Broadsheet readers had plenty to say, and not always in their "indoor voices," about whether children (specifically, those with discipline-averse parents) should be welcome in restaurants. And now we're back to pour some Pilsener on the flames. According to the winter issue of BKLYN magazine, Brooklyn, N.Y., barkeep Andy Heidel has drawn a line in the sawdust, posting the following on recent Sundays outside the Patio Lounge in Park Slope:
"THE STROLLER MANIFESTO
"What is it with people bringing their kids into bars? What, just because there's no more smoking, it's okay? I'm sorry, it isn't. A bar is a place for adults to kick back and relax. How can you do that with a toddler running around or crying, getting changed on the table next to you, or being breast-fed? And is a bar really the kind of environment a child should be exposed to? I know in Europe it is commonplace, but hey -- this is America, baby. Besides, bars are "21 and over." Just because a 5-year-old obviously won't get served, it doesn't mean they should be in there. And don't get me started about the strollers blocking access to the bar, seating, and the looks I get when I ask someone to move their stroller because it is obviously in the way of not only me but also everyone else. Doublewide strollers are the bane of Park Slope.
"Listen, if you're a parent now, your child doesn't have to be the center of everyone else's universe too. Get a babysitter if you want to go out to a bar, or buy a bottle of wine and invite your friends over, just stop imposing your lifestyle on the rest of us in our sanctuary of choice. You made the decision to have a child and now, like a responsible adult and parent, you have to change your lifestyle as well. I've spoken to some courteous parents who agree with this and they get a sitter when they go out because they want some time with adults, not kids. Anyways, I'm sick of kids and strollers in bars, and so are a lot of other people. If you can't find a sitter and have to go out with your child, for the love of god, go to a family restaurant like Two Boots or the Tea Lounge, for I declare today and all future Sundays, Stroller Free."
Apparently, Patio isn't the only stroller-magnet watering hole in the stroller-magnet borough. Writing about Brooklyn's slightly David Lynchy Last Exit bar this blogger grumbled: "My only complaint is the baby strollers. Yes -- baby strollers. Twice during our stay couples came in with babies in strollers. I realize it's in a family-esque area, but I really have a major issue with children -- especially babies -- in bars. Yes, they were quiet, but that's not the point. I don't drink at your nursery school (well -- not anymore) -- so you shouldn't bring your child to where I do drink."
I am of the firm belief that mixing a good gimlet is an essential life skill, but when the time comes, I'm pretty sure I'd like my kids to learn it at home. What about you? Do you think babies belong in bars?