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Parents with kids: "Undesirable" at happy hour?

Last week, DCist scribe Kriston Capps riled up the stroller set with a diatribe about a long-running baby happy hour at the Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights. The place, he lamented, was "overrun with undesirables: mothers. Mothers, with children."

The result: Capps was unable to enjoy his pilsner in peace and quiet. During happy hour. At a bar. (And who among us does not equate "peace and quiet" with "happy hour" and "bar?")

Anyway, in his rant, he cited a five-year-old New York Times story lamenting how little tikes had stormed coffee shops. Needless to say, his post attracted more impassioned comments than a thread about getting into private school on DC Urban Moms and Dads. And it got me wondering about other situations where the needs and desires of the childless and the child-rearing collide.

I hadn't heard the coffee shop example before, perhaps because at this point nearly every Starbies stocks organic chocolate milk. Even independent outfits such as Tryst in Adams Morgan keep a pile of battered toys on hand to keep the little ones occupied long enough for mom and dad wolf to down a waffle.

Given the vitriol around Capps' post, Wonderland can't be the only place this tension exists. I would love to hear about other examples of places where parents and kids butt heads with non-parents--parks, shops, workplaces, museums? And do folks without kids change their minds after they have kids? Any reformed resenters-of-kids-in-public places out there? Anyone out there still agree with Capps even after having kids? I want to hear from all of you. You can reach me at Maybe we'll go get a beer.

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By Annys Shin  | April 9, 2010; 10:06 AM ET
Categories:  Build-A-Story  
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Leave your screachy toddlers and noisy kids at home. Don't sit at the bar with you 8 or 12 year old - they aren't really that cute there. Bars are ADULT places for ADULTS to enjoy ADULT company and peace and quiet.If I want to be around loud kids, I have no trouble finding a place to do that. Wanna have a drink with your kids?...stay home!

Posted by: lsf07 | April 9, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who goes to Wonderland needs their head examined.

I've seen fraternity house basements that are cleaner than that place. It is completely filthy. How it passes the City health department inspections is beyond me. It tries to be "hip" by being the most depressing, run down bar I have ever been in. On top of that, they charge prices that bars in Dupont Circle or Georgetown can't even get away with.

And still the yuppies flock to the place. Wonderland may have had a captive audience 5, 6 years ago when they were the only bar in Columbia Heights. Thank god there are a dozen other choices now.

Whats the expression, about a fool and his money...

Posted by: Nosh1 | April 9, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

So long as the kids aren't spilling my beer or blowing chunks on me (I've got friends for that, thankyouverymuch) or the parents aren't giving me the hairy eyeball for finding new ways of using "f@ck" in a sentence, then I don't have a problem with it. Live and let live, ya know.

Posted by: j-man1 | April 9, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure there are a lot of parents who let their kids run free-range. This is a problem, no doubt. But I think the larger problem is that there is apparently a cohort of hipsters who go to bars for 'Peace and Quiet'. I thought that was the exact opposite reason you went to a bar.

In any case, I think this problem will sort itself out without much trouble on anyone's part, because any bar where peace and quiet exists is not going to be open for very long.

Posted by: bucky_katt | April 9, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't think this is a zero sum game and that the two worlds can coexist fine. The Reef in Adams Morgan does the family happy hour well. They have three floors and on Fridays they use the second floor for the families while the top floor/rooftop is for adults. This prevents a lot of the conflict that may ensue.
To all those who think bars in DC are for adults only, more parents are staying in the city so don't think that these families are going away. And, for a lot of businesses they may see lucrative revenue in serving entire families. Families spend a lot of money. To families, make sure that you control your children and keep in mind that there will be rougher language and maybe not-so-adult behavior on the part of the adults that are getting drunk, which you may not be able to control. At the end of the day the reality is that there are plenty of bars in DC, ensuring that there is one out there that caters to each one of our lifestyles.

Posted by: tszollos | April 12, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

I can't fathom taking a kid to a bar...why do this, when there are plenty of family-friendly resturants? Bars are for drinking, and adult socializing - there may not be much "peace and quiet" but it's a different atmosphere then the noise and chaos of kids. If mom and dad want to enjoy happy hour, they need to get a babysitter. If they want to take the kids out to eat, they need to find a different local.

I do happen to remember the coffee shop article, or at least one very similar to that. It's pretty simple...if you can't teach your kids how to behave in public, don't take them into public. It does take time and exposure to public places, but you should know your kids well enough to know if they can handle it. I get so irritated when I see kids running around public places, and screaming at the top of their lungs, and the parent(s) just sits there, or completely ignores them. That doesn't teach them anything except that such behavior is acceptable.

Posted by: akchild | April 12, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Well, I wanted to go to the playground with them, but some single people turned it into a dog park.

Posted by: Wallenstein | April 12, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

fundies wanna be stay-at-home Mummies and still go out and par-tay but cant/won't afford sitter.

Normals will find the 'safe' places. same as keeping the under 30 kiddies out.

jack up the prices,hide, insist on dress codes.

Posted by: mypostid5 | April 12, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

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