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Kids In Pubs

by Keith Wildman
26 September 2013 110 Comments

Take your kids to the park, the match, museums, whatever. Just keep them out of the pub...

I’ve not got any kids, nor do I have any real desire to imminently have any. I appreciate that for the human race to continue, there is a need to procreate and bring the next generation into the world. It’s a biological necessity. For this I am grateful, it means there will be future generations to empty our bins, mend our cars, handle our call centre queries, and run off with our money in the banking sector. The world will keep turning just as it is now. What I don’t understand is the need, carried through by some parents, to introduce their young offspring to the haven for all that is adult. The public house.

We’re fortunate in this country that we have a variety of places families can visit. Parks, cinemas, theatres, shops, museums, cafes, swimming pools, public transport, probably about 99% of the public realm is available for those with children. So why, with all these riches are some parents not satisfied and decide they need to take their kids to the pub?

There is nothing for kids in pubs. They may find the lights on the fruit machines amusing for a while, be intrigued by the blokes swearing at the bar or investigate the aerodynamic capabilities of a beer mat, or worse half pint glass. But they will inevitably get bored very quickly. They will inevitably lose interest in the half pint of lemonade they’ve been bought to occupy them, and they will inevitably begin to get loud. A loud child has the unique property of being louder than a loud adult. Not only louder, but more annoying. Grating. Like a slipping fan belt driving down the street at 3am when you’re in bed, or James Corden appearing on your telly.

Pubs are meant to be noisy, but the kind of noise generated by hard working men letting off steam at the end of the day, pointlessly arguing about politics or football or which is the best local curry house. Not the screeching noise of a bored child. The noise of a pub also includes plenty of swearing, in the tap room at least. Swearing is not compatible with children. Why should I have to mind my language simply because you chose to inflict your child on me?

Children will also run around. The pub is not a place to run around. If you’re carrying four pints back to your table, and a bloke runs into you, then you’d be rightly aggrieved. He’d be quite correct to expect either a slap round the chops, or an invitation to purchase a new round, or more likely both. Post haste. Children, being less than waist height, are a lot harder to spot, and seeing as giving someone else’s kids a clip round the ear these days appears to be frowned on, parents should take heed not to put their kids in peril of this potential scenario in the first place. By not bringing them to the pub.

“A loud child has the unique property of being louder than a loud adult. Not only louder, but more annoying. Grating. Like a slipping fan belt driving down the street at 3am when you’re in bed, or James Corden on your telly.”

There’s also something slightly depressing about kids in pubs. I remember a trip to Rotherham a few years back with City. The pub at the junction of the main road and the road that lead down to Millmoor was called The Miner’s Arms. It was a place that felt trapped in the 70s and had the air of an old working man’s club about it. Formica tables, polystyrene tiles on the ceiling, one large rectangular room with a long bar down the side and a pool table at the end. Racing was on the telly. It was empty. Bar us and a fella with a kid. He had the paper open on the racing pages and was staring intently at the telly whilst also half heartedly flicking his fingers on some kind of plastic assembled tabletop children’s game involving a small ping-pong ball, that he’d picked up at the corner shop with his fags. The kid would run after the ball as it kept falling on the floor, place it back in the game, only for it to be disinterestedly flicked onto the floor again. A grim spectacle indeed.

There are also parents who take a haughty affront to their spawn not being allowed on a licensed premises. Not too long ago, in my local – which clearly has a sign by each door stating that children under 18 are not allowed in after 7pm – a woman came in with a toddler around half 7. When told there were no children allowed, she turned on her heels and bellowed with disgust: “What is this, the middle ages or summat?” No love if it was the middle ages your kid would either be doing something useful like ploughing a field or more than likely bedridden with consumption, not disturbing me whilst I’m enjoying a nice pint of Ossett Silver King.

This event was trumped some weeks later when a young lass walked in at half midnight, clutching a baby to her chest and asked if they were still serving.

‘But Keith’, you may be saying. ‘What about dogs? There’s lots of dogs with pubs in, aren’t they an equal menace? Are you happy for dogs to be in pubs and not children?’ Yes, of course I am. Dogs are great, they add to the atmosphere, they don’t suck the life out of it. Most importantly, dogs know their place, they know we’re their masters. Children on the other hand demand to be in charge and in these days of rampant consumerism and increased competitiveness between parents to have the latest pram/toys/fuck-off trampoline abomination in the garden, they call the shots. This, quite simply is not compatible with a pub environment. Pubs are a refuge away from such things. That’s why they’re there.

So, if you’ve got kids, do us pub goers a favour, don’t be so selfish, think of others and don’t bring them. Enjoy the 99% of other places you’re free to visit and leave the pubs for the adults.

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

MmmMudhuts 8:34 am, 24-Jul-2010

Amen brother!

OldTown 10:21 am, 24-Jul-2010

Couldn't agree more. I was in the pub yesterday for a few after work liveners. This particular pub does serve food so has become a bit of a magnet for families with young children. Yet it is also a pissheads pub. Yesterday about 5.30pm in came three mothers and literally about ten kids, and they just took over the place, obviously oujt for a treat. But this was no place for ten year old kids out on a jolly, running round screaming while the women looked on indulgently. Needless to say the money the pub made from those cheap meals was more than lost as we made a hasty exit to enjoy our expensive and profitable pints in a more understanding environment. My grandad always used to say pubs are no place for kids - people swearing, deinking, smoking (in the good old days) and fighting is no place for a child. And he was right.

Alexander 10:59 am, 24-Jul-2010

Of all the great articles on here, the finest achievement of Sabotage Times is the repeated abuse of James Corden.

fatboyfat 4:54 pm, 24-Jul-2010

I could not agree more. Can someone post a link onto Mumsnet?

The Fat Bloke 8:03 pm, 24-Jul-2010

And verily did Keith speak the truth.

George N1 8:40 pm, 24-Jul-2010

I totally agree. Being a total Islington cliche my boyfriend and I regularly drink in the UK's first organic pub and several other gastropubs which N1 is fortunate to be graced with. I am so bored of little humans running around my table whilst I am trying to enjoy a dish of pork belly and a pint of Suffolk ale. Take your kids for a milkshake instead. If you want to come to the pub get a babysitter.

oneupmanship 9:19 pm, 24-Jul-2010

Spot on! I don't have kids myself, but if I did I wouldn't dream of taking them to a pub, so leave yours at home too. It's totally irresponsible parenting. If you're not drinking then you don't need to be there, if you are then your children shouldn't be with you.

CMLOVER 10:25 pm, 24-Jul-2010

I love when morons use the phrase "I don't have kids myself but if I did....." Whatever pal. Let's see the article you write when you DO have kids. Then I'll be impressed.

Drunken Mum 9:27 am, 25-Jul-2010

I do have kids and when I go to the pub I want a break from them!

Keith Wildman 11:36 pm, 25-Jul-2010

I must have missed the part when I wrote "I don't have kids myself but if I did....." I'm assuming all those who are happy to take their kids in a pub would be equally happy for me to sit in their kids nursery supping a few pints.

fkh 3:17 am, 26-Jul-2010

Also don't have kids myself but 100% agree on this!FACT!

jonnyraythrash 8:49 am, 26-Jul-2010

pubs tend to be full of fat greasy socially inhibited alcoholics 'dodging the toad work' as a famous old slaphead used to say....so on that premise I tend to keep my littl 'un out of them anyway!

Steve D 8:54 am, 26-Jul-2010

That's right lets keep families out of pubs. Why would we want to be selling pop to kids (well apart from the fact that it's far more profitable that selling beer). It makes me sick when I got to a pub that has more than 4 punters, all of whom have a full range of mental health problems. Don't these people know that by inflicting their kids on these bitter lonely men they're just rubbing their noses in the fact some of these poor buggers have not had sex in over 7 years. I say keep kids out of pubs, leave them at home with the womenfolk.

Royston Robertson 9:02 am, 26-Jul-2010

If you ever do have kids, Keith, you'll find that being a parent is a bloody hard job and can be quite isolating, especially for those of us that don't have those on-tap babysitters known as grandparents living nearby. So every time someone writes an article saying "Don't take your kids in pubs" or – incredibly – "Don't take your kids in restaurants", it adds to that feeling of isolation. It's as if once you commit the terrible crime of becoming a parent you should never again be allowed to do normal and enjoyable things. But why should we only ever go to nightmarish soft-play areas instead of the occasional trip to the pub? Why should it always be McDonald's instead of a decent restaurant? Of course, parents should not be getting blind drunk when looking after their offspring, and should make sure the kids have enough distractions and are not running around causing chaos, but please let us in for a couple of drinks! And one other thing: pubs aren't libraries. I've come across lots of annoying, loudmouthed, belligerent idiots in pubs, and they are never under the age of 18.

Keith Wildman 2:11 pm, 26-Jul-2010

Don't worry Royston, 'Don't take your kids in restaurants' is coming soon.

Drunken Mum 7:27 pm, 26-Jul-2010

The time soon passes and kids grow up - and lets not forget it's only quite recently that people could take kids to pub - what did our parents do? As I say I do have kids - plenty of other places to go with them that aren't pubs - use your imagination - and mostly it has been our choice to have our kids and we have to make other choices like being a responsible parent and not letting out kids witness all the things that go on in the pub when they are too young to understand- wrong place for them - bad language - drunks and from what I've seen most kids seem to find the pub boring. Restaurants ok for kids - pubs are not. Pubs are out of context to a kid! You may be responsible drinker but you can't ask the other adults in the pub to be careful around your kids as Royston points out.

Royston Robertson 11:19 pm, 26-Jul-2010

DM I'm talking about pubs in the day time, early evening at most, when people are usually quite well behaved. But to be honest, we don't really bother very often because it is too much hassle. Keith, don't bother writing the "Don't take your kids in restaurants" piece. I've already read it. Just as I've already read the article about pubs before you wrote it. That's why it rankles, parents have heard it all before.

ustuntman 8:10 am, 30-Jul-2010

Getting pissed while looking after your kid is a necessary part of modern life, which pubs - thank god - provide. Bringing up kids is a thankless relentless task, alleviated only by the promise of alcohol. One caveat to this though - kids must be outside in the beer garden come rain or shine. Indoors is no place for them.

O~ 2:20 am, 1-Aug-2010

"I love when morons use the phrase "I don't have kids myself but if I did....." Whatever pal. Let's see the article you write when you DO have kids. Then I'll be impressed. " ..... Well, to me, without going all 'Daily Mail' I see pubs as potential dangers, pissheads, glasses, swearing, violence, crowding, smoke, coke etc, doesn't matter if this is a council estate pub or a posh gastro pub, I've seen it, alcohol clouds everything, you can't get in a car when you've had a skinful so how can you take your kids home? I'm worried crossing the street with my little nephew when I'm sober, imagine doing it sozzled? I stand by what I said, and even if you're taking your kid to a beer garden for one pint, I don't care, that's what picnics are for. Some people don't want to hear yapping kids and to be banging into buggies, hey, that's what they might have escaped from in the first place. I have memories of being stuck in a pub with my alcoholic father as a kid, granted he'd taken us toy shopping, but I wanted to enjoy my new GI Joe stuff at home without the stench of cigs and pork scratchings and being gawped at by toothless smelly c*nts. I know when I do have kids I will not do the same. Oh, and the only morons I can see are those who take their young 'uns to a pub.

Charley 2:29 pm, 2-Aug-2010

I don't have kids so I don't know what it is like to be a parent aching for a drink and some adult company at the end of the day. I can see why peeps do take their kids to pubs - booze and adults for some sane chat. But I get totally fed up with parents who think its OK for little Jimmy to tear around the place squawking and demanding attention and then shoot death stares at people like me who look on less than impressed when little Jimmy is really getting on my tits. I'm made to feel like the social priah for not wanting kids to invade an adult space. Fact pubs aren't made for kids! Fact - it is your choice to have kids, so while I sympathise with your need for alchol, you knew having kids was not going to be a bed of roses, so don't push that sh*t on people who don't want to be around kids. I have nothing against parents or kids, just please have a bit of respect for those who wish to be around neither and take themselves down the pub to do so.

oobla 10:34 am, 3-Aug-2010

Absolutely right. I'm a f/t Dad and wouldn't dream of taking my kids to the pub. Yeah feed em coke n crisps while being surrounded by loud swearing drunks ,what a brilliant way to bring 'em up. I cringe when I see my mates kids there and frankly it puts me off the place. I love my big beers, but not with the tin lids.

Keith Wildman 4:06 pm, 11-Aug-2010

If only these nuggets had read Sabotage Times then they'd have known not to go in the pub... http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/8321752.Mums_thrown_out_of_pub/?ref=mr

nifty 50 2:55 pm, 23-Aug-2010

Even though i have been guilty of taking my kids in the pub after the match a couple of times i must agree its not ideal the pub is just not the place for kids you just don't enjoy it and neither do they.

Donzee 5:20 pm, 27-Aug-2010

I'm a mum and yes take my kids to the pub. I don't feel the kids are a problem. Its the morons that take no notice and let them run riot!!!! As soon as they play up you leave not bloody ignore em!!!

Donzee 5:27 pm, 27-Aug-2010

"Keep kids out of our pubs!" I think you will find they are our pubs too!!! Families have as much right to be there as you!!!! Parents who do take there kids need to be responsible for them.

Donzee 5:35 pm, 27-Aug-2010

Just want to point out i'm talking about during the day. Before thinks get out of hand, not a time for kids to be in put! A couple of lunch time drinks yes, A night getting pissed out your skull no!!!!!!!!!

Who cares? 6:57 pm, 9-Sep-2010

Kids everywhere but try and find a dog friendly pub in the UK ,i went all over Lake Como with mans best friend and was welcomed with open arms , back to the UK and he´s banned just about everywhere , meanwhile playschools being played out, while i try to drink my cider.

Jamie 10:48 am, 27-Sep-2010

The only time I feel it is acceptable to take my kids to the pub is for lunch on a Sunday - and even then, only to a family-type pub with a dining area rather than a boozer. I also ensure they sit at the table and behave themselves - I hope this is considered a fair trade-off to those who'd rather not have kids in a pub at any time at all. I wouldn't dream of taking them to a pub in the evening.

Trevor 11:14 am, 27-Sep-2010

I take my kids to the pub loads, nothing wrong with it in my opinion. They like a packet of crisps and a lemonade, I have a pint. As long as they'e not running riot round the pub what harm's it doing? Obviously there's a time and place for it, I wouldn't take them to a pub in the evening but Saturday or Sunday lunchtime is fine. As for people who don't have kids who say that if they did, they'd never take them, I think that's shame as most kids love going from my experience.

MrMustard 6:08 am, 28-Sep-2010

What a nonsense article. One of the few good things about this benighted country is it's wide and diverse range of pubs. There are plenty of pubs that I wouldn't dream of taking my kids into, but there are a few that I'm quite happy to visit on an afternoon and enjoy a pint while they have an orange squash and some crisps. It's up to landlords to decide whether or not they allow kids in their pubs. Therefore, if you don't like kids being in your favourite boozer, have a word with the landlord. Then it will be up to them to choose whether you sitting at the bar nursing your half a mild and whining on about how much better things were in the old days is worth more to them than a family of four having a couple of quick rounds and a few bags of crisps.

susan walker 9:28 pm, 15-Oct-2010

christ, they'll be letting in women next...

Craig 9:57 pm, 15-Oct-2010

I concur. I don't hang around in playgrounds (I'm not allowed to anymore), so keep kids out of pubs.

cleckheaton 3:48 pm, 16-Oct-2010

There are lots of Family boozers (eateries) with playgrounds that families with kids can go these days. in no way should kids be allowed into a working man's haven(Tap oil)

NC 4:30 pm, 16-Oct-2010

Kids in Kid-Friendly Pubs Biggots in Biggot-Friendly Pubs That should work?

Chocolate The Owl 12:16 pm, 22-Nov-2010

I totally agree, pubs aren't places for children. Kids and Alcohol usually don't go hand in hand. Pubs should come with a warning on the door first "Child Friendly". However..... The "wacky warehouse" or "Two for One" signs in yellow and red similar to McDonalds colours are usually a great indication where to avoid the little terrors.

Nikki 12:30 am, 30-Nov-2010

Bit of a cliche this article. I've got a feeling you will read this piece again one day and weep for talking such shit

Keith Wildman 12:07 am, 7-Dec-2010

What an excellent, well thought out and erudite counter view Nikki. And 'cliché', are you sure about that? Maybe you should consult a dictionary.

Jennifer Rowe 5:10 pm, 9-Dec-2010

What an utter numbskull - we take our children to our friendly local pub and they behave beautifully. If they misbehaved, became noisy or were behaving in a manner which we felt could be offensive/annoying we would leave straight away. Some parents may have unruly children in a pub but you cannot tar all parents with the same brush - should we say all men that watch sports in a pub get drunk and have fights therefore no one that watches sport should go in a pub? I am sure that once you mature and have a family of your own you will realise that parents are still people and you will realise that those people want to include their children when they go out as, oddly to you, parents want to spend time with their children! If you are not the landlord of the pub, you have no more right to be there than parents with children. Personally I think pubs would be better without bitter bearded men but it's not my choice!

Keith Wildman 6:07 pm, 10-Dec-2010

"Personally I think pubs would be better without bitter bearded men but it's not my choice!" Love that line! Think I'll get it engraved on me tankard.

Phil 11:19 pm, 13-Dec-2010

Kids should be at home with Mam, not in t'pub, learnin' how to make sandwiches for Da's lunch down pit, like. As for Nikki, just ignore her, Keith. She probably wears comfy shoes, if you take my meaning.

Paul D. Brazill 11:42 pm, 13-Dec-2010

Smashing.

H. Flowers 11:59 pm, 13-Dec-2010

"The pub is not a place to run around".

steff 9:13 am, 14-Dec-2010

The article should really be about not having kids in the pub "bar", taking the wee one into the "saloon" or "lounge" for a quick beer in the afternoon or early evening is fine. Since the late 80s early 90s when women started to venture from the lounge to the bar it has just been a slippery slope for most pubs, as far as being a blokes piss up zone. The fact is to maximize profits most of the traditional pubs have gone open plan, put Ladies toilets in and started serving food that didn't come ready salted in a bag. No decent parent would dream of taking their sprogs into a proper boozer but they are actually few and far between these days. I do remember working in a real spit and sawdust boozer in Wales as a student where one the "patrons" who drank like a fish and smoked like a lum all the way through her pregnancy was back in within a week, out the hospital with her new arrival just and popped the bassinet on the bar (often knocking the ashtrays off) and carried on as before impervious to complaints of the racket the baby was making, eventually we had to put it in the back room / kitchen / corridor area as it was driving us (customers and staff) all crazy!

SonOfScouse 1:22 pm, 14-Dec-2010

"What about dogs? There’s lots of dogs with pubs in, aren’t they an equal menace?". Where are these dogs? I want one!

David L 5:48 am, 16-Dec-2010

Well, I am a parent, but very rarely do the "pub with kids" thing - largely because the only sensible recourse is going to some ghastly family-friendly chain pub with a play area, or worse still, a "soft play" area. No thanks, the experience ends up such a bastardisation of what going to a pub is actually supposed to be about that it's not worth the heartache or the price of your pint of tepid beer. Can I just say though, that people who go to pubs during a busy lunchtime and tie up the bar staff with their order of two cappuccinos, a latte, and a decaf Americano when there's perfectly serviceable coffeeshops to the left, right (and another one just opposite) deserve the same fate as F. Murray Abraham's character in Scarface?

Matt 10:31 am, 16-Dec-2010

This says more about the dodgy pubs the author frequents with narrow minded locals sneering at those who don't visit often and the low social standing of the area with Mothers bringing their kids in at midnight. Times change and things that weren't acceptable 20 years ago are now. Going to the pub for a meal with the family is perfectly acceptable and any responsible parent knows when they've had enough to drink and the kids are ready for home. Get over it and get out of your time warp. If the image you portray with your writing is accurate you'll never have kids anyway as your far too self centred. Taking pictures of young children you don't know (as in picture above) is far more socially unacceptable.

Andy 3:33 pm, 30-Dec-2010

Indeed. If I am not allowed to get drunk in a playground then they should not be allowed to play in my pub.

Chris 11:07 am, 21-Feb-2011

Keith. Does your mum still cut your hair? It looks like it. Which goes a long way to explaining your antediluvian opinions. You obviously need somewhere to go where you can escape mummy.

Joeski 11:27 am, 21-Feb-2011

Mr Wildman, the fact you responded re sitting in nurserys sipping pints was not very clever - infact it probably undoes some of the finer comments you have made re kids in pubs. The problem of course is that it depends massively on the type of pub, the people that use it and the parents themselves. I have taken my 2.5 year old into a pub until around 10.30pm. no-one complained, it's that kind of pub, she sat with us most of the night enjopying herself with us. If the landlord doesn't like it, we won't do it, simple. Carpet bombing parents is something I find annoying, but understandalby there are some places you just don't take your kids.

Mark 1:01 pm, 21-Feb-2011

Try working in a pub with the brats. Its horrendous. They're either running around causing chaos, or ripping up beer mats into a thousand tiny pieces, or spilling drinks and crisps all over. One kid did in fact run into me while I was carrying food to a table, some food spilt/fell onto them, little kid goes away crying to parents, parents try and blame me. Sod off. Kids out of the (regular) pub. If parents want to take their children to the pub, go to a Wacky Warehouse, that's fine, but stay out of 'the local'.

Placidcasual 3:03 pm, 22-Feb-2011

Kinell, the bitterness of a recent fruitless journey watching confrence footballs next entrant is spilling hencforth.

Keith Wildman 5:58 pm, 22-Feb-2011

This was written a while back Placid if you look at the date, though it's quite apt it's back on the front page as there were 5 kids tearing round the busy and normally kid free Beehive in Bradford after the last home match. Great big open real fire in there too. They were hiding under tables and charging about eventually tailed by an older women who, in one of the poshest voices I've heard for a while called out (and this is without a word of a lie!) in vain: "Coco, come here Coco... Coco, come here..."

Chris King 3:04 pm, 28-Feb-2011

I only drink, and only keep the brewing industry alive because my old man took me in to pubs as a kid; gave me my first taste of beer... let me pick some decent tunes from the jukebox or stand on a bar stool whilst playing pool. Were it not for those heady father/son moments, i might have achieved something with my life. I might have gone on to have been a success. But no. Thanks to him, I love pubs. Were the people who've posted a reply on here really only introduced to pubs on their 18th Birthday, or did they get to sneak a bag of KP, a few sips of London Tankard (or some Northern muck) and a lung full of smoke from those joyous times as a child in a pub? It's not about kids in pubs. It's about idiots who can't control their kids - or worse, adults who act like kids. I'd rather a few hours drinking with mates and their kids than spend a Saturday night in a boozer with the usual crowd who wouldn't know what a decent pint was, nor knew when to call it a day when they've made a total tit of themselves.

BatleyGreen 4:42 pm, 28-Feb-2011

I totally get that kids who tear around pubs are a pain. We have 2 boys, 9 & 12, we have a couple of local pubs where we have drunk for years. We would never go and get trolleyed and we always make sure the kids don't run around and they are well entertained. When I was young my parents had sports social clubs that we used to go along with them to, with plenty of space to play outside and we learnt how to be sociable people and how to act around strangers and gained respect for our elders. Pubs should be an intrinsic part of our communities. If a pub has a no kids rule that is fine, but most of the problems with kids in pubs isn't with the kids. Its with the parents. Me and my other half sit there in disgust with other parents letting their kids run wild. For the record, we don't own a trampoline and the kids know the value of money but also are learning to understand broader society by being shown a little bit of the adult world. What better way to show your child the merits of working hard at school by showing them some of the characters that frequent our beloved pubs.

Dan 1:24 pm, 9-Mar-2011

David L, couldn't agree more with the 'cappuccino's/latte's' point. I used to have to deal with that al the time, drove me radio rental.

Andy Steven 12:11 pm, 26-Mar-2011

Kids are a nuicance in pubs. After a stressful day the last thing you neeed are toddlers crying and running about the place esp early evening. I got a earful simply because one lady left with her two children after I commented it was like a kindergarden. No one else had the balls to speak up but its me who everyone think is an uncaring twat now!

MrMustard 7:18 pm, 26-Mar-2011

Don't know whether you're uncaring or not, but you're definitely a twat.

Some Bird 8:39 am, 4-May-2011

Well, what a whinging twat, even if you have a point. Maybe the fathers should pull their finger out and involve themselves in their kids lives a bit more then ALL of us would have chance to go to t'pub child free?!

Matt 3:27 pm, 4-May-2011

If half the pubs round where I live didn't have families in in the daytime they'd close down. My son't one month old and I'm sometimes going to take him to the pub, where he's going to beahve properly because I don't want him to be a pain in the arse any more than Keith does. If Keith and all the other miserable sods don't like it they can sod off back to the 1980s where parents had to ask permission to take their kids into pubs. I'm not going to spend 100% of my time in kiddie-friendly areas, booking a babysitter every single time my wife and I want to be out together. I've just had a kid - not become one.

Tim Thornton 4:17 pm, 4-May-2011

Yeah, yeah... kids, pubs, nuisance, blokes, hard-working, stressful, toddlers, spillages, blah blah bloody blah. What a pile of reprehensible toss. However decent your argument is, you're only a scooter's ride away from the sort of punchable cretin who writes "went to the park but it was full of bloody children" at six o'clock on a Saturday afternoon. Do us all a favour: find yourself an over-18 pub and stay there, and drag that fat cunt in the blue shirt who appears in your top photograph along with you, he looks charming

Chris King 4:19 pm, 4-May-2011

Pull my finger out and involve myself with my kids? How laughable. Why because i take my daughter in to a pub does that mean i don't involve myself with their life - surely integrating them in to the community, which i thought a pub was a focal point there of - would be a good thing? Or are we only saying that kids shouldn't be allowed in trendy gastropubs, with premium bottled beers that have no soul and miserable punters who have to adopt a fish chips and fur coat lifestyle as they can only just about afford to live where they do?

nikki 4:36 pm, 4-May-2011

Dear Keith I have liked reading some of your articles. You sound like a prick in this one. "cliche - a stereotyped expression. A sentence or phrase expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality or impact by long overuse." I know this usually refers to a phrase or a word but in this particular case I referred to your whole article. Kids are part and parcel of pubs. Personally I keep my child out of pubs, but you make me want to go in and cause chaos just to piss you off.

Keith Wildman 4:39 pm, 4-May-2011

Not really bothered replying to some of the nonsense above, as I've said my piece in the article, but 'Kids are part and parcel of pubs' is priceless! Cheers for making me chuckle!

nikki 4:42 pm, 4-May-2011

So kids in pubs aren't part and parcel? what are you moaning about then. Glad I made you smile.

Keith Wildman 4:58 pm, 4-May-2011

Given that a pub's sole reason for being is to serve alcohol, and that it's illegal for anyone under 18 to be sold alcohol in a pub (though they can drink it if 16/17 and accompanied by an adult with sit down meal) and up until 2003 children under 14 were banned from the bar and let in at the landlord's discretion in certain areas (beer garden, 'family' rooms) then I'd say of course kids aren't part and parcel of pubs. It couldn't be further from the truth.

David B 5:27 pm, 4-May-2011

I am a dad of two. On Saturdays I take the boy to morning footy, and have the girl in tow. Thereafter all three of us (sometimes joined by the missus) will go to the pub and have lunch. My two sit there impeccably, eat and after a bit we'll leave. That's because my kids know how to behave when out and about. They also know that running about pissing people off is not on and I'll pull them into line pretty bloody fast. The reason they know this is because they have been well brought up with certain barriers and understandings in place from day one. Not saying they don't have their moments, but they both know that they can have the odd tantrum at home and I'll be happy to ride that storm, but they DO NOT act up in public. Shame I can't say the same about many adults I frequently see in boozers. I think that kids in pubs is actually a red herring in this thing. As long as you keep idiot parents out of pubs (and by association their offspring that have inherited their sense of spoilt entitlement) you'll have no bother. My kids are as good as gold. I can take them anywhere.

Herr Daubs 9:23 pm, 4-May-2011

All of this makes total sense... until you have your own kids. So, then you stop going to pubs? Good luck with that... Also, the biggest arseholes in pubs are adults anyways. Bit Victor Meldrew, this.

Madame Sheath 9:14 am, 5-May-2011

Surely ‘kids in pubs’ is an example of kids in inappropriate places and one which many folk can relate to? Clearly if Keith had spelt out that when he says pubs he only means ‘places to go for a pint and a natter with the locals’ which is what they were up until ooh, about 25/30 years ago, then his argument would not have been so readily misunderstood. There are so many variations on pubs now that we have the abominable Wacky Warehouses and modern ‘gastro’-pubs where families will be generally accepted; not forgetting those vertical drinking behemoths where teens can feel right at home with their bottle of WKD. Keith is pointing out that for some that’s not enough and they want everywhere adapted to suit their needs/accommodate their offspring. What happened to places where adults went without kids in tow? Places you aspired to go to when you were grown up? I’m actually a tee-total, non-breeding former barmaid so am sitting right in the middle of this debate and I simply think there is a time and a place for kids and that it all comes down to actually ‘being’ with them. If you take your child to a play park, museum, swimming pool, for a walk in the country you are actively enjoying their company. If you expect them to tag along to a pub so you can enjoy it and make them behave like adults then neither the disgruntled fellow drinkers or the kids will thank you.

Keith Wildman 9:37 am, 5-May-2011

Nail on the head.

nikki 12:18 pm, 5-May-2011

I know the rules Keith. You are very patronizing. I am from a family of publicans.

Alec 10:00 am, 20-May-2011

Excellent article. I couldn't agree more Keith. There are certain "pubs" which cater for families such as those Brewsters places so why can't people with kids stick to going there and leave our traditional boozers for the boozers?

minn 9:23 am, 9-Jun-2011

As a friend has pointed out elsewhere it is as if some of the parents here are claiming 'disadvantaged group' status. Choose family friendly establishments, don't attempt to assert your own personal values on others or force places to change for your own selfish reasons. You are not talking about apartheid, glass ceilings or gay bans here. Just that you want to have a drink and cannot be bothered/afford/arsed to sort out care and entertainment for the children you chose to produce, all of which is your business.

Tim Thornton 9:57 am, 9-Jun-2011

No, no, and indeed, no. At the end of the day, this isn't about kids in pubs. This is about kids full stop. The amount of people you hear saying things like "ugh! the high street was full of bloody children" or "fucking buggies" or "I love that park, but it's always full of toddlers" is amazing. It'll only be so long before some twathead says something like "I went past the playground, but some parents had the audacity to take their kids there". The fact is, some adults, particularly single thirty-somethings who are too self-absorbed/awkward/fuck-ugly to procreate themselves, don't like to be reminded that kids exist, far less that they were one once. I am proud that I cramp your style, you tight-trousered bunch of tossers. Particularly if you're in Dalston.

Keith Wildman 12:09 pm, 9-Jun-2011

To be fair Tim, this is exactly about kids in pubs not kids full stop, as I say in the second paragraph you can take them to the 99% of the places on the planet that are suitable for them, including parks and playgrounds, just leave the pubs to the drinkers. Minn has it spot on.

Jonesy 12:36 pm, 9-Jun-2011

Surely the compromise is pubs that let kids in and pubs that don't? I take my 15 year old in with me to certain pubs because the world has changed, at his age I knew where I could get served, I'd go in, drink, keep quiet and try acting grown up. So although he can't have a beer he's getting to see how adults behave in boozers. And has anyone forgotten how many kids grew up sat in a fucking car eating crisps and drinking coke whilst dad got leathered? So, my point... if the pub has a clown on the door, I reckon kids might be in there. If it looks like I might get stabbed I doubt there will be. I'm reminded of a pub I went in the first time WImbledon played West Ham away, on the door in a hand written sign it made it very clear what the scratch was... "No kids, no pushchairs, no women".

Jonesy 12:37 pm, 9-Jun-2011

Also there seems to be another issue at hand, kids that can't fucking behave. If they were just sitting with dad and reading a comic would it matter a fuck? World away from running about and getting under people's feet.

Keith Wildman 12:45 pm, 9-Jun-2011

I think it's a lot better for a 15-year-old to be introduced to a pub and responsible supervised drinking than to a supermarket with their loss leading lager to be drunk in the park. Keep their head down and stay away from the jukebox and it's a good introduction to the adult world.

Jonesy 12:48 pm, 9-Jun-2011

Indeed it is. Especially if it's followed by a train journey to a match a bounce about on the terrace then a safe trip home. Few apprenticeships about these days, only fair kiddo gets one in the important parts of life.

Phil 12:51 pm, 9-Jun-2011

A fair point in the main. However, I take my kids to kid friendly pubs, y'know, for a carvery and a pint. The pubs I don't/can't/wouldn't want to take them to are generally closing down around me. Go figure.

Madame Sheath 1:36 pm, 9-Jun-2011

Pubs are indeed closing down and many are the traditional ones but the explanation is far from clear cut. I live in a lovely bit of South-East London that has yet to be gentrified but has more than its fair share of young professionals and Boden families snapping up the affordable housing stock. The pubs near us are proper boozers, without exception. Recently one of the pubs in the ‘village’ tried to reinvent itself offering yoga and coffee mornings in a room upstairs, blonding the entire bar area and putting on bands and the like to attract the lounge-loving types whom they presumed would have finer tastes and greater disposable incomes. The locals they were trying to shove out to make way for these new clients fought back. After about 6 months the new manager threw in the towel and the locals have their pub back. The place has been unvamped and the dart board reinstated. I am sure the PubCo who doubtless drove these changes is furious. They are probably trying to sell the place now and buy somewhere they can make more money out of. These new look pubs that appeal to a wider clientele are about lining the pockets of the PubCos, not about giving the locals what they asked for. If places are closing down it is often the PubCos who want to sell them and turn them into money-spinning flats or re-open them for the market they are chasing. It’s never as simple as it seems on the surface and if you need examples of the above have a read of ‘Real England’ by Paul Kingsnorth.

Keith Wildman 1:46 pm, 9-Jun-2011

Great post again Madame Sheath. PubCos are nothing but property developers who care naught about the communities the pubs serve.

Keith Wildman 1:51 pm, 9-Jun-2011

Just ordered Real England too. Cheers for the tip.

Giacomo 9:35 pm, 10-Jun-2011

Why do you lot in England hate children so much? As an Italian, I am amazed. Elsewhere in Europe, it would be impossible to find a restaurant or bar that bans children. The problem surely is with people (whether children or adult) who can't behave or who make a noise. There are plenty of well behaved children some of whom are quieter and better behaved than adults. This is the last frontier of prejudice since pubs can no longer refuse to serve black people or gays.

Nikki 11:25 pm, 10-Jun-2011

I agree guacomo. I'm English and its only since I married a Brazilian I realised that even though the British are seen as such a tolerant nation yet when it comes to children, we are completely intolerant. Brazil is much the same as the Italy on children.

Madame Sheath 10:13 am, 21-Jun-2011

This is the last frontier of prejudice since pubs can no longer refuse to serve black people or gays. So children are being compared to persecuted minorities? Get a grip! We have one of the most child-centric nations I can think of, hence the people who think it’s time to institute some boundaries. I’ve lived and worked in France (mainly as an au pair) and can assure you that the children on the Continent are not more appreciated or tolerated than here. However, I can not recall ever being in a bar after say 7.30 and having my evening’s peace disturbed by a couple of squalling French kids. I can however think of many an occasion over here when I have watched parents slumped over a pub table with a bottle of wine between them trying to get little Oscar to eat the bowl of chips they have bought him for his dinner as he jumps up and down on the banquettes… Also, can we remember that these children are being brought onto licensed premises. Recent reports in the Daily Malevolent highlighted the effect of learned behaviour on children drinking too much too early; those who saw their parents drunk considered it more normal than those who didn’t. How about we take them somewhere that we can be sure won’t expose them to scenes of drunkenness? Just a thought… Hope you are enjoying Real England, Keith. However, I have to admit to feeling profoundly depressed when I finished it that all the issues I could see with our society had been so well presented yet sadly, there were no obvious answers.

Keith Wildman 11:31 am, 21-Jun-2011

Thanks for the recommendation. Real England is superb. Incredibly well written and pretty much confirms my worst fears. He certainly predicted the current situation with Spirit Group which is selling off its pubs round here. The example of Whitelocks in Leeds being 'target driven' to meet 'city centre demographics' is painful reading. Anyone reading this should pick up a copy too.

Ruby 9:59 pm, 29-Jun-2011

Didn't any of you hang out in pub gardens with your parents as kids? I have many happy memories of sunny afternoons doing just this. There also used to be different areas in pubs that kids weren't allowed in - perhaps this would be the answer in the pubs that have punters with strong objections to children. Lots of pubs near where I live in SE London have adjusted to offer coffee/cake/lunch etc for mums & kids and business seems to be booming for them, in fact one landlord says he has needed to start this up to stay in business and bring more of a community back to the pub. Agree there should be a curfew though.

pissandmoan 11:03 am, 30-Jun-2011

Yes, running round playing tick, getting under peoples noses and being a pain, because I was bored fucking shitless. The answer would be no children in pubs, or at least the good ones. Have kids then you don't need to go and and get pissed with them in tow, you lose that pastime. Let the shit fun pubs with crap drinks, 2 meals for £8 and climbing frames in the car park cater for the irresponsible parents who feel the need to get pissed and take the whole family out. Been for a walk somewhere scenic and need to stop for a swift half and a coke for the kids? Fine then they are your pubs. A cool pub in the city centre where people are going to chill out and wind down, don't need some rugrat crawling on the early 20th century tiled floor like above, no thanks. Two very good pubs i visited in recent weeks were full of kids, it's really, really annoying. I don't have and don't want my own so I certainly don't want to have to tiptoe round stupid, gormless whinging tikes whilst trying to relax after a weeks graft!

Placid Casual 12:11 pm, 30-Jun-2011

I take my lad to the pub with me after the match sometimes and he sits there watching the scores come in. And talks to me about the game etc. He's 7. The other one is four and is interested in showing his arse and asking old men if they like eating poo. So he usualy stays at home with the wife, like peas in a pod them two. Here what you're saying KW.

Keith Wildman 2:36 pm, 30-Jun-2011

To be honest I think the match is probably the exception. It's part and parcel of the day.

John Anthony Lake 11:15 am, 10-Aug-2011

Nice one, Keith. You are indeed wise beyond your years. Oh, and another thing, pub-going parents: when an area of a pub is marked not for children, that means you are supposed to keep your bloody kids out of it at all times and under all circumstances!

EponymousBosh 5:03 pm, 23-Jan-2012

There ought to be a law against taking kids into pubs, in fact, I'm pretty sure that their are already quite a few of them. Any idiot who takes their kids to a pub should be treated by social services in exactly the same way as anyone who takes their kids to a crack house. I really don't see the difference.

Gen 4:21 pm, 11-Jun-2012

I agree with nearly all of this. I am a massive mini-misanthrope, and a pub without children is a haven. My local has a little metal plaque nailed up to this effect, and we regulars are all grateful for it. We are also delighted when a dog comes in - as noted above, they're great fun, they can do clever tricks with crisp packets, and they don't cry. Being more serious, I fully endorse any pub that becomes an adult-only zone after 7pm. Or maybe 14+ as long as accompanied by PROPER grown-ups (your 18 yr old brother doesn't count). If they've got a beer garden it's a bit different; my folks used to take us to the pub of an evening for a decorous lemonade and maybe a packet of crisps. We were small, but the pubs they chose usually had a slide, and maybe some swings. Thrills! But being stuck in a dimly lit room for an hour, unable to see over the bar, surrounded by the dull hum of Much Older People griping about the many faults of Plymouth Argyle, is no fun if you are small. My other local has a playroom for kids, which is a good idea. There's CCTV, visible from the bar, to make sure the little treasures don't inadvertently kill themselves. But the main room of a pub in the evening is not a place for children.

Cantona7 7:02 pm, 11-Jun-2012

Very true. I didn't come in here to listen to your screeching brat.

Herbert 10:46 am, 20-Jun-2012

'disinterestedly' Uninterestedly. Disinterested is what a judge is supposed to be; uninterested is what the bloke in this story was. Don't let's lose a valuable word because of a lack of interest in the language.

Netty 11:31 pm, 18-Jul-2012

Can't bear kids in pubs myself. They whine and cry (loudly) and get in the way. Some places should be just for adults - God knows, there's few enough places left these days that are child-free. Having kids is a lifestyle choice so please don't inflict your offspring on those of us who choose to remain child-free. There should be some places that those of us who don't want to have kids around can go to.

Tim Thornton 1:23 am, 19-Jul-2012

"Having kids is a lifestyle choice"?

steff 11:20 pm, 19-Jul-2012

Netty Having kids is a lifestyle choice? Going to the pub is a lifestyle choice, choosing to be a barren genetic dead-end is arguably a lifestyle choice. Having kids is the point of our existence and the point of any living organism's existence! Having said that, I don't take my kids to the pub, there has been the very occasional pub lunch in child-friendly pubs (in the lounge if they have one) but never to go drinking. I personally thought the rot set in, in the 80s, when they started to let women into the bar (that's what the lounge is for!) but I guess you can't stop cultural change ;0P.

Fran 6:53 pm, 30-Sep-2012

There are too many children in pubs mainly because so many pubs are now part of restaurant chains. Pub life as it was is totally ruined due to children being allowed in pubs up until 9 pm. Went to a local pub last night and thought I was in a nursery, this was after 8pm, push chairs galore, kids screaming, parents boozing oblivious to what some of their children were up too as some were sprawled on the floor. Made a rapid exit and went elsewhere, this is the third time I have done this in the past month. I never inflicted my children on any one else and always kept them under control in public place. If I didn't have a babysitter I did not go out. The rules should be changed and children made to leave earlier in the evening. I don't want someone's offspring running around my table thank you. There is no ambiance whatsoever when children are allowed to run wild close to a bar area which is often the case in my local. I feel sorry for the staff as it is like an obstacle race trying to avoid the nursery crowd. No doubt some of the parents would be the first to complain if their offspring were to have an accident by running into waiting staff serving hot food. The restaurant chains should have a separate area for children so that other customers can get some peace. The cheap meals that they provide for kids must be costing the Pub chains a fortune when one thinks how much revenue is lost when customers such as myself walk out and go elsewhere. Enough said.

Kane 5:08 pm, 2-Nov-2012

Kids in pubs - fuck right off. A pub is an acceptable front for alcoholism, drug abuse and casual sex. Parents take their kids to pubs so they can have a few drinks to numb the pain of having a kid around 24/7 or to try and keep connected with their happy and child free mates. Parents - you chose to have a kid and now you have one, those of us without kids, don't care about you or your brat. Stop being so fucking selfish and take responsibiltiy for the choices you have made. Parks, Museums, Fairs, etc - these are the places you can go... Pubs are not!

Ron 11:25 pm, 1-Dec-2012

Later this month I'll be visiting England for the first time. When it's three o'clock on Boxing Day I'm certain me and my 9-year-old will be sitting quietly at a pub table having a meal and watching a football match. Don't condemn me for bringing my child into a pub for a few hours for a taste of British culture -- I promise he's well-behaved and you might not even notice him in the room. I did the same thing in Ireland at pubs when he was a year younger and we never had any issues with patrons or the managers, and we were usually allowed to stay until 8:30. If I felt or feel having a young one with me in a pub was/ is bothering anyone, we would have/ will exit stage left immediately.

Dave Coakley 2:20 pm, 15-Mar-2013

Spot on this article. No wonder they're closing down 6 pubs a day.

Bob 2:45 pm, 15-Mar-2013

"I haven't got any kids......." Well STFU until you do. I take my kids to Weatherspoons sometimes, they sit with me, we buy 4 decent meals and spend about £25, the pubs margins on food are far greater than that on the sale of drinks. The pub is child friendly, is advertised as such and although we are never that late we are out by 9 even if they do get a pudding. If my kids were running about making a noise and disturbing other patrons I'd leave and they would get seriously told off, if we are sitting chatting amongst ourselves not bothering anyone what exactly is your problem? You want no kids, fuck off down the road to the pub that doesn't take them then, oh yeah you can't they don't do food, don't make the margins and are closing down, guess your up shit creek then.

Shaun 11:16 pm, 17-Mar-2013

I love to take my kids to the local pub, buy them a Coke each, give them a packet of Smarties with mainly the blue ones in then a good old packet of Wottsits and watch the little sods explode into life and cause shit and mayhem at the bar with all the locals. Of course, im out in the beer garden smoking( mainly Weed) whilst they do this. Then once ive finished my 12 pints of Stella we toddle of home safe in the thought that i've really pissed off those people who dont have kids and moan like fook about them.

Mark Foster 1:28 pm, 18-Mar-2013

You would not believe how many parents think that it is their inalienable right to go where they like, when they like, with who they like. Pubs are fantastic places for adults, they have been for centuries and unless Enterprise and Punch completely mess things up (even more than usual) they'll still be around for years to come. Yes the trade is changing, yes the pub is a fantastic part of the community where poeple love to meet up and yes you should always be able to rely upon the pub for a hearty well cooke dmeal, made with good quality locally sourced produce, served with care adn sold at a reasonable price - delivering excellent value for money in pleasant surroundings. The trade is repeatedly bashed int he press for binge drinking and anti-social behaviour, but there is more regulations covering the sale of food & alcohol in pubs than there is in the sale of uranium! The best comment I heard was that a great pub ahs the feeling of a "benign dictatorship!" Everyone knows the rules and everyone behaves - or they are politely asked to leave. It's lovely having families come in with their children to enjoy a meal as it helps teach young children how to behave in public, but it's even nicer watching families taking their children to the park to run around, let off steam and enjoy their childhood. The trouble is, not all parents can be relied upon to ensure that their children are kept amused and entertained and thus allow them to encroach and disturb others, it's a shame really, because even from a young age I was taught that this selfish kind of behaviour was disrespectful to others! And yet, why does society clamour that their is no respect for other people in this world?

Tone Deaf 8:24 pm, 23-Mar-2013

Again, simply "Amen"

Rob 3:49 pm, 16-Apr-2013

This article has made my entire day. Possibly week. I accept that children do serve a purpose in life although that does come much later now that child labour has been outlawed (must find a chimney sweep but I digress). Now I also accept that parents do need to leave the house as well but why the pub. Or more specifically why when I want to sit with a beer and watch football for an hour or two in peace. The last time I tried this my local resembled a creche more than a pub and what's worse the kids were winning the battle - had a table of sancti-parents tell another table to keep it down as they had children with them. Fuck. Me.

peacede 2:59 am, 13-May-2013

Let me get this off my chest. A "friend" brings her adopted daughter (mother was a drug addict/alcoholic) into a brew pub on a regular basis (weekly), downs at least a few pints, allows the kid to wander, thinking the rest of us think it's cute to follow her around so she doesn't disturb patrons (won't get off her butt to follow the kid- this is her down time), then drives home with the kid in the van. I cringe every time I see them in there. What a thing to teach a child whose biological mother was an addict. What a thing to do, drive home after downing pints, with your child in the car!

Big Nige 2:59 pm, 11-Jan-2014

Pubs are licenced premises for the over 18s. Simple! If you have kids and can honestly reply to this saying you're "trapped" and have no where to go, not only are you selfish, but you're incredibly short sighted. You can go anywhere!!! YOU had the kids, YOUR choice. Don't inflict your choice on those who CHOOSE not to have the little irritants. We had to endue selfish parents with their under tens in a pub on Christmas Eve until well after 9pm! So not only ruining all the adults' enjoyment of a well earned break from work, you ruined the kids' excitement too - just so you can squeeze in another few pints. And not the slightest effort to control the endless running about and screaming! Responsibility personified. Maybe we should all stand and drink in local school playgrounds? Least there would be fewer kids there. You could always stay in and show some consideration!!!!! One of our locals has now sectioned half the pubs to 'Over 18s Only', and STILL families want to sit in that half - because they don't want the noise from other kids - priceless!

Delsey 6:09 am, 22-Jan-2014

You got it down. For me, the other one is gigs. Almost all are not appropriate for kids - they are rightly loud and sweary with adults behaving alarmingly. Anyone read about that tw@t who took his 6 year old daughter to a Who concert and complained about Townsend's language being inappropriate?

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