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Mark Sommelier

Babies/Children in Restaurants (merged topic)

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Comfort Me... Your child is definitely the exception. I would say that my daughter would have qualified for that scenario (and in fact did at some "ladies lunches"). My son, with the same training as his sister, just didn't have the temperament at that age. Two kids, same rules, but they are very different people. We had the good sense not to push it.

Jaymes... I love your scenario. I never went through it because I knew that is what would happen to me. How I knew, I don't know. Mother and Dad just had "that look".

I did "remove the body" to the car once when my 2+ yo son threw a screaming, writhing in the floor fit when I wouldn't buy him candy at the checkout in the grocery store. I picked him up by the cover-alls and hauled him out, kicking and screaming and tossed him in the car. The car was parked in front, small town, knew the manager and he kept an eye on him until I finished. I took my time. When we got back to the car, his sister told him... "Well, THAT was pretty stupid." He never did it again.

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The ill-mannered people I observe are my fellow Canadians, and Canadians are stereotypically (and wrongly) considered to be unusually polite.

Dude, you're bursting my bubble with this shit.

Well then, may I respectfully suggest you take your bigot asshole offensive racial stereotyping and fuck right off? :biggrin:

You may . . . :wink:

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You want horror story?? I'll give you one, and these aren't even my kids! Let me start by saying my bil's kids are the best form of contraception ever created. Spend one hour with them, and you'll swear you will never have children. EVER!!

After spending the day with a good friend out of town and her then three year old Spawn of Satan, my other friend turned to me calmly and said, "Tonight, I'm taking TWO pills!"

:laugh:

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Mother, to everyone within earshot: "You're being silly! No one minds when a baby cries! Everyone knows babies cry sometimes! Everyone loves babies! Everyone wants one around!"

It is this attitude that gets under my skin. I love babies. I know that they cry sometimes. And I don't mind sitting next to one in any kind of restaurant. But not everyone loves babies, not everyone is willing to make allowances for them, and the righteousness of this mother in assuming that everyone is is what pisses me off.

Many people do not want children around, are childfree by choice, and purposely avoid situations where they may encounter children. For this mother to assume that everyone wants a baby around is just ignorant. I don't care what kind of restaurant you're in--it's this attitude of entitlement that infuriates me.

I just read up-thread and found this. I would have probably NOT restrained my self from tapping her on the shoulder and saying. "Excuse me, madam. I do not love babies and I detest their caterwauling. Please remove the offender as soon as possible." :laugh::laugh::laugh:

I have already done the baby thing. I am too old to love babies that much anymore. :biggrin:

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Are you sure that this is not just a "New York Thing".

The rest of the world seems well mannered, genteel, and concerned with the welfare of others.  :wacko:

Does Mrs. Manners appear in the Times, The Post, or Newsday? If not, perhaps a write in campaign would do the trick. She is very helpful in many of these situations and the rest of the world sees her as a guiding light in a sea of darkness. Mrs. Manners may be of some use to you guys in the Big City. :laugh:

I don't think New Yorkers are any more or less likely to be ill-mannered than people anywhere else. The ill-mannered people I observe are my fellow Canadians, and Canadians are stereotypically (and wrongly) considered to be unusually polite.

New York was number 3 on the Best-Mannered Citieslist this year, so they can't be that bad! :rolleyes:

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I thought some would get a laugh out of this Cartoon.


Edited by WHT (log)

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Description of idiots

Put them all against the wall. Take a polaroid picture to keep at the hostess stand. Give them $20. Send them to McDonalds.

I think that the entire story shows why blanket prohibitions of children are inappropriate (the diplomat's kids) and why people behaving inappropriately should be asked to leave. You don't bar people who drink alcohol from the restaurant, but I'm sure that you ask screaming drunks to behave in an appropriate manner.

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Refusing service due to age (race, gender, etc) is probably not legal in the US.

Some real* lawyer correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain that individuals under the age of 40 are not a protected class and that they can be discriminated against on the basis of age.

*I'm just a benefits lawyer, I know no cocktail party law.

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Mother, to everyone within earshot: "You're being silly!  No one minds when a baby cries!  Everyone knows babies cry sometimes!  Everyone loves babies!  Everyone wants one around!"

I think this attitude is a large part of the problem, this mother of course believes everyone loves babies when it is her baby crying, but if it was someone else's baby at the next table I bet the same woman would be screaming for the manager to move her.

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When we moved to London, in 1990, our first child was 9 months old. We were living in South Kensington and took him, asleep, in his car seat, to a Chinese restaurant -- as it turned out, it was pretentious, overpriced, with horrid food, but we didn't know that at the time. The waiter officiously told us that "children are not allowed here", so we left.

The majority of restaurants in London will welcome babies and children, which means providing high chairs, toys, child menus. A few will allow them but indicate that they are "not welcome", and a very few ban them entirely. Some British hotels, both in London and the provinces, once (recently) banned children, not just from the restaurant but from the hotel itself. I believe this has changed somewhat in the last decade.

I have seen children in restaurants at every level in France, ranging from newborns to pre-teens. It is rare that we have not seen children at Michelin starred restaurants in the provinces. Families will often dine together at these places, as a special occasion; for some mysterious French reason the children seem perfectly behaved. Perhaps the same gene that converts red wine and foie gras into life-prolonging, slimming substances also makes children behave well in fancy restaurants. And I have never had a French hotel forbid children; in fact the first few times I asked a hotelkeeper whether children were allowed, I was treated as though I had asked a question in Martian. How could they not be allowed?

This may be one reason why many finer French restaurants allow children: they are connected with hotels, and it is unlikely that you would be dining in the restaurant unless you were staying in the hotel. I have been in two and three starred restaurants that provided a childrens' area -- e.g. a small "library" equipped with television, video films and a few toys, where children could go during a longer meal. We have also been in hotels that were more than happy to serve our very young children a simple meal in our room, around 1800, then listen through the telephone system for cries while we had our meal in the dining room.

Paris may be different. In the 3 stars I have been in, I haven't seen many children -- young teens, perhaps, but few toddlers or babies.

When our children were very young we tended to take them to restaurants of many levels, but to remove them instantly from the dining room if they cried or fussed. They now behave fairly well at restaurants, though we try to be thoughtful about the hour of the day, their state of tiredness, and the ambience of the restaurant.

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Some British hotels, both in London and the provinces, once (recently) banned children, not just from the restaurant but from the hotel itself. I believe this has changed somewhat in the last decade.

More than a few ban them - it's one of the reasons we decided to rent a flat three years ago for a trip to London with then 18-month-old Emma (for a trip we ended up not taking). That, and having a kitchen available reduces the need to find restaurants that allow children.

It was surprising how many did not allow children under 12 - is tourism such a small part of the London economy that people with children are discouraged from even visiting? Tourism is a major part of the Washington DC economy, so much so that most places would permit children rather than lose the business. Of course, I'm not speaking of high-end places like Citronelle. And I don't know of a single hotel here than bans them entirely.

A posted "no kids" policy would likely get all of the lawyers here in a tizzy. :laugh:

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I'm shocked to find out that hotels in Britain won't let families with children stay there. As an American, that idea is completely foreign to me. Offhand, I've never heard of any other country where forbidding children to stay in hotels is common. Actually, I don't think I've ever heard of or even considered such a thing, except that perhaps hotels that are primarily places for sex might exclude children because it's inappropriate for them to be there.

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Part of it may simply be vastly differing notions of what is an adequately sized hotel room in North America and Europe.

In many medium priced European hotel rooms you'd be hard pressed to find space for one child in addition to parents. I'm with Heather; whenever possible we rent a flat in Europe--they're just more comfortable and convenient than hotel rooms, even without children.

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I think it's cultural. As a child, I travelled with my parents to parts of the U.S. (New England, etc.), Canada, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore (where the hotel was weird and insisted that I stay in a separate room as a 12-year-old - which my parents thought was a weird morals clause but I thought was just a grift to make more money), Indonesia, India, Israel, Greece, and Spain. Some of those hotel rooms were pretty rudimentary.

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That's a hotel/casino, isn't it? So gambling would be another reason.

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That's a hotel/casino, isn't it? So gambling would be another reason.

Liquor laws too.

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True.

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Not terribly important, but Bellagio's policy is not a blanket prohibition. Children may stay there with adults, and children between 5 and 18 with adults may enter for some other reasons, including for reservations at the restaurants. Go to Bellagio and then click on under 18 policy.

You must be 18 years of age or a registered hotel guest to enter Bellagio.

The following exceptions apply to minors who are at least 5 years of age and accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age:

    * Restaurant reservations for Aqua, Circo, Jasmine, Le Cirque, Picasso, Shintaro or Prime

    * Attending a wedding in our Wedding Chapels

    * Attending a convention function

    * Attending a performance of "O"

    * Gallery of Fine Art

      Children of hotel guests and non-hotel guests are allowed if accompanied by an adult. Non-hotel guests with children must have their tickets in hand prior to arriving to Bellagio.

    * Visiting a Via Bellagio shop by appointment only

Strollers are allowed for hotel guests only.

edit for clarity


Edited by afoodnut (log)

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Joke! It was a Joke! :shock:

Some of the nicest people I know are New Yorkers. Really. :hmmm:

Some of my best friends are nice. :biggrin:

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I'm shocked to find out that hotels in Britain won't let families with children stay there. As an American, that idea is completely foreign to me. Offhand, I've never heard of any other country where forbidding children to stay in hotels is common. Actually, I don't think I've ever heard of or even considered such a thing, except that perhaps hotels that are primarily places for sex might exclude children because it's inappropriate for them to be there.

Not only hotels, but also some restaurants and a good number of "bed and breakfast" establishments, some of them fairly fancy.

It's changing, but there is more of a "children should be seen but not heard" philosophy here than in the US. Some eight year olds are sent to boarding school (and seem to enjoy it, from what I've picked up). Some families don't dine together except on unusual occasions: there is an early childrens' dinner, prepared by the nanny if there is one in the house, with the adults dining together later in the evening. It doesn't seem to lead to badly adjusted or unhappy children -- it's just a different way of doing things.

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Ironically enough, it seems that we need this policy more in the US than in Europe. European children are for the most part quieter and better behaved than in the US. I guess some American parents have a "laissez-faire" philosophy where I've experienced some 3 year old to 8 year old kids screaming at the top of their lungs, and running around playing with no attempt to stop this behavior by their parents. Makes for a bit of indigestion.....

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Not only hotels, but also some restaurants and a good number of "bed and breakfast" establishments, some of them fairly fancy.

It's changing, but there is more of a "children should be seen but not heard" philosophy here than in the US. Some eight year olds are sent to boarding school (and seem to enjoy it, from what I've picked up). Some families don't dine together except on unusual occasions: there is an early childrens' dinner, prepared by the nanny if there is one in the house, with the adults dining together later in the evening. It doesn't seem to lead to badly adjusted or unhappy children -- it's just a different way of doing things.

Sorry if I sounded judgmental. I tend think it makes more sense to exclude children from restaurants than hotels, if you're going to exclude them from one or the other, but cultural differences are what makes the world interesting.

I believe my parents took my brother to England when he was 5 or so. I'll ask them if they remember how difficult it was for them to find places to stay, though I doubt they'll remember much about that after over 40 years.

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It's the children approaching other tables and bothering customers while the parents are sitting there looking and doing nothing about it that drives me crazy. :

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It's the children approaching other tables and bothering customers while the parents are sitting there looking and doing nothing about it that drives me crazy. :

I whole heartedly agree! I goes back to the root of the problem -- the parents.

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