think their decision is a very good decision. Pubs are very rarely a good environment for kids, although the smoking ban has improved the physical environment for them. Earlier you could see parents sitting in the pub, happily puffing away on their cigarettes with their babies in prams next to them. That's a sight that always managed to piss me off. The poor kids had not asked for that.

As a kid you are more or less constantly embarrassed over your parents. Having to sit in a pub and watch your parents get more and more drunk and behaving like idiots does not make that any less of an issue. Although I would never condone, more about that in another rant later, eating in a pub I can somewhat understand parents taking their kids there for a cheap (and nasty) meal. What I can't understand is parents spending an entire day down the pub getting more and more drunk with the kids showing ever more despair in their eyes.

It's not just the parents drinking and (mis)behaviour that affects children in a pub. There's also the rest of the customers to take into account. Wetherspoons have historically not been showing sports in their pubs so they are a bit exempt from my next example. I know that myself, and many of my friends, do not set the best examples whilst watching sports in a pub. Put on a football (soccer for my friends across the pond) match and the language goes well south. Everything from the provenance of the referees mum to the sexual habits of the opposing teams players are being discussed. These discussions are normally very loud and peppered with some very inventive cursing. I know fully well that most kids are well versed in the noble art of swearing from a very tender age but there's no need to bring them to the pub to enhance their vocabulary.

To conclude, I fully support Wetherspoons decision to limit parents to two alcoholic drinks per visit if they have their kids with them. If I had my way the kids should not have to spend time in a pub at all. There are far better establishments to bring your kids to for a nice and cheap meal than a pub. And no, I'm not talking about BK or Mackie D's.

I would love to see some comments so, discuss! ;)


  1. Being a parent of 2 young children, I find there are plenty of "Kid Friendly" pubs out there that have indoor play areas.
    There are also many of those places where they have just have lots of play equipment, you pay for a couple of hours and the parents sit in the cafe watching.

    All in all, I rarely feel the need to take my kids to a pub with us.

    On the rare occasions we do, that's because we are on holiday or something and we always ask if the pub is kid friendly or just check it out (kids menu, play area etc.)

    After saying all that, having lived in many countries, I find that Britain is more "kid unfriendly" than other countries.

  2. Not being a parent I also find there is plenty "Kid Friendly" pubs, but not "Adult Friendly". I don't want to sound cruel but when the little brat is passing me tenth time, running mad around the place I really wish him/her to trip over. Not very badly, just a little bit...

  3. There's hope yet.
    Have you ever considered setting up a chain of pubs? :-)

    If there is one thing I object to (object, yes strenuously object to) is having my quite pint with my wifey or family and friends is these little horrors trying to achieve low earth orbit, fuelled solely by sugar. The kids I can't see or hear aren't part of the equation, but you can see that at some point in the future they will have to bear the cross of these annoying little shits.

    Nice rant.

    Mines the jacket with the 'A few good men' dvd in.

  4. I strongly support 'Adult Friendly' pubs, why should everywhere have to cater for 'the family' what about those of us who have chosen NOT to have children, why should we be inflicted with screaming, kids running around or generally misbehaving?

    Parents should realise that if you choose to have children you will have to make some sacrifices to your lifestyle - this means either drinking at home where your kids only annoy you or paying for a babysitter

    As a general rule - if I see a pub proudly proclaiming that it is Family Friendly - I won't go in!

  5. Agree with this Mike, but to a point.
    I think it's important to show by example a healthy relationship with food and drink.
    Some of my fondest memories are from pub beer gardens and skittle alleys. But I was just lucky that I had such positive role models for my parents.

  6. Marcus,

    Many thanks for your comment.

    I see your point and since I've moved out of Reading and its' inner city pubs I have adjusted my views a bit.

    There are some lovely country pubs around here where kids do have a good time.

    My main point still sticks with me, I don't believe it is good for kids to be forced to sit in a pub as their parents are getting pissed and all that brings with it.

    // Mike


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// Mike