Babies in Brooklyn Bars

A couple of weeks ago, one my favorite (local) community Web sites posted a story about a bar in Park Slope. (For those living outside of NYC and Brooklyn, Park Slope is an area that many well-off, new parents have annexed. It’s relatively safe, it’s unbelievably expensive, and it’s the most impossible place on the planet to find a parking spot. I read once that 40% of traffic in Park Slope is people looking for parking).

This particular bar had become a place where some mothers met on some afternoons for a drink. One day, the bar owner put up a sign that read, “NO STROLLERS PLEASE”. He no longer wanted toddlers in his bar. At all. Well, the community went nuts. Some of the Park Slope mommy bloggers freaked out, calling it unfair since they visit the bar during the day when it’s relatively empty. But even more noise came from those who took sides with the bar. Insults began flying! People began calling the mothers degenerates, drunks, and questioning their parenting skills. One guy wrote, “See? If you could still smoke in bars here, this wouldn’t be happening.” (I suppose secondhand smoke is better than secondhand baby?)

The point is, I hadn’t seen that kind of intolerance and animosity take place online in years. And it has haunted me every since.

One supporter of the bar suggested mothers visit Chuck E. Cheese, a children’s theme restaurant beloved by hipsters seeking a dose of irony. (Oh, the irony.) Another person suggested a coffee shop, and many others lamented, “If you have to booze it up with your kid, stay home!”

I’m a new parent so of course this one hit home. And TobyJoe and I have taken Emory to a few local Wiliamsburg bars. Granted, we always go for food and we’re always out of there before any mating rituals begin or it gets too loud (ie. before 9 PM). As far as I know, we’ve never annoyed anyone and if Emory were to cry or fuss, I’d leave in a second. But he doesn’t. The last time we went out for dinner and a drink in the neighborhood, this is what happened:

But ever since I read that article and watched the backlash surface because of it, I can’t relax. Now, all I do whenever we go out is try and read the waiter’s expression or stick whatever object I can into Emory’s mouth to avoid any (God forbid) baby sounds. I am not one to call attention to myself. But I do like to get out every now and again.

I won’t even go into the whole “boozing it up” accusation because I don’t feel that most of these mothers are bringing their babies to bars in order to tie one on. But in America, we tend to hold a less than positive view of booze and bars. At the same time, we put a lot of stock in the magical drinking age of 21 and all those under said age don’t belong. You have to gain the right to drink here in America. I think the culture surrounding alcohol in America is sensationalized.

I live in a city that is anything but family friendly. I feel that the general vibe of New York City is the following: If you’re elderly, move to Florida already. If you’re a child, get the hell out of town. If you’re a mother or father with a baby and you use a stroller or slow everyone else down as you climb the subway stairs with your 20-pound baby strapped to your chest, you belong in the suburbs. Move.

New York City is not friendly to families. The stair-heavy subway system has very few elevators, and the few we’re given are often out of order or patronized by the obese (another group that has no right living here). Since I became a mother, I feel very out of place here and it’s getting worse the older Emory gets and the more we venture out.

More and more I find myself asking, “Where is safe? What’s OK? Where will I not annoy anyone?”

I assume that mothers go to bars because patrons and bar owners are usually pretty tolerant of the occasional raised voice and therefore a few baby squeals will most likely be overlooked. Plus, they are open during the day, you’re not required to order food to “pay rent” on the table, and they’re warm. But some Brooklyn moms are met with fierce resistance from other Brooklynites when it comes to bringing their baby to a bar even if said bar is empty and it’s the middle of the afternoon.

It leaves me wondering, for many people, the issue for them isn’t about babies being around booze, it’s that babies are in bars. It’s not babies in public… but bars. The question I have is, what part of a person is threatened by the shattering of their image of a bar as some sort of special place?


  1. I think babies in bars is pretty sad. I’m seldom at a bar where – not matter the time of day – at least one person isn’t a little more drunk, reckless, and sloppy than they should be. And that worries me about having kids around. I also worry about moms getting caught up and losing track of their kids. I see moms do that in restaurants, cafes, and parks – toss a couple drinks in them, and that just doesn’t make sense to me.

    I think we need to qualify what a ‘bar’ is though… I think of a bar as a place that serves alcohol and no food (or mini pizzas/bar food) – and where people go to drink alcohol.

    A lot of places that once were bars around here are now cafes and restaurants. They have menus and kitchens and also server coffee tea and pastries. Even though they may be referred to as a bar still, I think of the as cafes or restaurants WITH a bar.

    That being said, in my extreme habit of being judgemental… the wise holy and arrogant Jonathan says: if you’re getting brunch or dinner, or meeting people for food – what is the real difference between a ‘bar’ and a ‘restaurant’ ? I don’t think there is any.

    But if you’re meeting your friends to drink on semi-empty stomachs and trying to relive your Sex In The City dreams with toddler in tow, you’re well on your way to being an awful mother.


  2. Long post sorry but I love the issues that become so heated between those with kids and those without. I can feel for both sides on this one. Being a new mom with limited places to go and then to feel your favorite spot doesn’t want you to come is terrible. I wonder if the strollers might have been a fire hazard in the bar that posted the sign. Imagine 5 or 10 bugaboos in the middle of a bar. That takes up a lot of floor space and makes it hard for the staff to work around. The owner posted ‘no strollers’ not ‘no babies.’ I’m sure he didn’t want babies either and this was his way to get them out of his bar but still.

    I do realize my attitude has changed since I have had kids though. Think back to when you were pre-kid. Did you roll your eyes when people came on a plane with a crying baby or pray that they didn’t sit anywhere near you? When you were at a restaurant and a child was awful did you quietly cuss the parents for bringing such a small child to a restaurant? What were they thinking? I know when I waited tables I would cringe when I saw a parent come in with tons of gear, a baby, and then ask for crackers. I knew that they would let the kid throw toys and crush crackers all over the table and into the floor and leave me the mess to clean up (and probably a lousy tip). Of course my previous thoughts and experiences have made me VERY conscious as a parent of making sure my kids didn’t disturb others in restaurants, planes, etc. We have eaten in shifts at many a restaurant when someone could not behave at the table. We save favorite new toys, DVDs, and coloring books for plane trips. The sad thing is a lot of parents don’t make that effort which makes it hard for all of us. People don’t remember the twenty good kids that sat around them at a restaurant or on a plane they remember the one terrible one.

    Pretentious people become pretentious parents. I am guessing in an area like Park Slope that some of those pretentious mommies aren’t as considerate as you in where they leave their overpriced stroller or what they let their kid do in a bar. Plus, bars have always been a grown up spot in the U.S. and a kind of sanctuary from life for some. Having children of any age in a bar no matter how well behaved will always tick some people off.


  3. I felt the same way when we visited Chicago over Christmas this year with our then four month old. We actually ended up leaving early and I couldn’t wait. We got so many dirty looks, especially on the buses. One lady even said, “Oh, God” out loud while rolling her eyes when saw our stroller.

    I’m not sure why people view bars as some sort of sacred place not to be violated. I’ve frequented plenty and I’ve never developed an attachment that warrants such a reaction.

    Maybe it’s the part of them that regrets having kids… Or the part that wishes they had them.


  4. Interesting topic!

    I don’t have kids, but I am one of those people that has rolled eyes, but only at the screaming baby on the tube (London Underground), that the parent is ignoring and silently praying that the little one will stop on its own.

    I really don’t think that bars should restrict or act prejudice in anyway towards a customer who has a baby in tow, especially in the middle of the afternoon. In England kids are allowed in pubs, as long as its before 8pm, and it is assumed that the parent is a responsible drinker.

    I’m not sure whether the owner of the bar has any responsibility to their customer to the extent that the parent is drinking with a child, but the owner should at least treat the parent from a customer services perspective. Hence, I completely agree with you that it is most likely the pretentiousness that is ticking the owner off, and not the cute and adorable babies that are in the bar’s presence.


  5. I’m a non-parent, and I live in a pretty un-family friendly city as well, although it’s certainly not as bad as Manhattan. My thought when I heard about this kerfuffle was that it was most likely the mothers who were the issue not the babies. More often than not, if I see a kid that’s well behaved and adorable and minding it’s own business, I look around and see a mother who is considerate of her surroundings and understands that the girl with the large cup of coffee in one hand and the gigantic stack of papers in the other doesn’t want to engage in small talk chit chat with some stranger’s child and would rather they not scream in the middle of Coffee Bean because good lord, there is an outdoors for that. So my guess is the owner/manager was annoyed with the mommies and not the babies so he decided that the babies weren’t allowed therefore keeping the mommies out as well.


  6. Ah, Park Slope. Where would we be without it? (Answer: Berkeley.)

    I confess to having mixed feelings about this. but I think in the end I am in the camp that says it depends on the kind of establishment, or rather on what we mean by “bar.” I don’t think Floyd (Atlantic Ave) is really kid-friendly, at least after the workday ends and the music gets cranked. It’s pretty much about drinking, playing (drunken) bocce, and yelling (drunkenly) at the sporting event on the tube. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; I’m just not expecting it to be on our list once junior’s arrived.

    A place that serves food (and I’m not talking about peanuts), on the other hand, challenges this definition of “bar.” It’s almost impossible for the same kind of atmosphere to reign here, and the appliucation of a little common sense is probably all that’s needed.

    I do think there’s some truth in the critique of the Brooklynish parent (not confined to the borough, of course, but certainly in full blossom here, and in our generation as a whole) who determines to continue his (or her—but why do I mostly want to say “his”?) pre-parental or even pre-marital lifestyle, or at least the accoutrement thereto, well into marriage and parenthood. I don’t much care what anyone wears, but I kind of care why they wear it. Transitions really are transitions, and I recognize (god, do I recognize) that not everything about that is fun; but I still find there to be something psychotic in the constant need to elide that fact or run away from it, or cover it with whatever the hat-of-the-moment may be. The hipster dad phenomenon is mostly understandable and harmless, but there’s a part of it, or a part of the execution of it, that really does nothing more than betray our collective fucked-up-ness about aging. (And yes, you can certainly color me a victim of said fucked-up-ness, and hating every minute of it.) We are the most youth-obsessed cohort in the history of humanity, and I’m not sure that’s entirely to the good.

    Also, I think it’s worth pointing out that the original sign read, “No Strollers Please.” By which I mean it didn’t say “No Babies.” I know not all strollers are created equal, but some can be pretty monstrous; and I don’t know the bar (or whatever it is) in question, but I can imagine space being a premium as it is in much of Brooklyn, and movement often being difficult, as it also can be in restaurants and bars and such in this town. Perhaps if we were, as a cohort (as a species?), more given to self-deference and consideration (as I well know you are, but as many of our fellows are not), no mandate would be required. But c’mon. There is a species of Park Sloper (and NYer generally) who sees him/herself generally as the center of the universe, never to be challenged or trod upon, with rights of any and all kind imaginable extending from the beginning of time to all future points, and certainly not stopping – not even swerving – for some hapless waitress. Are you telling me you don’t relish seeing the smackdown just a wee little bit? (Look deeply, Luke Skywalker, into your punk-tinged past…)


  7. I am currently wearing bananas and trying to catch up here, but man, brad, that last bit? ha!


  8. I don’t have anything against bab(i)es in bars in itself, but I can see a lot of ways for it to go wrong. Is the stroller in everyone’s way? Are the parents paying attention to shenanigans or chatting/getting their drink on? NYC is just a pain in the ass in general and one inconsiderate person can mess things up for a lot of others. With a baby there’s just more opportunity to be inconsiderate.

    While I’m not among them, some people are pretty hardcore about their drinking and their bars. And I can totally see the bar’s owner wanting to maintain an atmosphere of something that doesn’t involve infants.

    Park Slope’s got lots of coffee joints and other bars—just don’t go to Union Hall. Given its demographics, I’m sure someone will devise an explicitly kid-friendly bar and rake it in.


  9. I haven’t ever been to Union Hall, I know nothing about it or what type of place it is. I’m not really writing today to call the bar owner out at all. He has EVERY right to do what he wants with his business. I was more appalled by the backlash and it reiterated just how anti-family friendly NYC really is.


  10. It’s hard to tell if the issue is babies, or is it strollers? If you want to bring your baby to a bar knock yourself out, but what about (and I doubt this is the issue) being 21 to enter? What if you had an infant and a 12 year old, is it ok to have a 12 year old in a bar?


  11. well michele, i’d guess second hand smoke is probably worse than second hand babies, but the the smoking ban sure opened the door for other complaints….unitended results from the best intentions. the same thing is happening around here…..well it’s more like Romper Room in these parts until 10 or 11 pm! i like to curse loudly around small children, it’s easier and more effective than calling the cops. but, as for now, the babies stay and the smoking ban keeps getting repealed, go figure! : )


  12. Babies in bars? In my opinion it is ok if a) it is before 9PM, b) said baby is not disturbing patrons any more than the unruliest of age patron there, c) food is served and d) attending guardian wouldn’t be cited for public drunkeness.

    Americans are too uptight about drinking alcohol in a minor’s presence. My grandfather was German and would serve beer to his kids with a meal instead of water. When he grew up tap water was likely contaminated whereas beer wasn’t. OK – off topic, I know…


  13. See, i have heard this whole, “I curse in bars, babies shouldn’t be near me where i can curse freely.” Which would be awesome if cursing wasn’t allowed outside of said places. (Perhaps there should be a law against cursing in public places?) I can’t step out of my house without some meathead using the F word or screaming some type of obscenity. Seriously. I mean that entirely. I was standing outside on my stoop yesterday with Emory about to head out for a walk and the guy next door was smoking a joint with his meathead friend (Both at least 35) saying every word imaginable. I heard the word cunt, fuck, dickhead and we were only out there for a minute or two.

    And the subway? Holy crap! That’s like entering a set of the Sopranos!

    Granted, I realize that bringing my kid to a bar makes it a bit more prevalent and expected. But still.


  14. One of my favourite pubs here in Ottawa is baby friendly. At first, I’ll admit, it was weird seeing babies in the pub and I was definitely in the silent “please don’t sit near me” camp, but after watching these parents plop their little nubbins in a car seat next to them, nine times out of time they just konk out. People seem to know to leave their strollers at the door. (phew) On the flip side, I’ve also seen more mobile tots running around the crowded pub – which I imagine is a huge annoyance to the staff. And frankly, annoying to me!

    I agree with tamara, that bar owner is probably just tired of people treating his place like a daycare and not like a restaurant. Not everyone is as respectful of their surroundings as you… unfortunately! Manners… when did they go out of style?


  15. Sorry, my above “rant” was in response to a conversation I had about this offline. (And Greg’s comment reminded me of it.) I realize it kind of came out of nowhere. My apologies.

    Also, I don’t think anyone would suggest that having a 12 year old in a bar is OK. Where do they draw the line? I am not sure. But I think most everyone would employ common sense where that’s concerned.

    I’m overly paranoid now and don’t really feel like going anywhere because of what I read (response-wise). We’re supposed to go to a brewery this evening for a baby shower and I don’t really feel right about it now. We’ll see.


  16. Does Emory like his pilsners, or his lagers?



  17. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about taking him tonight because you are a considerate mommy. You aren’t going to make a room full of people listen to your baby if he is upset. You aren’t going to leave a stroller out in the middle of the aisle for people to trip over. I think that seems to be the opinion of the majority here. No one cares as long as you are considerate. Park Slope mommies’ reputations seem to proceed them as not being considerate.

    Plus, if you are having a baby shower in a bar, I am guessing it isn’t a smarmy pick up place but a place that also serves food and has a more pleasant atmosphere. Big difference. I would never take my kids to the bar where I met your brother (wait—didn’t we meet at church?). However, we use to take the kids during the day to a place that was a bar but also served really good food here and never thought twice about it.


  18. Well, I think tonight we’re going to head to NJ after all, visit the parents.

    And, yes, you’re probably right, Park Slope moms are probably one of a kind. Also, Brad, I’m late on this one, but add Noe Valley to that list of places this might happen. (Although does anyone live in Noe Valley who doesn’t have kids? I think not.)

    You know, I remember when we moved back to NYC and I said to TJ, “I like that there’s no smoking here anymore. I like that people bring their babies to bars. I like seeing babies in bars.” True story. I wasn’t even thinking of babies back then. (Granted, I meant at reasonable hours and in certain bars that we frequent.) Also, I remember sitting outside at a wine garden two summers ago and watching a group of three women with their toddlers in tow sip wine and each fine cheese. I remember thinking that was really nice and that should I ever have kids, I’d like to do that with a group of girlfriends.

    I hate that I am not comfortable with this right now anymore. Maybe come spring things will change a bit and I’ll feel OK about it.


  19. Noe Valley. Oh, yeah, baby. They’ll shoot you for drinking the wrong kind of coffee in that ‘hood.

    Don’t stress. You’re a nice person and your boy is cute and precocious. (In another couple of months you can probably just let him bring his homework along.) You are naturally considerate and seek to avoid giving offense. It’s mostly a matter of common sense, of which you have plenty.

    Besides, even if someone is pissed off, it’s unlikely they’ll have the sack to do more than give you a dirty look. And if they do, just say hey, man, there’s plenty of beer to go around—Emory’s only gonna have one or two!


  20. I think there is a big dose of morality here because it is women taking the kids to the bar. If it were a group of stay at home Dads meeting, everyone would think it was so cool and I doubt the bar owner would cause such a stink. Mothers aren’t suppose to be in bars, heaven forbid with their children. Bars are dens of immorality, don’t you know? Mothers are idealized creatures that should be at home, cooking and teaching her kids how to read and write. No matter how modern we are, old stereotypes linger and few want to admit it.

    I believe that society thinks once women become mothers they should hide inside their homes, go only to lame kid places (I’m sorry, Chuck E Cheese kills my soul. I’ve never taken my kid there and plan to hold out as long as possible), and only interact with other mothers. Once we become mothers, we cease to exist to the world as anything other than mothers. We aren’t individuals anymore and we can’t do what we did before. We have a responsiblity to sacrifice ourselves to our children and society is going to hold us to that by showering us with moral indignation, rolled eyes, unsolicited parenting advice, and an array of nasty words at the inconvenice we inflict on the rest of society when we try to hold on to a shred of individual life and venture out of the house, into “their” world with our kids.

    All that being said, I don’t take my kid to many restaurants anymore. She can’t handle it and I can’t handle the looks and the snotty words. My kid has autism and sometimes she can be really challenging. I’ve heard some really nasty comments from people over the years and to all of them I have some nasty words of my own. In my life, As a comparison, I’ve seen plenty of apparently responsible adults in bars and restaurants behaving in horrible and totally inappropriate ways. They don’t get kicked out and they don’t get this kind of indignation from the community. It is passed off as innocent hijinks when the mothers are treated like alcoholic child abusers.

    So I say to women, take your kids where ever you want to take them. Leave a good tip and don’t feel guilty.


  21. I REALLY think that has nothing to do with gender, and everything to do with an annoying type of parent… who is often either irresponsible or arrogant.

    In the past I’ve run into Michele & Toby on the street, one of us having walked out of an establishment, and telling the others “Yea.. there are parents drinking with their babies in tow”. It’s been moms, its been dads, its been both.


    Mihow, have you ever heard “bodies of water”? I just heard them, and they sound to me like something i could imagine you liking a lot.


  22. mihow – i’m tracking you down…


  23. Michele Chavez, I couldn’t agree with you more. Amen, woman. Amen.


  24. Big strollers, like the one we have (Bugaboo Cameleon) probably have a similar footprint to a wheelchair. I wonder what the community’s response would have been if the sign said ‘no wheelchairs.’ Babies can’t walk – they need strollers. A disabled person can’t walk – they need a wheelchair. Can neither go to the bar?


  25. “No strollers” is, without a doubt in my mind, intended to mean “no kids.”


  26. Passive aggressively, you’re absolutely right.


  27. I have always thought that babies in bars (early in the day, of course) are one of the cool things about Brooklyn. People have been known to bring their dogs too, you know. It’s basically the same thing as a couple of moms meeting for brunch, bringing the tots, and having a bloody mary with their eggs. Why should they be forbidden from hanging out at their favorite places? I live in Brooklyn, and there are actually very few places where you can meet socially that DON’T serve alcohol. Starbucks? Good luck getting a seat.

    It works out perfectly when it’s a quiet time at the restaurant/bar. I becomes an issue for the other patrons and bar owner when people let their kids wander around and get in the way, or possibly hurt business by taking over the place with massive strollers.

    The parents need to be more considerate of other patrons than the non-parents. Unfair, but true. The complainers need to grow up and live and let live.


  28. I remember this from when I lived in Brooklyn (though I was in Carroll Gardens, not Park Slope and this was pre-baby). A few things occur to me that have also been mentioned above:

    1) Strollers-not babies-in small places are a huge pain (I try to be considerate with ours and we have a smaller umbrella-type version), but if the bar owner’s implication was “no babies”, well, then that sucks. I regularly took Ellie to the “boozer” in London during daytime hours, especially since they had just passed their smoking ban. But of course, we were always eating along with our beer.

    2) Park Slope is a different kind of place. I personally hated going to the Barnes & Noble in Park Slope because you can’t get through the aisles as they are so jammed up with strollers. I remember that not too long ago there was a huge uproar over them asking parents to leave strollers parked at the front of the store. As a parent and a B&N patron, I have no problem with this-it’s just courtesy-but I remember people getting pretty mad about it.

    3) I’m living in Baltimore now and as in any city, it’s tougher with a baby. Many of the places we frequent (museums, restaurants, etc) have “stroller parking” and while it is inconvenient, I totally get it.

    4) There is a coffee shop my husband and I regularly visit with the baby and we get dirty looks whether the baby is in the stroller or the Bjorn, with just me or just my husband, whether she is crying or not (and we always leave the second she cries) etc, so I always take my coffee to go. My husband won’t go there anymore, figuring there are lots of other options. He is probably right but they are convenient so I still go, wishing I had the nerve to sit down and read a book!


  29. No kids yet, but this is always something I wonder about. When we lived in London, we were in an area that sounds kind of Park Slope-y. Lots of ‘yummy mummies’ as they call them in the UK. Lots of coffee shops and pubs taken over by mothers and babies. And I liked it. And now, we live in Ireland, and it is also very kid friendly. You often see families in bars or restaurants, kids sitting and playing with each other while parents catch up. I wonder if my perception of how kid-friendly it is here will change once we have kids in the next few years.

    I love being around kids and kids tend to like me (I think it is because I have big features and gesticulate a lot when I talk…and I am loud…kids like loud), so I do pay attention to these sorts of things. But I have had run-ins with mothers in London who seemed to lack consideration. Which is frustrating, and gives all the good mothers a bad name. It is like Americans in Europe (which I am!). We get this reputation as being loud and dumb and obnoxious, when in actuality it is just a small portion of our population doing that, but by being so loud, dumb and obnoxious, they spoil the reputation of us good, fun, smart Americans.


  30. I’m trying to run out the door so I can’t read the other comments – forgive me if this is a repeat…

    I’m always amazed by the sheer amount of discussion that goes on around this general topic (where is it appropriate to bring your baby/child) in this country. I was born in Spain and travel back more than a couple of times a year as most of my family is still there (though I was raised mostly in this country). It is absolutely, positively NORMAL to see babies in bars there. When I get together with my family there, we might go to a bar to have drinks and tapas. My cousins will come and bring their BABIES (in strollers even!) and the bar owners and other patrons are always happy to oblige. In fact, my cousins’ kids who are toddler aged are apt to find playmates there from another family.

    The hitch I think is that people tend to think of bars as a place to go and drink in this country. There, they are seen as a place to go and be social and maybe have some drinks (both alcoholic and non alcoholic). There just also seems to be a general appreciation for families and children there. And I’m not talking about small suburbs either, I’m talking downtown Madrid – which is about as huge and cosmopolitan city as you can find.

    I always worry about the day when I ahve a kid here because my personal view is that if I want to take the kid out to eat with me, then I’ll do that. Other people can seriously kiss my ass if they have an issue with that. And it should go without SAYING that I understand what is and isn’t appropriate behavior from my kid while we’re out in public, but it should also go without saying that I understand what is and isn’t appropriate behavior from the other adults there. Inappropriate behavior includes rolling your eyes, whispering snide things about me or my kid to your friends, and generally acting like a f*cking snob about things. Too bad such adults wouldn’t happen to have a parent with THEM to curb their behavior.

    The topic gets me heated, almost because I just don’t think it should be a topic at all!


  31. I lived in England for a year, getting my Masters degree, and I loved that kids and babies were welcome in pubs there. You’ve always got the inconsiderate parents who let their kids cavort in the potted plants or strew toys in the aisle, but I have had to deal with a LOT more inconsiderate drunk feel-ya-up men. I would sooner have my beer with a toddler than a drunken frat boy any day of the week.

    We are a sort of Puritan country when it comes to alcohol, I think, which is silly (side note – I was going to have alcohol – as in a couple of coolers full of Miller Lites – at our company picnic until a band of uptight parents said they would boycott. No alcohol allowed around their children. And I was like – so you don’t even have a beer with dinner sometimes? It annoyed the piss out of me.) A mom at a bar during lunchtime with friends is looking for social time, probably not looking to get drunk like some of the people you quoted claim. And having her young children exposed to responsible social drinking at an early age would doubtless lead them to make similarly responsible choices when they grow up. A mother with a serious alcohol problem is going to hide her vodka in the laundry basket at home, not head out to a bar to get drunk.

    I worry just like you, though. I’m about to have my first baby, and Patrick and I talk a lot about whether or not it would be rude to bring him along to this or that. Presuming he’s a sweet, non-fussy little guy who would snooze the afternoon away – I think it would be as appropriate for us to enjoy a drink at a beer garden as any non-parent. But I will feel super self conscious about it the first few times we go.


  32. I think this was mainly to discourage people from bringing in strollers and blocking people, same reason Barnes and Noble just did the same. The kids are still allowed in both. But often the gigantic strollers are a pain when left in the center of an aisle etc. and can just as easily be locked up outside, alongside the bikes. i think we’ll see more and more expanded stroller lockups alongside bikeracks in the near future.


  33. Let me preface what I have to say by pointing out that I love kids and have two very adorable monsters of my own.

    I am always annoyed at going somewhere I consider an adult setting and finding parents who bring their kids along. No matter how well behaved the kid is and how hard the parent tries to keep them from being disruptive, it always is. I am resentful that I have just paid a babysitter to go out and have some adult time and then have to be subjected to someone else’s selfish, inconsiderate, belief that everyone must welcome their children’s presence as they do.

    When I was a new parent, I made the mistake of thinking that I could still do all the things I did before children, with just a little more planning. I remember one very horrible plane ride with my nine-month-old that still gives me nightmares. There was nothing I could do to calm an overtired baby whose ears were hurting. After that day, I decided that I would give up plane travel for as long as necessary so as not to cause a scene like that again. I also gave up all but Pizza Hut for dinners out.

    It’s just something that all parents should come to terms with and the earlier the better.

    Sorry to be the burster of bubbles. I think Emory is very cute! :)


  34. I think there’s something here that has been touched on but not said outright. “Strollergate” has been going on in Park Slope for YEARS now. It’s heavily documented on sites like Daddytypes and it’s become a weird Battle of the Bulge situation with both sides digging in and nothing changing in the long term. Any mild mannered citizen can get mowed down by strollers 2 and 3 abreast in PS and not one driver of a stroller will make a move to share the pavement. This type of behavior has created all manner of animosity with local residents and business owners.

    I was recently in a coffee shop in the area during a moms and babies gathering and they had taken over the entire, relatively large, joint with a group that should have taken up about 3 cafe tables. One kid of recent walking age was practically out the front door AND chewing on unpurchased merchandise before a mother wandered by to see what was up. At one point 2 mothers with strollers stopped and blocked the main entrance for a good 5 minutes while looking for a missing hat, neither one made a move to the side to free up the narrow entry area.

    So, it’s not just bars and it’s not about alcohol and babies and this vitriol isn’t directed at you Mihow, I’m sure. This is yet another example of people being idiots, possibly a little bit on both sides, and you’re not an idiot so you’re OK.


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