Friday, October 5, 2012

Bottoms Up

Axel, Williamsburg, 2012

Last night we went out to the Kent Ale House (yes, I am that lady with the baby in the bar) for a friend's birthday...Axel slept right through it.

I don't know if any of you have been following it, but there's been a mini controversy brewing (ha, get it? groan) lately about children in Brooklyn bars.

I am clearly all for it, but then I was all for it before I had kids. When we'd go to the winery or one of our local brunch spots pre-baby and see a couple out with their friends and a little one, I'd think, hooray, we don't have to hide away from the world until our children are out of diapers.

My moms' group meets regularly at Spritzenhaus (for Staropramen and hot pretzels, delicious) and no one seems to mind, but then again, Williamsburg is probably not yet as overrun with children as Park Slope. Axel has been to The Ides, Betto, Extra Fancy and many more local spots. (99.9999% of the time he is passed out and completely oblivious that we have left the house.) Occasionally whoever seats us betrays their mild annoyance (and we ignore it.) Going out keeps us sane and, I believe, will ultimately teach Axel how to operate as a normal member of society with manners and all the rest of it.

Perhaps it's growing up partially in Europe, where pubs are generally multi-generational. Obviously we are not going to take Axel out to some Chelsea club, but babies in beer gardens (and coffee shops, restaurants, and the rest of them) is a firm yes in my book. I think it's horribly depressing to imagine that you could only take your child to dedicated "family" restaurants, leading them to believe that the culinary world is limited to chicken fingers and soggy fries.

That doesn't mean I think children should run loose or be total nightmares in local watering holes. I think (or at least I hope) it's a tacit agreement between those with kids and those without. We agree to step outside if we have a wailer on our hands (and to attempt to teach our kids how to behave in a public setting), while they agree not to roll their eyes. Or ban babies from bars.

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