Friday, April 30, 2010

Babies in Bars

There's an interesting discussion of kids in bars over on The New School. All-star Portland bartender King C presents kids-gone-wild battle stories, and goes on to point out that the OLCC loophole that allows kids in bars -- so they can eat the food served there -- is kind of absurd when applied to babes in arms. He concludes that "Babies don't belong in the bar."

I disagree with that to the extent that I would hate to see the OLCC or the legislature throw down a blanket prohibition on kids -- even babies -- in bars.  On the other hand, if individual pubs like Bailey's Taproom or Apex choose to exclude minors, I'm all for it.  It's nice to be away from the brats for a while, at least the under-21 brats. The current status quo is working well -- some places allow minors, others don't.  Patronize the one that works for you.

It strikes me that the argument is kind of like the smoking ban argument.  It's sometimes annoying to the other patrons when people bring their infants or lit cigarettes into a bar.  It's also easy for non-smokers and non-parents to work up some righteous indignation about both things, and to start talking about it in moral terms.  The smoking ban went through because it was sold as a public health issue, and I'm sure the same busybodies would love to go the same direction with minors in bars: "Won't somebody please think of the children?"  Please folks, let's not go there.

Speaking of babies in bars, Jonathan Lethem's brilliant sci-fi dystopian detective novel Gun, with Occasional Music takes place in a not-so-distant future where gene therapy has created adult-acting babies called "babyheads" who hang out drinking and smoking in "babybars".  Here's a Google Books chapter of the book where the protagonist meets a babyhead in a babybar -- hilarious.

I turned off comments on this post.  If you're opinionated on this subject, go read King C's original post and comment over there.