Monday, January 9, 2012

Baby On Board... Not at My Bar

Recently, our very own Stunt  Ben posted an article recalling the night his 3-year-old son, Monkey, accompanied him to an upscale bar/restaurant to meet with a number of his adult friends whom he hadn't seen in some time. And based upon his description of the evening, as well as the hour at which the reunion occurred, I say fine. No foul. In fact, well done, Stunt Ben—you found a way to be a good father by spending time with your child while still upholding your commitment to your peers by spending time with them.

That said, this one outing with a kid does not mean that it's always ok to bring a baby to a bar. Now I'm not arguing this from the perspective of shielding the child from the likes of dangerous characters, gamblers, and prostitutes (heck, our own Stunt Pete encourages such behavior with his 20-month-year-old son—he's already something of a hustler - see Munch's Hunches). Hey, baby's gonna learn eventually. Rather, I'm arguing this from the POV of the single guys at the bar. Don't ruin our bar!

Look, we're talking about a sacred place. A refuge, of sorts. A place where men can go and be men. Where we can watch sports. Talk about sports. Do what we want. Say what we want. Drink what we what. Throw peanut shells on the ground and not get yelled at. And when there's no more sports to watch, pick up chicks. This is what happens at bars. This is the contract of conduct to which all patrons should subscribe. Then all of a sudden, I see a mom shooting angry looks at  the patrons because they are loud or are using unsavory language in the presence of her baby. Hey mom… IT'S A BAR!! 

Now I'm not totally against having babies at bars. Heck, some of my fondest childhood memories occurred at local drinking establishments. But there were rules back in those days. Rules you and your dad lived by. And whether it was the corner bar or the barber shop or the Elks Lodge, the rules were simple and they were the same: don't speak unless spoken to, don't move from your seat, don't touch anything unless it's handed to you, don't run with scissors (this was mostly at the barber shop), and don't tell your mother that you were here. So maybe it's time to refresh these rules a bit seeing as how parents are taking more liberties these days about bringing little Billy to the bar.

The DOs and DON'Ts of Baby Bar Etiquette: When It Is OK & NOT OK to Bring Baby to the Bar)

It's ok when…
–The bar/restaurant primarily serves pizza, has beer as a courtesy, plays sports on the plasmas, and has an animatronic hillbilly bear band over in the corner. That's fine. Bring your kid.

It's not ok when…
–The primary draw of the establishment is bucket beer specials, all you can eat hot wings, and wet T-shirt contests. NOT kid friendly.

It's ok when…
–The left page of the menu is all salad. Family friendly.

It's not ok when…
–The bathroom is a place where inebriated individuals are tossing their salad. NOT kid friendly.

It's ok when…
–The establishment has a spot in the alcove where mothers can breast feed their baby in peace. That's a kiddie spot.

It's not ok when…
–The location is one where revealing a breast would start a panic resulting in the tossing of Washingtons in the direction of said mommy… NOT a kid friendly bar. (Dude, these lines cannot be blurred. An exposed breast at a bar—that's sending mixed messages. You can understand, right?).

It's ok when…
–The name of the establishment is an acronym, such as T.G.I.Friday's. Take the whole family to dinner.

It's not ok when…
–The name of the bar contains words like "Duke's Place" or "Sports Bar" or "Live Girls". Take the family to see a Harry Potter film.

In many cases, it has more to do with the time of day that you're out. A lazy Saturday afternoon... sure, let the kid hang out for a bit. But when in doubt, here's an easy little pneumonic device you can use:

If the sun's up above, then baby gets love.
If the sun's down below, then baby must go!

So dads—just use your best judgement. Just like our National Parks—from the majestic redwoods of California to the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee—a bar is a treasured place that we must all protect.

And that's my take on it.
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  1. Bravo! Keep those little shits out of MY BAR!

  2. LOL - I like the close.