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Ottawa resto-bar bans babies, begins brawl

It all started simply enough: a new restaurant in the south end of Ottawa, Taylor’s Wine and Food Bar, was welcoming a patron who was investigating the restaurant in advance of a birthday dinner for her sister. Then, Trieste Rathwell mentioned that the table of five would need a sixth seat for her three-month-old nephew in his car seat. That’s when Sylvia Taylor, co-owner of the restaurant, told her that small children were not welcome in the restaurant, prompting a brouhaha that has spilled out into Ottawa’s newspapers and radio waves.

On one side, you’ve got parents of young children who don’t want to be excluded from public places—and they’re willing to do things like file complaints with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, as Rathwell’s sister has. On the other side—represented here by radio host and Ottawa’s crankiest old man Lowell Green—you’ve got people without children who think that the restaurant has a right to maintain its own atmosphere, including controlling the age of people in a liquor-serving establishment.

The anti-kid forces seem to have focused specifically on the unwillingness of parents to hire babysitters for nights out, which may be fair in some cases but seems a bit much for new parents of a three-month-old. That said, by the time a kid is six and screaming about not wanting his peas to touch his chicken, they might have a point.

Of course, this debate could never happen here in Toronto. Oh, wait.

• Foodies chew over Ottawa restaurant’s baby ban [National Post]
• Baby causes birthday brouhaha [Ottawa Citizen]
• Many adults like child-unfriendly restaurant policy [National Post]
• Baby Wars [Toronto Life]

  • Ally

    I admire this restaurant owner. Despite the fact that parents think their children are awesome, people trying to enjoy a nice dinner shouldn’t have to be subjected to someone else’s crying baby.

  • Julia

    Great! I’ve stopped going out to nice restaurants for special occasions because who wants to spend a large amount of money on a really nice meal only to have it spoiled by a screaming child that parents don’t want to control; I’d rather cook a really nice meal at home. I think if more restaurants did this they would probably see their business increase.

  • mattagascar

    What’s next? “I demand to bring my lap dog in”? Take your kids to Boston Pizza or East Side Marios if you’re too cheap to get a babysitter.

  • snowy

    Good for them. I don’t care about kids in noisy bars or cheap restaurants but nice places where you may be on a date, doing business and/or spending a decent chunk of change are absolutely no place for kids. As Matt points out, there are many “family friendly” restaurants around if you must dine out with your sprog.

  • Al

    Wow – I am pretty surprised by these comments so far. When my children were young I rarely did eat at nice restaurants with my kids and would leave if their behaviour began to disturb other patrons. I never took them to weddings and have always been considerate of others when planning outings with my children. However, I do not expect everyone to do the same. If they like to bring their children and they scream the whole time, it doesn`t bother me at all. I love to see kids anywhere, and parents who like to bring them to a fancy dinner or who cannot afford babysitters are welcome to bring their kids as far as I am concerned. Anywhere I see a child it brightens my day. If I was in a fancy restaurant and saw a child crying I would make a funny face at them to cheer them up, c`mon people – lighten up!

  • Neal

    To the person above ^, you may be perfectly comfortable with a screaming child next to you while you eat, but most people are not. Parents love their kids, but every once in a while they want to get away and have a grown up time. Is it fair for this to be ruined by some selfish parents? As for parents who go to fancy meals but cannot afford a babysitter, maybe you should be eating somewhere less expensive if you cannot afford another 20-30 bucks.

    It is completely fair for restaurants to decide whom their clientele is, because if one patron is disturbed by a child, the restaurant has to deal with it, putting them in a more awkward situation.

  • Merrigan

    I can’t believe how self-centred these women are being! The Taylors have just opened this restaurant and they have a vision of it being an adult-oriented place. To establish that, of course they have to be firm in the beginning. It makes perfect sense to me.
    The Rathwell-Gards have two options that would make everyone much happier than going through the human rights tribunal:
    1) The events that include Jackson should be at more family oriented restaurants (ex: Swiss Chalet, East Side Mario’s, almost any Chinese restaurant, there are many to choose from!).
    2)If they really want to go to a place more upscale, than Ruth Gard and her husband should be willing to pay for a babysitter.
    There are many couples with children who save up to go to places such as Taylors for their rare romantic nights out without the kids. People such as these three sisters are being very inconsiderate to such couples. They should let this go and let John and Sylvia Taylor create the atomosphere that they wish to have in this restaurant. It isn’t the only place in Ottawa to eat out!

  • Sarah

    Neal, no one is comfortable with a screaming child. Any fit parent does not allow a child to go on screaming through out a meal.

    Also, anti-kid people, is having your nice meal spoiled by a child really such an epidemic? I can’t say I’ve ever had a lovely evening spoiled by a screaming child. I think you’re just blowing shit out of proportion. It is, in fact, people like you who complain so much about children that are the terrible, neglectful, “my kid is screaming in a restaurant but I don’t care as I am here to enjoy my evening” parents, in the end.

  • Anne

    Okay, so as a mother of two and a former waitres, chef and patron of many restaurants from dive to upscale I have to wade in and say it depends on the attitude of the parents. You know your child’s schedule and temperament best — three month old babies eat sleep and poop and most likely wouldn’t disturb anyone’s dinner–as for toddlers and up sitting with adults for a drawn out fine dining experience sans colouring books and crayons can be trying for a child and other patrons…
    From the postby Neal above:”It is completely fair for restaurants to decide whom their clientele is, because if one patron is disturbed by a child, the restaurant has to deal with it, putting them in a more awkward situation.”

    That being said if it’s all about atmosphere insert blowhard with a loud mouth and a gold card or senior citizen who can’t hear becase of the loud music where the word child appears and then what happens to your atmosphere?
    According to the angry posters families have to choose whether they dine together at a crappy chain vs. leaving the kids at home? There has to be a middle ground. Just for the record, children should not be equated with lap dogs in this debate.

    As a side note my children have dined in some of the best restaurants in the city–they use the right cutlery,say please and thank you and encourage generous tipping–which is more that can be said for many adults:)…

  • INB

    I worked at a (very expensive) country club in Connecticut for a while where the families would bring their kids to the dining room quite regularly. They were very well trained/behaved, in their little ties and with their small orders of lobster or dover sole, but extremely quiet and invariably miserable looking stuck there surrounded by hedge fund managers and their equally rivetted families. The same kids were animated and joyful when allowed have hotdogs out at the club’s pool for dinner instead.

    When I remember this and look at the other children in my life I think rules like this one in Ottawa are doing the kids a favour. There is no way you could convince me that any children – and, in advance, spare me about how uniquely mature and fascinated with dad’s conversation your special snowflake is! – are comfortable or remotely interested in nicer restaurants versus the Boston Pizza type experience. It’s just a waste of money, a likely irritation for other diners and an inadmission that your lifestyle, as our folks’ in the 70s or whenever did, has to change somewhat when you’re a parent.

  • michael

    its a business , they can do whatever they want , if you dont like their policies then dont go , whats the big deal , people are stupid ,
    and for the record most parents today cannot keep their kids under control !

    SO I Say go to swiss chalet and leave us alone!

  • mattagascar

    Wow, Michael sounds like a whiny little baby who needs some attention. Why don’t you go sit in a corner while the adults discuss this?

  • gaybourhood

    My favourite part of living in Toronto’s gay village? You can go for brunch without screaming children running circles around your table and walk down the street without fear of being run over by a SUV-stroller.

    Everyone just has really cute dogs!

  • bisca

    It’s their business, they have every right to run it the way they want.

    That being said, I’ve just recently moved back to Toronto from Europe after 6 years and can share that children eat everywhere. For whatever reason, the gastronomes here have transformed dinner into a silent, tense ritual. You would think they were serving the Eucharist at every sitting. Families go out with more frequency and spontaneity when they don’t have to worry about leaving the kids somewhere. That means more business for resto’s.

    As for the rude ones that let their offspring wail to the detriment of other diners, well, you don’t need to be younger than 6 to be annoying. Can we kick those people out to?

    Otherwise, I say we force parents to lock their kids in the car until they’re done dinner. That’ll teach them how to act in polite society.

  • Nikki

    #1 – 6 is not a baby – at what age will children be permitted? The posters here must be the most ill-travelled people in the world. Have you been to Europe? Have you seen families eating without their children? Maybe not at Tour de l’Argent in Paris, but definitely most anywhere else…

    #2 Anne… You read my mind. I wouldn’t take my 18 month old to Scaramouche, but I would take her to a local bistro… She couldn’t be any worse than dumbo at the next table, yakking on his cell phone, or butt head two tables over who snaps his fingers to get the waitress’ attention.

    And #3 – while we’re banning people, can we ban people who order tap water or tea/coffee with their dinner? If you don’t want to drink alcohol, at least get bottled water with a twist? And what about the blue haired set who chose to split a salad with their tea at a busy French bistro, 8 p.m. on a Friday night? Should we ban them too, for taking up a precious table when actual foodies want to eat? Have I offended you? Well, as a parent who doesn’t want to be relegated to Red Lobster and McDonalds… this whole discussion offends me.

  • s_ings

    I’ve had many a dinner ruined by screaming children whose parents refuse to remove them from a restaurant. When my daughter was young I left as soon as she started fussing. I ended up with a lot of meals to go in those days! :)

    As to Nikki, who complains about those of us who don’t consume alcohol – have you ever considered there might be a reason for that? I’m a recovering alcoholic with 20 years sobriety. How dare you tell me what I should or shouldn’t order in place of alcohol? If I want coffee or tea, how is that any worse than bottled water?

  • rsfan

    Note to Toronto restauranteurs – you lose customers (quiet, respectful, returning customers with platinum Amex cards) when they dine in your restaurant and have to listen to screaming, crying, fussing children at evening dinner seatings. If I’ve reserved a table and have looked forward to a great evening (and spending $200-300-400 for dinner for two) and I walk in and see a baby carriage parked next to my table at 9 pm on a Saturday night – I just leave, after explaining to the person seating me why I am leaving abruptly. Children – of any age – do not belong in fine dining establishments. No one’s children, not even mine!

  • serious_foodie

    YES I hope this becomes a trend and comes to us here in Toronto. I dread lunches as my neighbourhood Queen E haunts are littered by ppls offspring.

  • no-baby camp

    This conversation is missing one major point: It takes a village to raise a child. Get used to strangers’s opinions on your educating skills if you insist on bringing them out to inappropriate places.

    If you are taking your kids everywhere, be prepared to have others helping you raise that child. The moment you are in a public space, your kids’ behaviour is everyone’s business.
    Parents nowadays are so quick to defend their precious little ones, as if they’re Mother Theresa reincarnated. It takes years to raise a well-rounded, well-educated human, parents should thank others who are willing to help.
    If your child is screaming next to me and you’re doing absolutely nothing about it, or if your 5-year old is throwing food at guests, expect others to reprimand your child.

  • Atlanta66SS

    First, I have a 6 old girl. Second, I am former chef from some of Ontario’s finest resorts and restaurants. I recently took a large, post baptismal party to a very fine restaurant here in Atlanta. This restaurant had slings for car seats, and my little one just slept. Yes, we take her to restaurants regularly, and NEVER let her sit and cry. It is up to the parents to work with their kids to teach them how to behave. As few people have stated above, if you travel to Europe, you will see children properly dressed, well behaved, and learning how to eat in any situation/restaurant/bar. I hope parents will take the opportunity to teach kids to enjoy fine cuisine. Teaching kids that food comes from a semi-fast food restaturant is a bad idea. Kids begin to think that nutritious, good food comes from a deep fryer or pizza box.

  • SPC

    It amazes me that parents have a problem with this considering there are vacation resorts that do the same thing.
    I personally don’t have such an issue with it as long as the children behave and parents know when it’s time to remove themselves when a child is uncontrollable. I think this is because I was always at fancy restaurants when I was a child. I grew up in that industry and thanks to my parents I have an appreciation to fine cuisine along with good manners.
    In any case a restaurant has the right to choose how there establishment is run, period!

  • KatieMc

    Let’s try not to polarise this into parents and non parents (that’s what public parks are for…).

    We can recognise our children’s limits, give them a fair shot (ie a quick meal with suitable food and entertainment for them) and make clear what’s expected of them. If it doesn’t work out, leave. Children need to be taught how to behave in all walks of life and it’s our job as parents to teach them, and NOT at the expense of other people’s evening. In Europe kids are in restaurants of all kinds at all hours, and patrons would consider it abnormal if they did not accompany their parents. They are treated as part of the family at meals, regardless of time or place; and I think this is right.

    As a parent, however, if I want a night off from supervising my child, then I need to get a sitter before I book my dinner table.

  • Greg

    I am all for a restaurant establishing whatever atmosphere they see fit. It’s their business to do with as they please, and it’s up to you as a customer to support the venue that caters to your needs. This applies to both sides of the coin.

    In Leslieville (my neck of the woods) there are many child-friendly restaurants that welcome the business. They are certainly in the majority and represent 95% of my restaurant visits; I can’t meet my kid-in-tow friends elsewhere, and (of course) all of their offspring are lovely to have at the table.

    That said, I do appreciate a guaranteed screamless brunch the odd bleary-eyed Sunday morning or a certified crying-free romnatic dinner.

    Consumers! Take your money to the type of establishment you want to support, and take it away from those you disagree with. Even better, if someone is losing your business, let them know (politely, please). If you have the money for it, there will always be a venue for you. Know that you ultimately shape the market by how you spend, not by how you complain.

  • EV

    WOW. I’m very shocked at some of these comments and in my opinion the ignorance of a few people. I don’t usually take my child to all my fine dinning experiences but I have a few times in the past not because “I can’t afford a babysitter “but because I like him to experience what we experience (within reason). We have both been commended several times on his great behaviour by staff anywhere from Mark Thuet’s in Toronto all the way to 8 waiters serving us at the 3 Michelin star Le Grand Vefour in Paris. As they say in Europe… Children should be restaurant friendly instead of a restaurant needing to be child friendly. In this case a 3 month baby cannot be yet taught to behave. A responsible parent should know, when to excuse themselves if the crying becomes too intrusive to other people, or if they know the bbaby will cry non stop for 2 hours (then don’t take him/her).
    But I also believe that a parent raising a well behaved child should be denied to have him accompany you for an upscale meal.
    I suppose that there are a lot of people without kids making these comments or simply the kind of parents that should have stayed kidless since they only want to include their kids in Chucky Cheese type outings.
    there are many other things that can help ruin my $200 lunch or dinner and the majority of things will come from adults, not children.

  • ljwtoronto

    Despite any socio-economic background, it appears that little ones aren’t raised to be well behaved in public. I served for years and the problem was not the polite, well behaved 20%, they were a pleasure to serve. The problem was the the messy, loud, running around the room 80%. I love children but many parents are oblivious to the fact that their children are anything but scrumptious. The issue is apparent everywhere. Try to walk through a department store, you’ll see kids wreaking the same havoc. I love to see families out in restaurants and bars in Europe. Not so much here.

  • T. Davis

    Add me to the “if I wanted to hear other people’s kids screaming, I would go to my sister’s house for free”. We go out to enjoy “spending our hard earned money, not other peoples problems” who are either too cheap to arrange a babysitter or want to “share” by forcing their misery on to eveyone else as a trapped audience. I DON’T LIKE KIDS and am tired of being made to feel badly for not wanting to put up with other people’s screaming brats and pay for the privilege to boot

  • Atlanta66SS

    I am not to cheap to pay for a babysitter. If I was cheap I would not pay $18K USD for Pre-k to Grade 6 schooling. So, if I were at a nice ski-resort or St.Barts the kids should eat in the room? How would this advance their education and growth? I suppose you have a problem if you go to Germany and see families in beer gardens and drinking together, or Japan were eight year olds take trains up to hour away with friends to visit a shrine?

  • jec ohio

    I have never asked for a non-smoking area but have many times asked for a no highchair or toddler area. We eat usually at 8 p.m. or after and no child behaves well by 8:30 or 9 in the evening. I have no problem with parents taking children to nicer places at an early hour, but please leave the kids at home after 7 p.m. Both they and all the other customers will appreciate it. Too many of our evenings have been ruined by screaming babies and young children running around. I’m captive in an air plane but can easily stand and leave a restaurant immediately and will.

  • Stephanie Quinlan

    I’m completely in favour of adult-only restaurants. Children simply do not belong in high-end restaurants, and sensible parents realise this. Unreasonable parents get “offended” and try to convince everyone that their human rights have been violated.

    To the people who are trotting out that tired old argument about how screaming kids are less annoying that drunken blowhards yakking on cellphones, could you please explain your logic? It seems to run something like this – other people are being rude and inconsiderate, so it’s perfectly OK for me and my kid to be equally rude and inconsiderate. Cause we ALL know that two wrongs make a right. If this is the attitude with which you’re raising your kids, I fear for the future.

  • Prettytastyreviews blogspot

    I will gladly add my view to this debate.
    Since the age of 4 years old I have been to many fine dining establishments with my parents.
    There have never been any issues with behaviour or we would have been left at home most likely.
    What I do remember is some of the waitstaff were quite surprized that my sister and I would order grilled fish, seaffod or even steak medium rare.
    No adults ever had issues with us eating at a pub type place either, as one of my parents used to like a certain pub at that time too.

    But if your kids as badly behaved or loud, or do not appreciate fine foods they might be better staying at home.
    I do not think that kids should just eat crap food and Swiss Chalet (as much as I like the fries there).
    Some kids actually want to try different types of food and enjoy eating out.

    I think kids can be annoying in any situation, so even at the grocery store, mall or whatever.
    So are we supposed to ban kids from everywhere because they might be annoying?

    I am in the Ottawa region and plan on trying Taylor’s food despite the issues people have.
    Another thing is the area the store is located at has many children’s boutiques and kid friendly parks-so I could see it being a place for a family to maybe stop for a snack.

    It’s kind of too bad that there is more focus on the banning of kids than on the innovative and local food that is prepared by a former Domus chef.

  • limabean

    This is so sad… but let me tell you that before my life was enriched by my son, I probably would have joined the chorus here, and hated on babies at restos. However when dining at Pizzeria Libretto, with my 5 month old sound asleep in his carseat *under the table*, the woman at the table beside our group kept shooting him disdainful, sneering looks, and glaring at us. Her scowls made me feel very uncomfortable so even when our server glowingly commented on how great it was that we could eat out, it made me feel like we should be at home holed up like second-class citizens.

    My partner and I don’t eat at chains, and we like fresh and local food. We’ve taken our baby to places by Jamie Kennedy and Lynn Crawford… and he has been excellent. As new parents, we need to retain some of our old lifestyle to stay sane.

    A restaurant policy banning children smacks of AGEISM. How many people on this forum consider themselves ‘older’? Could I ask you how you would feel if there was a policy barring you from eating out? Maybe I have a trendy new restaurant and I only want people with a youthful look, so I’m going to ban everyone over 45, and suggest you go eat at the old folks home around the corner since they have salt-reduced, heart-friendly choices. Would you think I was being helpful??? I think you would be offended.

    Stop drinking the haterade. Love life. Laugh a little.

  • Rose

    Well everybody, that is why my husband and I rarely eat out.Last time I took him out for his very expensive birthday dinner he had full view of a women breastfeeding her baby in the middle of a fine dining restaurant in Yorkville – yum how appetizing for us. Then we went to a Jazz brunch in Yorkville only to be subjected to 5 strollers that came in and sat right in front of us and the three piece jazz band. I could go on and on with similar stories and have given up. I hate eating out. As much as I love great food and personally collect wines I would rather have my own dinner party or cook. There are too many great choices now to have to be subjected to bad restaurant experiences.

  • Leanne

    I have to put up with enough screaming, hyperactive children running all over the place like everywhere is a playground. Why the hell shouldn’t I be able to choose to go to a bar or restaurant where that isn’t an issue? I’ve been in retail for years and it’s the best form of birth control on earth frankly. Dealing with other people’s kids (and the parents) all day everyday makes me turn around a leave a restaurant when I see it filled with them.

    I can just stay home and have a nice quiet, relaxing meal if I can’t get one in a restaurant. The whole world doesn’t have to revolve around you and your kid after all, what about the rest of us? Oh, right…we’re the inferior types who just don’t know what we’re missing yet because we’re incomplete as people…or whatever condescending way we are putting it lately.

  • March Gregoroff

    Thank God! When my kids were little we stayed at home or took them to McDonald’s. Now, I want to go out, spend my money and have a nice time, without screaming kids.
    There is a time a place for everything. More restos should adopt this policy and put sticker in the window. I’ll spend my money there.

  • Cynthia

    About time.

  • Alecta

    I had filled out a long, thought out and reasoned response, but your comment engine deleted it.

  • d

    I don’t think the parents are thinking about the kids…the dinner may run from 7 to 10 pm and that poor kid who should have been in bed at 8 pm (or earlier) is stuck sleepy, bored, and strapped into a seat when all s/he wants to do is run around or go to bed. Take your kids to swiss chalet or have dinner at home and save the little one the trauma. Early in life I took my kids to restaurants, but they don’t want to be there and I got worried that we may be disturbing patrons as well — I opted for taking them to a place they would like and then getting a babysitter when my husband and I wanted a nice dinner.

  • Hess

    A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were dining at a sushi restaurant, and there was a family and their baby at the next table. Throughout the entire meal the tot would screech a loud, sharp screech every ten seconds. The kid had lungs–I could even hear her in the washrooms in the back. The mom tried to hush the baby from time to time, but when that didn’t work she got up, put the baby in her stroller and walked it up and down, up and down the aisle of the small restaurant. Not only was I shocked at the level of entitlement it took to claim the entire space of the restaurant for her child, but it piled annoyance upon annoyance because the kid still didn’t stop screaming. At least the annoying guy with the cellphone doesn’t parade himself all around the restaurant. I don’t know if parents with small kids should be banned outright from restaurants, but the self-absorption and lack of consideration for others that some parents display is appalling.

  • anon

    I have to agree with Hess, and others who have commented already.
    I was at a restaurant in Little India not that long ago, and it seemed to be pretty family friendly place, but some parents who were dining let their kids run around and around and even climb on tables and walk around and jump on them.
    How disgusting is that! Who would want to eat at a table that dirty shoes were on.
    I think the reality is there are lots and lots of restaurants that are fine dining and allow kids, and one must just accept that certain establishments should be more adult oriented.
    Its true a nice dining experience is good for kids to have, but there are limits, depending on the behaviour of the kids.
    I love kids too, but an ill behaved child screaming and screaming is not fair to me when I’m trying to enjoy my meal, particularly if the parent of that child is lazy, or not able to control their kids.
    Obviously not all parents are like this, but there are parents who are. How is the restaurant to know which parents have well behaved kids and which don’t?

  • Wendy

    As the mother of a squirmy, rambunctious toddler, I would never think to try and get him to sit through a long meal anywhere – and think that parents who do must be grasping at some sense of normalcy for what their lives use to be like before they had kids.

    However, I also do not want to be relegated to chain restaurants and fast-food joints until my children aren’t children. I think the key here is that parents need to know what their kids can handle, and make plans accordingly. There are many parents I know that would very much like to school their children in respectful table manners – and trying to do so at “Swiss Chalet” or “East Side Mario’s” doesn’t exactly give them an opportunity to observe what that might look or sound like!

    Let me also say – that in this particular case – it is not about being too cheap to pay for a babysitter. Most three-month-old infants need to be fed every 1.5 to 2 hours. So unless you know of a miracle fine-dining establishment to which you can arrive, get seated, get fed, and get back home within 90 minutes – leaving your breastfeeding infant at home is not an option.

    When my son was an infant – he slept almost all the time. And yes, we did go out to eat. And no, he didn’t cry. Or if he did, we quickly picked him up to soothe him. Of course, we did this no matter where we were because we loved him and didn’t think that leaving an infant to cry was an acceptable parenting technique.

  • T. Davis

    For those that use the excuse of feedings to bring their brat – two words “breast pump” or as an alternative just stay home if the latter is not a viable option. On the subject of breast feeding, in my opinion it is NOT OK TO PULL OUT A TITTY ANYWHERE ANY TIME. I have had the misfortune to witness breast feedings in almost every conceivable inappropriate location, including a client who thought it was ok in my law office reception! The tired argument that it is ok because it is natural just doesn’t wash – so is intercourse and taking a shit, but I don’t recommend it in a restaurant or any other public place open to public view. PLEASE PEOPLE KEEP YOUR bodily functions and your offspring at home. With respect to the argument that we have to take our children to eat in restaurants, as how else will they be able to learn how to behave. The same answer applies – AT HOME, I cannot understand the logic of an argument that states that we must teach our children in public and subject that public to their protestations. I teach my dog not to have accidents at home on my carpet, not bring them to my friends homes to satisfy my pets need of a fully authenticated experience.

  • Marcela

    I am the mother of a 10 month old and we have taken our son to pretty much all kinds of restuarants. He never fussed or complained. If anything the attention he received was amazing from both the staff and the customers. I believe you should have the right to dine at any establishment with your child. As for the comments about children running around and shouting, I hold the parents responsible for this behaviour. I also get annoyed when I see a child running around in a restaurant and it’s a family establishment! Growing up if I ever tried to act up in a public place I got “the look”. You have to educate and teach your kids on how to behave in public places, at the end of the day you are the parent not the child!
    On the other hand if I was going to a FORMAL elegant restaurant for dinner I would get a babysitter for the evening but these people went to a bar for pete sake. I agree that women who breastfeed should be more respectful of where they are and perhaps go to the car or if the restaraunt has a lounge area in the washrooms, I also don’t appreciate seeing someone whip out their breast while I’m trying to eat!

  • Krantzstone

    Really, restaurant patrons bringing children need to make sure their children are under control and not being a nuisance to others, and a restaurant owner should have the option of ejecting patrons whose children are causing problems for other paying customers, just as they would if an adult customer were being disruptive. That being said, I don’t believe restaurants should be allowed to simply ban all children out of hand, but rather be allowed to do so on a case-by-case basis: allow the parents of children who are well-behaved/babies that don’t cry incessantly to stay, but those with disruptive babies/children can be asked to leave. Those rules should be explicitly stated/explained to people who choose to bring babies/young children to such establishments.

    Of course, there is also a quick fix to this situation, and that is to add exotic dancers to the menu.

    /of course, that might just be my answer to everything

  • sk

    I agree with all of the posters who feel that children have no place in “nice” restaurants and I certainly won’t be bringing my toddlers to such restaurants until I’m sure that they are old enough to behave appropriately. That is less about other people than it is about my own enjoyment. How is it enjoyable to me to be worrying about whether I’m going to have enough time to enjoy my meal before the child gets bored and we need to leave?

    Part of what underlies the belief of those who insist on taking their children to “adult” establishments is that they aren’t mature enough to recognize that life changes after you have children and you can’t continue to do the same things you did before.

    However, there is a line to be drawn in terms of age. Typically, a 3-month old infant is unlikely to cause much ruckus, as opposed to a 2 or 3 year old toddler with the attention span of a gnat who should not be expected to “behave” for a two or three hour dinner at a nice restaurant, as opposed to an 8-year old who has been taught to sit at the dinner table and can read, colour, or do some other appropriate activity at the table to tide him or herself over until the meal is done.

    I think the real problem with this particular case is the parents’ expectation that a child who will have zero economic benefit to the restaurant should have his or her own seat. Depending on the configuration of the tables, the baby could in fact be costing the restaurant money (yes, assuming that the restaurant is full booked and demand for tables exceeds supply. No need to add your comment that the family who is now not booking its party at this restaurant has resulted in a loss of business). Isn’t that what this issue is about, really? Why should I have the right to expect that the restaurant will provide a seat to my child that could otherwise be given to a paying customer?

  • request

    t. davis’ comment should be removed. it is repugnant.

  • Dan O.

    I’m one of those parents that looks forward to an evening out with my wife. We hire a babysitter. It’s really annoying to be seated next to kids that are not well behaved, realizing their parents didn’t bother to get a sitter.

    Come on folks, there are many restaurants that cater to kids give us ALL a break and take your kids to on of the many kid’s friendly places. Let us dine in peace!