I was at a downtown brewery in Greensboro for just a few minutes a couple weeks ago, and as I made my way through the crowd, I saw a grown, full-bearded man sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the concrete floor, underneath a table. He was swigging mightily from a pint of house brew, and also trying to engage his toddler in the coloring book splayed out before them, crayons scattering like wayward cats. At the table, with one hand on a stroller which contained yet another child, the woman I perceived to be his partner wore the thousand-yard stare that all parents of young children know.
And I thought to myself, They would be having a better time if they had gotten a sitter.
My argument against kids in bars — I include breweries in this category — has nothing to do with the kids and their exposure to an environment where (gasp!) people often get hammered. My father used to bring me to bars all the time when I was a kid. Of course, he was an alcoholic and I turned out to be one, too. But it’s also where I got really good at pinball and pool.
Likewise, it would be incredibly hypocritical of me to suggest that parents shouldn’t drink in front of their children. But as someone who knows quite a bit about both drinking and parenting, I’ll say that they should be mixed with caution, like tequila and milk.
Because no matter how much a brewery tries to turn itself into a daycare, it takes some pretty serious rationalizing for parents to convince themselves they’re there for the kids. There are way better venues for family-friendly entertainment. I mean, yeah, there’s cornhole but that doesn’t make it a Six Flags. Most kids would rather be at a tramp park, which is what I call trampoline parks, or a children’s museum, or, hey, how about setting up the cornhole in the backyard?
As for drinking, I remember that it was a lot more fun when you didn’t bring the kids along.