Tag Archives: kids in bars

Tip #22 on Being a Good Bar Customer

24 Dec

Aaaaaaand we’re back. You know, you would think after over a decade behind the stick I would stop being absolutely amazed by people’s behavior. But, you would be wrong. I think one of the things about being a bartender that is great is that I get to meet so many interesting people. People who have had all kinds of jobs, lived all kinds of places, loved all kinds of people. Aside from deciding if they are of legal age, you really don’t screen who walks into your bar and you don’t – aside from a libation or two – know what they are looking for. Are they meeting a friend? Are they looking to get out of the house for a bit? Needing a little quiet time? Wanting to see a familiar face or two? Do they want to talk to me or just sit, scrolling endlessly through their phone? It’s all fine, really. As long as they are reasonably polite which, to be fair, the vast majority of people are. But there are some (as is evidenced through my now 22 tips for how not to behave poorly in a bar) who just…don’t know how to live in a world with other people. They don’t know how to abide by the rules of a private business. This is a story about a few of those people.

I work in a few places, one of which does not permit strollers in the bar. This is not because we, as an institution, hate children. We actually allow children. Just not their rolling means of conveyance. Why? Because those fuckers take up A TON of space. You get 4-5 strollers in a place and you lose a ton of real estate and, with that, the potential for a lot of business. And you know strollers are like ants, where there is one another one (or 5) is never too far behind. That is not good for my pocket and it’s not good for the place I work. So, we don’t let ’em in. Period. There’s even a sign on the door. It says

NO STROLLERS. THANK YOU.

I bet you know where this is going.

Here’s the thing. Most people are cool about it. Most people, when they hear the phrase

Excuse me? I am so sorry but we actually don’t allow strollers in the bar.

Will either offer to leave their strollers outside on the avenue – totally cool with me – or shrug their shoulders and say

No problem. See you next time.

No harm no foul. But there are always a few who just will not hear it. They try to argue that no, they don’t plan to be in the bar, they plan to sit outside in the patio on a beautiful spring day. A place where basically every single other person also wants to be sitting (hence the no stroller policy). Or they will just fold it up small, and insist I won’t even know it’s there! Or they try to turn it into a bag? And in the process spew all the baby accoutrement that can no longer fit inside the stroller-turned-bag and instead it occupies the surface of like 3 additional tables. Which is not that much better than having an open stroller in the room. As it turns out, babies need a lot of things.

Over the past year or so, I have had disagreements with five people who just couldn’t grasp the no-stroller policy. And like, come on, I am the bartender. I work there. I don’t own it. I don’t make the rules. I just enforce them because if I don’t enforce them and my boss walks in and sees a whole mess of strollers do you know who he (rightfully) says something to? Me. Not you. Me. Because I am the keeper of the rules and it is my job to make sure that people abide by them. So it’s like give me a break! When I politely inform you that we don’t permit strollers, please don’t do or say the following things, all of which have been done or said to me:

  1. After I tell you I don’t allow strollers, please don’t then ask me if we permit smoking outside and then, when I answer in the affirmative, please don’t tell me that “smokings kills people, strollers don’t” while you storm out (although that was hilarious)
  2. Don’t instruct your stroller-pushing partner that “you’ve got this” when you walk into the bar full well knowing we don’t allow strollers, thinking you can bully the short girl behind the counter. Also, when I continually inform you that we don’t permit strollers anywhere in the bar, don’t first tell me I am the “hostess” and I should do what you need and then don’t call me a servant before storming out. Not a good look.
  3. On your way out the door after I tell you, again politely, we don’t allow strollers, don’t gesture around the empty bar which I had opened 5 minutes earlier and snarkily say “I guess you don’t allow customers, either.” Because being rude for no reason doesn’t help anyone. It just make you look like an ass.
  4. Don’t put your stroller into an actual bag and then try to tell me and my coworker that it is not a stroller at all but is, in fact, a backpack.
  5. When I have told you immediately upon entering that we don’t allow strollers, please don’t stand around inside and text for 15 minutes with your stroller blocking the entrance way, then when your friends arrive take all the items out of your stroller and try to fold it up (still not allowed), and then blame me about how you have to leave your stroller outside in the rain. That’s not on me. This is not a situation where you ask for forgiveness later. Just don’t do it.

Listen, I know people with kids want to go out and have drinks with their friends. And they should! Parents are people, too. They are now just people who come with other, smaller people. You can even bring your kid to the bar (as long as you don’t allow them to run around, throw things, and scream). Basically, just be a parent the same as always. Meaning, continue to parent. Having a beer in your hand does not mean all your parental responsibilities are gone unless you have left your kids with a sitter (who you are paying a reasonable hourly wage). In that case, have at it! But either way, leave your stroller at home! There’s no excuse really. They now have all sorts of baby backpacks, baby wrap things, baby front-of-the-body-carrying things. All those things are great! Bring those things! Just don’t bring the strollers. Or the attitude. Although to be fair there isn’t a sign on the door banning that.

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.