A Baby Walks Into a Bar…

April 1st, 2008 by Kathy McManus

Is it irresponsible for parents to bring their kids to a bar?

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

So this baby walks into a bar, and …

Well, the baby didn’t actually walk into the bar--it was in a stroller, pushed by its mother, who was going to have a drink or two with some other moms who brought their kids, and…that’s why this is no joke.

There’s a bar fight brewing across the country. In Seattle, Austin, Philadelphia, Boston and beyond, bar patrons are getting lathered up on both sides of a polarizing parenting issue: is it responsible (or even acceptable) to belly up to the bar with young children in tow?

Those opposed to the mix of cocktails and sippy cups have posted their unequivocal sentiments on numerous online message boards and blogs, like this one in Philadelphia: “I do not want to be in a bar around children. Ever. Bars are for adults.”

Stroller grid-lock has been increasing in bars--often under signs that say “No One Under 21 Admitted”--along with the irritation of patrons who object to shoving crayons out of the way of their cosmos.

Those pushing for more kids in more bars are usually the same people pushing the strollers: mothers of the pre-school set, who say: “We want to do everything we always did, but with our babies.”

So when the owner of a bar in Brooklyn recently posted a “Please No Strollers” sign, he opened yet the latest front in the battle of the bottle. Moms seethed, while critics-- like this one in Tucson --applauded: “Grow up, people,” she wrote. “Your lives are different now.”

Tell us what you think: Are we lowering the responsibility bar by allowing kids in the neighborhood bar?