Tip #7 on Being a Good Bar Customer

18 Jun

And here it is, Tip #7.  You know what that means:  if there is a #7, then there must also exist #s 1-6 and guess what?  You’re in luck!  And you can read them all by following these links!  It’s like magic (or hyperlinks…).  Tip #1, tip #2, tip #3, tip #4, tip #5 and, finally, tip#6.

So in this blog I am going to tackle a topic that seems to be slightly divisive: kids in bars.  This divisiveness can be easily proven by referring to a comment I made on my Facebook page a few weeks back that simply read “No, I do not have milk for your child.”  The responses were diverse, to say the least, ranging from “bar life is slowly being destroyed in NYC by entitled parents” to “You’re right, people with kids should just stop trying to enjoy themselves.”  I am not here trying to start an all out war, but I have some opinions.  So, here goes.

I am not going to put myself strictly on one side of the argument or the other, but I think those who know me, and those who have gotten to know me through my writing here, can probably guess which way I tend to lean.  That being said, there are people who come in with their kids who I actually like having in there.  One couple specifically comes to mind.  They have been my once-a-month customers for years now and recently, about 2 months or so ago, they adopted two little girls who I lovingly call “the ladies.”  The ladies are very cute.  They are also very well behaved, always snoring away in their little baby bjorns, one on the front of one daddy, one on the front of the other.  The second one of them starts fussing, one of the parents takes her outside and bounces her around until she quiets down and goes back to sleep.  If that doesn’t work, they close the tab and head home.

I have noticed over the years that people who were customers of the bar before they reproduced or adopted were the best customers if they chose to bring their children in, although many of them do not.  Many of them will pop in with the baby every now and again to say hi and then be on their way.  But if they do decide to stay, they are incredibly attuned to their child, or children.  They respect the bar, they respect the other customers, and they respect me and understand that a crying baby will drive customers away, thereby lowering my income and making me angry.  And they don’t want to make me angry.  I am told I can be scary.

It’s the people that weren’t customers before that are the problem.  So a few weeks ago there I was at work when this guy came in.  He ordered a beer, drank about half of it, and then said he would be back in a few minutes.  Like a good bartender, I placed a napkin over his beer so no dust or little flying friends would go in it (also so I wouldn’t forget he was coming back and dump it out) and went about my business.  About ten minutes later he walked in…with his 6-year-old daughter.  Apparently she was at a birthday party across the street at the Little Gym.  He took his seat back up at the bar and she sat down next to him.  Just as an aside, I hate it when people let their little kids sit at the bar (to the person who follows my blog who brings his kids in, you are an exception because your kids are awesome and also they write stories about me and also neither of them is 6).  I actually think it is illegal and normally I would have said something about it but I wasn’t feeling up to the conversation and also he had been there before and I felt weird about it.  So, whatever, I just ignored it.  The dad was super distracted watching a monster truck rally on TV and was not paying any attention to his daughter at all.  When they got up to leave about 10 minutes later I noticed that she had scribbled all over the bar!  There was marker everywhere!  Why did he give her a marker?  Also, being in a bar is not an excuse to stop watching your kid.  I am a bartender, not a babysitter, I will not pick up the slack unless you pay me at least $30 an hour and even then I would probably tell you to go fuck yourself, I serve booze.

And here’s another example.  Just this past weekend these 3 adults came in with 2 toddlers.  That means there were 6 eyeballs to watch 2 little dudes running around.  They went out to the back, which immediately prompted all my backyard customers to move back into the bar.  About 1/2 hour later, I hear the mother screaming “Marky! Marky! No! Put that down!!”  And she runs over to where her son was standing with a rat trap in his hands.  He had dumped poison all over himself.  She didn’t realize what it was at first and said something along the lines of “ew, I don’t know what that was.”  I happened to be standing by the back door and, putting it all together, leaned my head out and said, “yea, that was a rat trap.  You might want to take him into the bathroom and wash his hands, arms, legs, and shoes with soapy water before he puts something in his mouth.”  The parents were actually cool about it, blaming their lack of attention for the oversight rather than the fact that we had a poisonous rodent trap on the ground.

Here’s the thing.  It actually doesn’t even matter what I personally think about you having kids in the bar because the reality of the situation is that bars, and my bar more specifically, tend to not be child friendly.  This does not mean I will cast you dark glances and spit in your drinks if you come in toting a toddler, it means that there are accessible outlets, furniture with sharp edges, there might be broken glass on the floor, and, as Marky found out the hard way, occasionally there is poison.  So I might talk a good game about how they cry and it gives me a headache or people change the diapers in the bathroom and then the whole bar smells like poo (this has totally happened before!) but really, I worry enough about my adult customers maiming themselves without adding two-foot-tall curiosity machines into the mix.

So, in summation, in the words of my brother (about something completely unrelated but whatever), “just because you can does not mean you should.”  And in the words of me, if you do anyway then watch your damn kid.  Going out to a bar to blow off some steam is only a vacation from parenting when you leave your kids at home.  Don’t make me parent for you because, guess what? I won’t.

10 Responses to “Tip #7 on Being a Good Bar Customer”

  1. RobotGraveDancer June 19, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    Something else in the bar that isn’t child-friendly … the crowd at the end of the bar 🙂

  2. foreverflybutterfly June 23, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    Sounds like Park Slope moved to Boerum Hill.


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