Pint-sized punters may get themselves barred
UNRULY children shouting, screaming and running around tables are spoiling visits to our local watering holes, according to the Good Pub Guide. In fact, trying to sup a pint or a glass of wine around badly behaved youngsters, was the main complaint this year from regular readers of the guide. They wondered why undisciplined children were allowed to crash around unchecked, and why screaming babies were not taken outside to calm down.
The Guide’s editor said she had noticed the difference in how some children, and more importantly their parents, behaved in pubs.
Some were being taught how to behave properly in a social (mostly grown-up) environment, while others were allowed to do exactly as they pleased.
Thank goodness the days are gone when children and their parents were banished to a smelly, bleak, rubbish-strewn ‘family’ room – if you were lucky.
Mr F and I particularly remember a rainy holiday in Cornwall where we travelled in vain from pub to pub, looking for one that would welcome us – and a couple of kids – for a ploughman’s lunch and some shelter. Nothing, not even a stable.
Now some pubs seat families together in one room, while others offer play areas or free wi-fi. All that’s needed for everyone to be happy is good manners.
Only last Sunday we met friends in an Uxbridge pub for an early evening meal. They live 100 miles away, so it was great to join them as they passed through on their way to Heathrow Aiport, on the first leg of their holiday.
As we walked to our table a small child shot out in front of me and nearly knocked me over. Maybe I could have laughed it off if someone had apologised, or the child had been firmly marched back to his seat with a quick word about how to behave properly in restaurants.
But he was oblivious, and as I looked around no one even claimed responsibility for him. If he’d barged into a waiter carrying hot food, been scalded and had to be carted off to hospital, I suppose it would have been everyone else’s fault.
One publican told the guide: “There is nothing more pleasant than a large family group out for Sunday lunch, with all generations present, including well-behaved children.”
With the emphasis I’m sure, particularly after my experience, on the’well-behaved’.