In Bars & Clubs Commentary

Tots in taverns: yay or nay?

Social Circle: Should kids be allowed in bars?

Welcome to a weekly segment called "Social Circle." It's a group effort between readers, social networkers and the editors. Every Monday, we ask a question via Facebook and Twitter and then post the responses from our Facebook "likers" and Twitter followers in this column. Well-known Milwaukee movers and shakers will contribute, too.

This week's Social Circle question really resonated with people. Many believe that whether or not it's appropriate to have a child in a bar depends on many circumstances, whereas others felt very strongly that it is never OK, under any circumstances, to combine kids and bars.

Other folks were just snarky and, at times, hilarious.

What do you think about this? Chime in via the Talkback feature but in the mean time, enjoy this heated debate.

Dan Albers: "Only if they are there to provide a safe ride for their drunk white trash parents!"

Jeffrey Albert: "Only if they are drinking."

J.A. Arenas: "Nope. No. Not never. Not a chance. Notwithstanding. Nary a time. No."

Donna Becker: "OK, I just got this dysfunctional scenario in my head of a toddler running around the bar while the parents are sitting on stools doing shots, and butt-wasted. I personally have never seen this, though. If the bar serves food, it's early evening I think it's totally fine. After a certain time some of the clientele tend to get a bit rambunctious and sometimes inappropriate. It's up to the parents to teach what's right and wrong and be a responsible role model."

Karen Block: "Kids should be allowed wherever their parents let them go."

Mollie Boutell Butler: "Yes, especially if the bar serves food and especially during the day or early evening. People want to deny my children a kiddie cocktail and a giant pretzel – and me a beer? Pfft."

Erin Boyle: "Love the comment that all children who spend time in bars will grow to be drunks. I spent a lot of time in bars as a cook and I grew up to respect alcohol because it wasn't some big scary forbidden thing."

Pete Christensen: "That depends on if they can hold their liquor. Nothing's more disgusting than a lubed-up 8-year-old!"

Erica Colon: "Never. If you want to have a drink with your kids around please stay home."

Erica Davis: "In general no, however my baby's daddy is a musician so I'm sure we'll be going to a performance in a place that could be considered a bar eventually."

Lisa Desmond: "Sure. A blanket ban is silly because you aren't taking other factors into account. I've been to wedding receptions in a private room of a bar, and the flower girls, etc., were there. My husband goes to a sports bar where international soccer games are shown very early in the morning and many of the guys bring their kids in to watch the games. Why is that wrong simply because the sign says 'bar?' Can't we agree that it depends on the situation, the atmosphere of the bar and the responsibility of the parent involved?"

John Ecker: "I don't think any child under the age of 16 should be let out in public."

Emily Evans: "Nope. As a bartender, I only want patrons who are drinking and tipping, and although there is always someone in the bar who needs a babysitter, it should be an adult and not some kid who is making all of the paying customers uncomfortable."

Abigail Lynn Fowler: "During the dinner hour if the family is dining."

Anthony Garrison: "No. They can wait in the car for you at closing time, however."

Allie Good-Gadziemski: "Like everything else, it should be up to them / their parents."

Melanie Green Roepke: "Sure, if it's before bedtime and they serve food. Or for a special occasion. I spent LOTS of time at the Y-Not as a child and I'm not a drunk. But I can sing just about any song by Styx from memory."

Joey Houghtaling: "As of right now, kids 17 and under are allowed if they are with their parents and the bar permits it. Anyone that is 18-20 is legally an adult and can't even be allowed in with a parent by law."

Juli Kaufman: "My child is regularly in bars, go ahead judge me. I view it like all things in life, be mutually respectful, behave, use common sense, be culturally and age-appropriate in choosing and select options that are welcoming. Environments that don't like kids are pretty obvious and that's cool, we don't bring a kid to those. I don't think kids should be banned from all bars just like I don't think all bars are appropriate for kids."

Colleen Kobe: "Yes but only if it's attached to a restaurant and it's not past a certain time at night depending on the place! My kids are all the time but because we are waiting for a table. But if it's a bar with no restaurant, why the need?"

Herinda Lopez: "No, I don't think its an appropriate place for children."

Jessica McCormick: "If it's a bar and grill, sure. But, I try to limit that to when we are up north. I usually do not allow my children to go to bars otherwise."

Sue McDonald: "I have some great memories of getting to play the jukebox and getting grape soda and peanuts. I always played 'Elvira.' This was more of a resort bar in the middle of the afternoon."

Dan McGrath: "No. Unless you want your kid to grow up to be a drunk."

Michael Mortonson: "Of course! But also of course any sensible adult can tell when it's no longer safe or appropriate."

Sheila Neumann: "I sang my first song in a bar with my dad when I was 5. I say yes. All bars should serve food and teach responsible beverage service."

Paul Jonas: "I'd say no. I make allowances for the students of my performers with their parents present. But these are 17- and 18-year-old 'children,' mind you."

Erin Shea Linnane: "Depends on the bar. What about people who own bars? If I owned a bar I would for sure be bringing my kids if I wanted."

Dave Mikolajek: "Nope."

Daniel Nathan: "Not sure why not."

Ed Ross: "Yes, with a parent. It should be the parent's choice. Don't really need more government intervention on how to parent your children."

Kimberly Rykowski Pedersen: "For dinner at appropriate times with a controlled environment. Otherwise, no."

Amy Shubert: "Yep. I grew up in a bar and survived to be a reasonably successful, well-adjusted adult."

Erica Wichman Stephenson: "Not after dinner hours, we bring our kids to Paragon for food but not if we were going out to drink."

Chester Steve: "Under many circumstances."

Lauryl Sulfate: "The Riverwest Public House sometimes hosts Family friendly days, and I think it's great. Not every bar is right for kids, but lots of them, especially in the daytime, are fine ... I know some of the 'I hate all children everywhere' folks on here are half-joking, but seriously, dudes, your ageism sucks. You were kids once, too ... I don't know why people think it's okay to say crap like that. If you inserted any other demographic group in there: women, mothers, Latinos, people with disabilities, etc. you would get your a*s handed to you by the commentariat, but with kids, suddenly it's OK to bash a whole group of people? Sorry, but it's not. I have kids. They leave the house sometimes. If you don't like it, maybe you should stay in yours."

Laron Taylor: "Not after 8."

Donna Tipton: "During the day was fine when I was growing up, but the evening times were reserved for just adults. I like how The Safe House allows kids for dinner hours, but none for the evening time. Just because a kid is in a bar doesn't mean they are drinking alcohol and maybe if more kids were in bars, they would be more family friendly and people would learn to model good behavior and use limits in their consumption."

A. Ryan Thompson: "Yep, if they can play a mean guitar."

Mike Walter: "There are plenty of normal activities that take place at bars. While I agree with all those saying before 8 and bars with food, this decision is ultimately a parenting decision. So to the question of should children be ALLOWED in bars, I say stay out of our parenting and let us, the parents, make that decision. So, yes."

Christopher Wilde: "Accompanied by parents, sure. My folks took me with them, it's how I learned to play pinball so well. Didn't hurt that we lived in a rural area at the time and the bar was the only place in town."

Chris Wilson: "No, I don't think this serves any beneficial purpose. If there are some, please share. Being in the service industry now for 17 years, working in several locations, I can tell you that the majority of places do not allow minors to consume. I have been in a bar and witnessed a teenage girl drinking martinis with her parents. There was nothing charming or nostalgic about it. In fact it was very appalling. When I go out to a bar, I'm not expecting to see kids there. Hence, why I'm at a bar. I'm also a loving parent."

Scott Wooldridge: "Interesting opinions. I've taken my boys (6 and 9) into a local bar to see music acts, and they seemed to enjoy it. Neither has developed a drinking problem yet, though Reid seems inordinately fond of Sprite. I'll note that this was for some old-timey music that I thought was very good – though some of the subject matter was not G-rated. Of course, I'm not sure that Lady Gaga is great content either, and they hear that from time to time."

Jeffrey S. Wright: "Yes, if it's a bar and grill type of place. But if it's just a plain bar that happens to serve food, I think not. A bar is a place where many adults go to get away from the kids and just plain be adults."

Kendall Yahr: "No, although at 18 I thought it was pretty cool that we could take my dad out dancing at Park Avenue."

Michael Zehner: "A restaurant with a bar is OK if you're there to eat. But a bar only? Never. Bars are adult entertainment not meant for kids. I never allowed my kids to grab me a beer from the fridge, that's an adult beverage meant for adults, not kids."


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