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Regular readers will know that a frequent bugbear of mine is the presence of noisy, badly-behaved children in pubs. Now, I’m not such a curmudgeon to believe that children should be excluded from pubs serving food, which has become an ever-increasing part of their business. There are now plenty of pubs dominated by the dining trade, where you would realistically expect to come across children. On the other hand, there are still many wet-led pubs where you would not expect to find them, even if they weren’t formally excluded, although they often are.
The problem tends to occur in the generalist pubs that aim to combine both drinking and dining trade, which may be dwindling in numbers, but are still fairly plentiful. I was recently in a pub of this description, just quietly sitting reading the paper (I was debarred from looking at my phone), when a family group came in looking to eat, including a baby and a little lad of about four. I have to say my heart inwardly sank a little.
They weren’t by any means the worst behaved children I’ve ever encountered in a pub, but I was heartened to hear the dad say to his son “Now calm down, that man over there's just come in for a quiet drink.” Hopefully I hadn’t looked too grumpy.
That may sound trivial, but it shows a recognition that people may have an impact on others, and need to give them consideration, and will help defuse any tension that may have been created. It’s rather like a bar person acknowledging your presence and saying “I’ll be with you in a minute”. A pub, especially a mixed-use one with a variety of customers, is a particular kind of environment, and visitors should respect that.