So a baby walked into a bar…

Spending time in Spain for the last week, one thing becomes abundantly clear:

Americans are hypocrites.

(Also, we don’t know how to tie our sweaters around our shoulders jauntily enough, but that’s for another post.)

With all our talk about FAMILY, the importance of FAMILY, the disintegration of FAMILY VALUES and the essential need to preserve THE FAMILY going on these days, we don’t walk the walk.

I think, at times, we don’t even like families in America. We mock them. We disdain them. At best, we tolerate them. If they behave.

(The assumption being that they won’t.)

If you want to see what it looks like when a culture really, truly loves children, you must come to Spain.

Walk into a restaurant with a child, and all faces turn toward you – and smile. The bartender at the cider house is quick to hand the children lollipops. And when they sit up at the bar with us, eating their own cheese platters and sipping on lemon soda, no one tells us that they can’t be at the bar. No one tells they can’t be in the movie theater, the restaurant, the airplane or hanging out on the sidewalk.

at the bar

at the bar

On the contrary; in Spain children are, simply, welcome. And not just by other people with children.

We have yet to see a bar or tavern without an ice cream freezer case for the kids. Some even have piles of plastic toys in the corner. Both are nice alternatives to the “YOU BROUGHT A BABY TO A BAR?” debate that I’ve been sick of reading about for the last six years.

We’ve spent a lot of time this week deciding why it’s so different in Spain. Why here, children are so integrated into the cafe culture while the opposite is true back home. I would imagine some of it has to do with our puritanical roots and desire to separate the kids from the booze. (Oh noes! A child might see a bottle of wine!) Nate thinks it has to do with an American culture that encourages drinking to get drunk, and positions bars as a place to separate from the family unit. Either way, I like the Spanish take much better.

It’s been lovely to pull up a chair at the community taverna, and watch the families circulate. We’ve seen grandparents pushing baby carriages, older siblings tending to younger ones, toddlers careering past us on ride-on toys, as the adults sip cerveza or cold Albarino, and the children munch on Nestle cones. We’ve seen teenagers stop by to say hi to an uncle or a cousin, then run off again. We’ve seen every car in the town slow as it drives past, so that the driver might wave hello to the mother with the new baby and wish her congratulations. Maybe they even circle back with their own families, sit, and visit for a while.

This is my first time truly traveling with my kids. And everywhere in Spain that we’ve been, I’ve felt like we belong.

Not just because my children are well-behaved. But because they do belong.


74 thoughts on “So a baby walked into a bar…”

  1. Children and parents are so demonized in North America. It must have been so nice to experience welcoming instead of derision. I want to go to Spain!

  2. Sounds fabulous! And yes, we are hypocrites in America about many subjects, but certainly about kids and bars. Sounds like a lovely vacation!

  3. I think you’re right. Americans think of a bar as a place to get drunk or hookup. Well, a lot of the time, anyway. I think if families were allowed in that could change into a meeting place and cultural hub for all.

  4. In the UK I think we strike a very good balance as well. Children (and dogs- another story) are welcome in most pubs, usually until a certain time in the evening when it becomes more difficult for adults to sit-up on their stools and it makes good sense for children to be in their beds. As a dual citizen US/UK, I definitely agree with Nate that it has everything to do with drinking culture and the way Americans view alcohol as a means to getting drunk, rather than a beautifully delicious part of the culinary culture as it is in Europe! < to be fair though, even the UK pales in comparison to our romantic cousins on the continent with this one.

      1. Drunkards, yes I accept that, however there is a legitimate school of thought that beer, tobacco and tea are the main reasons that the industrial revolution started in Britain. Drinking (and smoking) are part of our heritage.

        I live in Spain and love it here, but one thing should be made clear: the Spaniards are a bunch of drunkards, too – s’why I feel at home here!

        Glad you had a good trip.

  5. Yes! I have noticed this too when I have traveled overseas- and that travel was mostly done before I had kids (we’ll get out there with the kids soon… when our paid time off stops disappearing into the bottomless pit of sick days…) Bars in other countries embrace kids. And a lot of other countries just seem more accepting of kids in general.

    But there are pockets of goodness here. Next time you’re in San Diego, bring the kids and go to a place in South Park called The Station. It is a bar with a playground. I kid you not.

    Also- one of the things we learned on a trip to Oregon was that the best places to eat with kids in tow are often brew pubs. They are bustling (minor kids-related noise doesn’t make it above the hub bub), always have kids menus, and the adults are all mellow from the good beer.

  6. We found bar in northern Wisconsin similar to what you’re describing . And I must say, what a relief! They had a screened in porch attached to the bar, and in the back was a special picnic table with coloring books and a box of toys. So my husband I could eat our dinner and enjoy our beers and our daughters could play while we finished up. It was so nice.

    1. I was going to comment about many places in Wisconsin, too! They are clearly bars and taverns and maybe babies wouldn’t be welcome there at midnight (I’m usually asleep by then so I wouldn’t know!) but the rest of the time, bars are for family!

    2. Agreed…I was actually going to say, spend some time in the Midwest. What you’re describing is how I grew up here in America!

      1. We actually have a bar like that here in Pittsburgh–bar in front, huge enclosed patio area in the back, very kid-friendly, lots of families in the back area. Even better, they have great beers on tap and unbelievably yummy $1 burger nights twice a week! Unfortunately (fortunately) it’s in the suburbs, about 10 miles away from where we live, so we don’t get out there as often as I’d like.

        1. You have my husband and I guessing, we are both from Pgh now living in D.C. We love finding new places when we go home and would love to check it out. As far as D.C. goes, we are seeing more and more brew pubs that we feel more than comfortable taking our 3 month old to.

    3. Heck, in Wisconsin, you could have legally bought your daughters beer!

  7. That sounds lovely. A cheese plate and a glass of wine without any glares at my kids would be such a welcome change.

  8. I’ve heard the same from many friends who’ve vacationed in Europe with their children – how genuinely welcome kids were at every venue.

    1. And the cool thing is, Julie, you don’t even have to drink. (Thus, the ice cream…)

      I love that no one’s trying to turn tables or up your tab. In fact, they send out plenty of free tapas. Espana, whoo!

  9. The nice thing about when kids are integrated is that they get to participate in the culture around them (rather than be quarantined into a few kid-friendly places) and that also means that parents aren’t isolated.

    1. Such a good point. Plus, I think kids learn how to behave because they’re held to community standards, and not to “children over here” standards.

  10. In our neighborhood here in South Philly there are a lot of young folks with kids, and they like to take their kids out, so the bars and restaurants are generally kid-friendly, or at least not kid-hostile. We take Stella to restaurants and bars often. Not late night, but for dinner or brunch. We want her to learn how to be in a public place, and we want to be able to have some fun as well. It’s only rare we get any kind of comments or see any disdain, although other than a highchair and maybe a kids menu there’s no attempt to really make kids feel welcome.

    We haven’t traveled with her yet, but very excited to go somewhere soon. Spain sounds like a nice possibility.

  11. I think it’s nice that kids can go to adult focused spaces so they can watch and learn versus always being in kid-focused spaces. I enjoyed this post.

    1. Thanks Lindsay! What’s nice though, is that it’s not an adult focused space. It’s an everyone-focused space. Only in the US do we see it as an adult space.

  12. Traveling with kids puts the world in a different perspective. It isn’t like the Spanish like their kids any better than we do, it is that they keep things in perspective. Here, a vocal minority of teetotalers have convinced the governing bodies of our state and local entities that bringing children into a bar would corrupt the children and, after all, how could anyone disagree with legislation that would keep our children from being corrupted? We loved traveling with you, too. Enjoy.

  13. Liz, so happy to hear you’ve had a great time traveling with the kids. Forgive my diatribe here but I’ve been thinking a great deal about this topic lately…

    You know, in my experience with Europeans (granted I only know a handful), I’ve observed that they seem to treat their children far more independently than we do here in the States. It’s not that they ignore them, they just give them more freedom. Kids aren’t treated as equals per se, but I don’t know how to express it… I guess the best illustration is your post—kids can sit at the bar, but they’re still treated as kids (lollipops and cheese plates).

    I’ve also noticed my European friends don’t seem to fret over things like kids walking to school/taking the bus on their own, kids being around grown ups drinking, etc. I guess, and this may not make sense, I see it as them not compartmentalizing childhood as much.

    For instance, during a recent conversation with some friends about the difference in schooling (USA vs. Belgium), kids outside of the USA are given much greater freedom. They don’t start learning to read until 1st grade (until that time they’re given much more freedom to play) and by grade 12 they’re actually able to start choosing what they want to study. The result? Their kids score much higher than American kids.

    I don’t know. All I can say about it all is I’m intrigued by European parenting. (and also trying to incorporate some of what I’ve observed)

  14. When I wanted to go to a restaurant with my tots, I found that going early to a place with a happy hour was the best way to just blend in. No one ever objected to their noise, and it gave my kids the experience of going to nice places from a young age. Now I just have to teach them to ask before assuming my boys (7&10) want a kids menu.

  15. That sounds so wonderful. I’ve read so much complaining about parents not disciplining their bratty children that I’d come to believe most non-parent adults just tolerate children at best, or actively hate them at worst. I’m happy to hear that other parts of the world cherish their children more than we do … and sad that people in the US don’t seem to want to do the same.

    1. Or. . . . Perhaps some of the people “complaining about parents not disciplining their bratty children” are parents themselves. You seem to be making general assumptions. I have children and am horrified at how some parents let their kids carry on and ruin other people’s dining experiences. It just ain’t cool to let your kid run around screaming in a restaurant, unless it’s Chuck E. Cheese, or similar.

  16. Agreed with Cloud, you can find them here in the U.S. But they’re generally neighborhood bars with lots of families living nearby. So even if not everyone inside has their own kids, they’ve at the least made a conscious decision to live around kids. There’s a great neighborhood here in Denver called the Highlands that’s very welcoming to kids in bars/restaurants. We’d probably buy a home there if we weren’t planning to leave the city before too long.

  17. Sounds like a great trip! And lets be honest, it’s not like kids don’t see their parents having a drink or two at home right? I think it’s mandatory (unless you are in a program) that at the end of one of those days that feels like a year in yell with a kid who is screaming, crying or having a bad day themselves, that we all pour ourselves a nice glass of wine and relax. I’ve even had a group of mom’s over to my place for Friday happy hour- a few bottles of wine, lots of kids and a little bit of girl talk.

  18. My father, your grandfather in law, tells a story of going to an elementary school in Spain (50 yrs ago) and the teacher asking which girl is the most beautiful and sweet. Every hand went up to say that they were. What a wonderful thing to have such self esteem! They were doing something right.

  19. I absolutely loved Spain, but can never exactly put it into words as to why. Maybe this is part of it, even though I don’t have children. Maybe it’s the work ethic too. The way they not only value families, but the way they value LIFE!

    The more I see of other cultures, the more I realize we still have a lot to learn from them.

  20. This welcomeness for children and family in Spain (and much of Europe) was part of the reason I adored spending two weeks with my daughter there this spring. It was absolutely lovely and I’m so glad I had that opportunity and that we were made to feel so welcome wherever we went, as mother and daughter.

  21. Loved this post! My girls are older now, 12 and 15. But I vividly remember being kicked out of a bar for bringing a baby. I thought it was a restaurant — they had a full menu and a beautiful deck looking out over Puget Sound. It was early, too, barely 5 pm. We showed up to meet a friend and were told we couldn’t bring the baby in. She was about 4 months old – it was absolutley nuts.

    Maybe we will have to make Spain our European vacation next year!

  22. When people ask me “How was it different?” when it comes to my time living in Spain, that is the one thing I always, always tell them about. As a childless person, it still really struck me how very few places weren’t “family friendly.” In fact, I never came across a single place that didn’t welcome children (most hours of the day–after hours was a different matter), and I spent a good amount of time in bars.

  23. I get what you’re saying, even though there are definitely places I don’t want children around (a bar, however, is not one of those places unless it is a place I don’t want to be either). D.C. is definitely not child-friendly. Take your kid anywhere that is not obviously catering to children, and you get The Look.

  24. love this whole post. i hate feeling like my kid is a burden to every person in any space i take her. sounds like our next family vacay (ok, our first family vaycay) needs to be to Spain. it sounds so welcoming, relaxing and friendly.

    people who give the stink eye to kids in public places seem to forget that being in public is *how* our kids learn to be in public. as my friend Mae pointed out on a post about the same subject recently, our kids are going to be the doctors, nurses, caretakers (obviously among other things) one day and they deserve to learn how to act in the same forum as everyone else. eating in restaurants, shopping at the grocery store, etc.

    ::starts savings acct for Spain::

  25. This is something that my husband and I have been talking about since I came home from France. Being in such a child-friendly environment and coming back to…here…was the biggest reverse culture shock problem I had.

    It’s a hard battle my husband and I fight. Do we stay here, where our children have family? Or do we go back, where our children are treasured, cherished, adored by everyone, not just the people who are related to them?

  26. I am sure it was a culture shock to say the least. Your post rings true, but I never really thought of it that way. Its funny how society, depending on the culture you live in, shape the way people think and feel about children in public. Its a great way to demonstrate the values that are instilled in people by society as to what is right and wrong from culture to culture.

  27. We lived in Argentina for a couple of years with the kids, and, like the Spanish, the kids were welcome and accepted everywhere. Much more integrated into daily life. We ALWAYS took our kids to parties, and they played with all the other kids while the adults drank and socialized. All the kids felt comfortable chatting with all the adults. Eventually, the kids find a corner somewhere and fall asleep, and the adults party on. The result of all this, I believe, is that the Argentines are WAY MORE social, and socially skilled, then we Americans, who tend to isolate ourselves. (Argentines have lots of problems, but making friends and socializing isn’t one of them). We have Spanish friends, and have traveled in Spain, too, and they are much the same as the Argentines. The differences are so marked.

  28. My husband and I were in Spain last month (without our 3 boys) and I was surprised by the number of young children eating in the restaurants at dinner time, which was always after 9 pm. The children we enchanted were clearly welcome and exceptionally well behaved. I’m Canadian and cannot imagine my kids being welcome in any bar in my small(ish) city.

  29. I love this post, thank you for saying this. I have never understood this about American culture. I feel so stressed out here with my son. I am German and Greek (1st generation) and I think it’s a European sensibility that children belong anywhere and everywhere and are valued. I never feel that my son is not welcome anywhere we go when we visit relatives in Europe and it is so much more relaxed. I wish we as a culture were that way here. I wouldn’t have to freak out so much when my son is just acting like a kid instead of “being seen and not heard”.

  30. That’s how I felt in Mexico, too. All generations wanted to be together at all times- it wasn’t like there was a big separation. You would see tiny grandmas who could barely walk, surrounded and supported by their families as they navigated broken sidewalks and stairs. Little kids were everywhere and no one flinched if they were yelling or running around.

    My mom snappishly asked why Mexicans had to bring their whole families (here in California) to medical appointments and I said “Because they love each other and want to be together.”

  31. Totally fascinating. I remember thinking the same thing when we went to India…and that was BEFORE I had kids. Coming back to America, everyone and everything seemed so separate and disconnected and tense and scheduled and “you need to call first” and easily offended and tiptoeing around everything.

    Of course, that’s an oversimplification. We saw plenty of family drama and infighting and other things in India. But we also saw people of all ages coming together and enjoying each other in a way that rarely happens here.

    PS. Nate looks great in that photo, as does your very happy daughter. Welcome home.

  32. Thanks for sharing this–every time I nursed my son in the car in some far corner of a parking lot I vowed that if I ever opened any sort of business it would be kid- and family-friendly. While in a North Dakota with my infant I was told by a *shocked* waitress at 3pm that I couldn’t sit at the table where my friends were, because that was the bar (nearly indistinguishable from the restaurant side of things). She didn’t laugh when I promised he wouldn’t be drinking.
    I think changing how our culture views families would likely also bring a lot of missing validation and appreciation for motherhood and women who do there work with their families rather than in the corporate world.

    1. I had that happen too. I was waiting in a crowded restaurant for a take-out order with my toddler and sat at the only open table. The host told me I had to move because that was the “bar” and children aren’t allowed. And there was literally no other place to sit while we waited. Haven’t been back to that restaurant since.

  33. We lived in Germany for 8 years, had both of our babies there. And I can’t tell you how aggravated I would get when an someone (usually American, sorry) would complain that Europeans weren’t “baby-friendly” because they didn’t provide a high chair at the restaurant or some such rot. We took our babies everywhere (mostly our daughter, because our son was pretty tiny when we left) and some of our fave places to visit post-baby were any of the Med. countries. High chairs? Not usually. But I can’t tell you how many times the wait staff would literally pick up our little ones and march them around a restaurant, showing them off as if they were their newest grandchild. I’d move back in a heartbeat.

    1. Such a good point, Margaret. We haven’t seen high chairs anywhere but we’ve seen no shortage of relatives (and waiters!) taking turns holding the baby.

      1. So true! We were in India recently, and the wait staff took our ~1 yr old around to entertain her while we ate. Sadly though, the “high end” restaurants borrow this child-unfriendly trait from the Americans. A baby in a bar though…. I just find it too dark and loud even for myself. I like brightly lit places. I don’t mind people talking loudly, it is the music. I shout and can’t even hear myself still…. I suppose that is why I don’t think it is an appropriate place for my toddler. If I didn’t mind the noise, perhaps I would think differently. We do take her to restaurants quite frequently.

  34. Beautiful. You are so right – we tout ourselves as a “family-friendly” society but only if the children in said family are off in their own little kid-approved space, not getting their kid-ness on any of the oh-so-refined adults. It’s just WEIRD to me, is all. I simply don’t understand why having kids at “adult” venues (and who gets to decide if a venue is “adult” anyway?) is such a big deal. I don’t think I ever will.

  35. You are absolutely right – I felt this the first time we went to Italy when my daughter was 1-1/2 and I’ve felt it ever since. I loved the way the Italians called her “bambino” and invited us into every situation, we weren’t chased away. I’ve been in restaurants lately in NYC where my son was misbehaving and I’ve been treated so badly about fellow patrons. Usually they don’t have kids with them, but it makes you feel really awful. In Europe, they laugh and look at me with compassion.

  36. I live in Portland, OR. Beer Central. We take our kids to the pubs nearby regularly. And while the leisurely days in cafe’s & pubs that you describe sound heavenly, I’ve been fortunate to experience a very open, “bring the kids with you, we have crayons, menus, and stuff just for them” attitude here in the Northwest.

    These folks have mastered it:

    Come hang out here! 🙂

  37. Yup I know exactly what you mean! Kids are welcome everywhere in Europe. We even have special menu-items for them in Belgium or serve smaller kid-portions of the ‘adult-food’.
    When I toured the states with my parents they where frequently berated for drinking a beer or a glas of wine in my presence (I was 14). The way some people went on, you’d think they where some pot or crack!

  38. I bet they didn’t have any all fried food “kids menus” there either! I would love to have my kids eat off a fruit/cheese plate while I enjoyed a glass of red at a wine bar or pub. Sounds wonderful. I know many parents who would love that as well. I also hate the way we view alcohol here. I think it creates problems for college kids who are finally away from their parents and experimenting for the first time with something so forbidden before. Great post.

  39. This is so true about much of Europe. It is more family centered than we are. We have always taken our children to “adult” places. We explain how to behave and expect that. We have been lucky to live in a town that has many family friendly places, even if the state liquor laws are not that friendly. Children are not allowed in liquor stores, and wine is not sold in any other type of store, so to buy wine for a dinner, I must leave my children in the car? How is that good for them? Here honey sit in this hot car while I buy a bottle of wine for that special dinner Daddy is having this week.

    1. And here in NY, you can bring your kid into the liquor store with you, but it’s illegal to leave them alone in the car.


  40. I love how Spanish culture views drinking alcohol. Just a little here and there, never to get falling down drunk. When I was a student in Sevilla I would stop at a cafe every morning for my cafe con leche and nearly everyday there was a woman sitting at the bar eating toast drizzled in olive oil and sipping a small glass of cerveza. Oh, and the groups of young adults who gather in the plazas and drink a bit before going to the clubs. They are never seen as unruly or disruptive, never kicked out by the police.

    Do they still have vending machines that sell beer? I found that so charming.

    1. Just cigarettes, from what I’ve seen. Though smoking now seems to be banned in the city bars at least.

  41. Loved this post! It’s so true. I was in the middle of writing a post about something similar here in Argentina, where I live, and I stumbled across your post. I love places where children, and having them, is no huge big deal, just a normal part of life.

  42. When my now 2 year old daughter was a collicky infant I was in the throes of PPD… I am so happy that I lived in Baltimore, a US city that utterly lacks in pretension. I could take her to a bar at happy hour, decompress a bit with friends to feel less isloated, and even have the added benefit of loud white noise to help her sleep. We have a number of bar/restaurants/pubs that take the eurpoean outlook on families. I was shocked to learn that a pretty upscale french bistro even produced sippy cups bearing its name to any patrons with kids. My daughter is a normal kid who throws the occassional tantrum and finds it hard to sit still, but we’ve never had to turn to a kids menu in a restaurant, and she is learning that she is a member of a community, not something that should be quarantined off at a chuckie cheese.

  43. Like the earlier commenter who knows of kid-friendly bars in Wisconsin, here in San Diego, many of our bars welcome kids — especially those that serve pizza with their craft beer. One of my local bars has a bunch of hula-hoops in the patio for anyone who wants to use them.

    Sometimes I think the problem is with New York, not with all America.

    Still, I know what you mean. When I lived in small-town England with my 2-year-old, I found myself wishing that not only family-friendly-pubs, but also European-style street musicians, car-free living, and farms right up next to residences all were more readily available in the U.S.

  44. You and Nate are both correct. Lots of Americans drink to get drunk and even more of them hide the drinking because of our puritanical roots. It’s a bad scene all around. The thing I find most bizarre happens here in the Northwest and up into BC — children aren’t even allowed INTO a bar, even if they serve food! Where I’m from back east (D.C. and Maryland), so long as the bar serves food, children are generally welcome (especially if it’s an Irish bar). And don’t get me started on beer gardens and food festivals. Children aren’t even allowed into some of the street festivals I want to attend simply because they’re serving beer. Seriously, can’t they check IDs and give wristbands if necessary, or is it that my two year old in the stroller looks old enough to drink.

  45. My husband and I had a long talk about this post last night! We’ve had the same observations many times. I’ve long thought that Americans like the IDEA of children, but not the actuality of them. I remember when I was pregnant . . . people opened doors, people congratulated me. And now I have four kids in a double-wide stroller and not a single person wants to help when I’m maneuvering that thing through an entrance. We get eye-rolls when we go to restaurants before we’ve even sat down. I am afraid to take my kids anywhere, because I become the sweaty, anxious, hyper-sensitive mom who doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers by having children who act like children. This dynamic has made us consider moving abroad many times.

  46. Sigh. You’re making me so jealous I can barely comment. We lived overseas in a very child-integrated culture when my first baby was born. I still miss the the restaurants that I adored there. I would walk into one Indian restaurant every weekday on my lunch break and nurse him while chai tea appeared at my elbow. The minute I was finished, the owner whisked him to a back room where he was smothered with love until I finished eating. It wasn’t like I was being “served” it was like I was a part of their extended family.

  47. Thanks for this post. We’re contemplating a move to Italy and this post helps give perspective. I have noticed that in general Italians are more ga-ga over children and integrate, rather than segregate, children into adult lives. They are do not get a separate kid menus or taken to Chuck E. Cheese’s only. They are taught to behave so that they can become a part of society, one that embraces ALL ages. And one thing that I love about my Chinese heritage is that you often seen multiple generations dining together, kids to grandparents.

    Someone noted that we Americans love the idea of children and I have to agree. We pay lip service to family values but real assistance and support is lacking, especially in such areas as paid maternity (or paternity leaves, affordable childcare, etc..

    1. I’m truly starting to think that what “we” like is the lack of birth control and family planning.

      Not actual families.

      1. Want to “like” (or actually “love”) this! “We” want people to have & raise kids, but “we” don’t want to actually see, hear, or smell them. I chalk it up to pure selfishness, entitlement and lack of community spirit. God forbid you are slightly inconvenienced in any way by another human being that isn’t in your age group/socioeconomic group/etc… I hate when people feel that it is their RIGHT to have a quiet flight or dinner. No. If you want guaranteed quiet, stay home. If you want to enter society, then be prepared for anything. Its maddening and just plain cruel that parents feel that they are trapped in the house or atrocious “kid-friendly” venues for 10 years of their lives.

  48. I know this post was written many years ago but I just found it and did want to respectfully comment. I do have another view on “Kids in/at the Bar”. As children my brother and I grew up in a bar, a true fact since my family owned the “Lounge Lizard” type of place in town. This was essentially acceptable as it was the family business. What was not OK was seeing the number of other kids that were brought into the bar by their parents for hours and hours on end. They were often told to entertain themselves why Daddy (or Mommy) visited with friends. Usually those friends had their children with them too. Often we would hear “We are leaving after Daddy or Mommy finishes this drink or “Just one more and we will go home”. Sometimes we would count the drinks being consumed and I personally counted 5 after my own father pulled this stunt at a friends place in town. 5 more, and that was after being there for several hours! This was not uncommon, not uncommon at all.
    We kids were know as “Bar Rats” and were often brought in by weekend parents. All of us were considered a nuisance and just something to be tolerated. I remember some parents bringing their kids and they were there so much the kids knew each other well.

    I guess my point is I have a right to my feelings regarding this subject as someone who has been there. Although I want to just shake the parents and tell them to grow up, I do not as they have the right to raise their kids as they see fit. What I will do is call the police if they leave drunk and driving, let their children run around unsupervised where it is not safe or send their kids outside to “play as they have another drink”. A bar is not the place to take kids, even well behaved kids. A restaurant masquerading as a bar is just as bad. Serious drinking is not a good example for kids to witness, ever. Kids learn by watching and repeat that behavior. My brother and I do not drink to this day and we are both in our 40’S.

    I am not saying children should be excluded from all venues with alcohol just the inappropriate ones. Also places where the children can’t behave as they are too young or it is too late and they should not be there in the first place. I know for some parents that is inconvenient but having children is inconvenient. They made that choice and need to be responsible for that choice.

    My respectful thoughts as a kid who had no choice.

    1. Thanks for your input Lauri. That sounds like a very different environment than what I experienced in Europe last year. I can see why your experiences would lead you to a different conclusion.

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