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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Bar the babies

See what happens when you ban smoking in bars?

These days little children are brought along to places that would have been considered inappropriate a generation ago: four-star restaurants, cocktail parties, rock concerts. But for all the sniping from adults who resent this territorial invasion, the onslaught shows no sign of letting up.

In fact, one of its latest flash points is the local bar.

[. . .]

In New York, too, the smoking ban has altered the bar's image. No longer a den of adult sin, the local tavern is seen as an attractive option for afternoon gatherings among parents. (Neither New York state nor city law forbids minors in bars, although state regulations say children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult, a State Liquor Authority spokesman said.)

It makes extra sense, parents said, in Park Slope, where the demarcation between generations has blurred - in Brooklyn, hoodies and skateboard sneakers constitute a uniform for parents as well as their 5-year-olds.

While critics of bringing children to bars are vocal, some parents have embraced the habit with gusto. In recent years, mothers in Manhattan gathered for Wednesday afternoon cocktail mixers called Tots and Tonic.

Sorry, there are some places babies shouldn't be, and bars are at the top of the list. Tots and Tonic? Come on.


Tue, 02/12/2008 - 5:58pm

The way I hear it from my British friend, the neighborhood pub is a place where you see lots of families. In Euclid, OH; an Irish-heavy suburb of Cleveland, I've been to a "family oriented" bar or two.

I think there is room for both kinds of establishments. For raucous places where people tend to get blitzed, keeping the kids out would be preferred. But, I think there is also room for places where the community gathers, the adults get a little buzzed and shoot the breeze while the kids aren't exposed to anything unduly unsavory.

Larry Morris
Tue, 02/12/2008 - 6:02pm

Wait till you hear about how it works down here in Texas, this will really get everyone worked up into a frenzy, ... not only can people under 21 (yes, under 18, yes, under 16, ...) accompanied by an adult get into a bar, but if they're with their parents, the parents can by them a beer, ... let's see, why weren't we down here back when I was 16 ?

Z Man
Tue, 02/12/2008 - 9:51pm

My favorite sports bar, Wrigley Field in Fort Wayne, opened up the bar to families and kids this year, maybe in part to offset awol smokers. I gladly accepted the kids playing the bar video machines and eating kids meals while I watch my favorite NFL games. Sure beats breathing the formerly foul air.

Bob G.
Wed, 02/13/2008 - 2:10pm

Gee, and here I was, sitting on a BARSTOOL, while my dad played darts at the local taproom.
The bartender even gave me those cardboard coasters to amuse myself.
And once in a while, I got to throw some darts myself.
Ahh...for the '50s" again.

Never hurt me one single bit.
Never fell off the barstool, and even got to watch some TV the bartender put on.
(cartoons, the 3 stooges, a coke and a smile - what more did a kid need?)

(then again, those were the days when they actually had a LADIES ENTRANCE at the side of the bar)

Another coke for L'il Bob!!


Wed, 02/13/2008 - 4:39pm

In Ohio, when I turned 18, (1989) it seemed to be permissible for parents to buy beer in restaurants for their 18 year old kids. The charade they had to go through was for the server to deliver the beer to my parents and my parents to physically hand the beer to me.

This wasn't too awfully long after the feds forced Ohio, upon pain of losing federal highway funding, to change its drinking age from 18 to 21. My parents couldn't find it in themselves to get indignant about me drinking beer at age 18 because I was the youngest of 5 with at least the oldest 3 kids having been able to drink beer in Ohio at age 18. (My sister was 12 days too young to get grandfathered in when the law got switched over. OUCH!)

Wed, 02/13/2008 - 7:25pm

I still like going into a bar for a meal simply because kids aren't running around or screaming. I love kids, have 3 and 8 grandkids, but sometimes it's just nice to have a peaceful meal and adult conversation.