Disclaimer No. 1: I am technically not a mother. However, I am a respectful-to-others human being and a stepmom to two teenagers, which gives me all the credentials I need to weigh in on this matter.
Hot Bird, a bar in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, has done the unthinkable: It’s pissed off the mommy brigade, you know, those hip, the-world-and-sidewalks-and-subways-are-just-for-me-and-my-hip-brilliant-baby-genius-gigantic-stroller-pushing women.
What has the bar done that was so bad? Via a sign that states, “Children are not allowed,” Hot Bird has banned children from being in the establishment.
“There was a time when there were too many people bringing small children here,” one bartender said in the New York Post yesterday. “It became an issue. So we put up the sign.”
Naturally, because the world is their oyster only, this did not sit well with moms who frequent the bar. One took to a mom message board to post: “Hotbird no longer allows babies/toddlers/kids, so I wanted to spread the word, before you go and get kicked out.”
I’m sure that’s just the beginning of what will be an endless bevy of moms complaining about “discrimination,” and maybe they’ll even stage a protest outside Hot Bird. Can’t you just picture the moms out front shouting, “Hell, no, MY kid can go!” as they hold up artisanal D-I-Y signs with one arm and hoist their Salt Water-sandal-wearing tots on their hip with the other. Disclaimer No. 2: I am writing this whilst wearing a pair of silver Salt Waters.
Now allow me to Cliff Note this for you just for emphasis: A bar has banned children.
As we’re all fully aware, the drinking age in New York — and the entire country, mind you — is 21. Not 21 months, so what the hell were children doing at Hot Bird to begin with?
And don’t give me that, “I’m a parent, and I deserve a night out/a drink/fun.” I totally agree that you do, parenthood is fucking hard/exhausting/unending, as I’ve learned since discovering that I do, in fact, have a maternal side since becoming a stepmom. I’m sure you need a drink more than just about anyone I know; however, doing so with your kid in tow at a bar where there are people who maybe A) are not parents or B) are and left their children at home where they belong is not the place for it.
Sure, you might be the kind of parent who thinks you’ll just die if you aren’t able to hover over and talk to 11-month-old Kale like he’s an adult as you have your beverage of choice, but do you really want your child to be around people who are drinking, cursing, making out and God knows the kind of debauchery we all have found ourselves in on probably more than one occasion in a drinking establishment such as Hot Bird?
The sheer logic of my statements is almost mind-blowing, I know, but you can’t get pissed off about it, moms. You get way more perks in life (I’m specifically talking about your tax breaks just so you know) than those of us who have not put another mouth to feed or future douche bag into the world, and are welcomed with open arms at so many places, so leave the bars alone.
One person interviewed for the Post story even alluded that kids in bars are tiny cock blockers. “Kids shouldn’t be running around where people are trying to drink and hook up,” Sophia Black, 27, said. I’m sure all parents can relate to that at some point, romantic Mommy and Daddy time getting interrupted by a crying baby or kid walking in on you. Now imagine that getting in the way of just talking to a stranger or someone you’re on a date with. It’s already hard enough to meet someone, so imagine a date getting kiboshed because Kale or Apple or [insert whatever name is currently hip right now] is running amok/screaming/crying/making a mess in your vicinity.
After the story of this broke yesterday, Gothamist updated its original story with a statement from Hot Bird owner Frank Moe, in which he stated that the Post story doesn’t reflect his decision as an owner and that the sign was actually posted last summer, not in recent days. Moe went on to say that it was easier for Hot Bird to ask everyone not to bring children to the bar to avoid getting into “occasionally uncomfortable confrontations with certain parents.”
“When children are left unattended, which happens constantly because parents treat Hot Bird like a playground, kids run around, play with balls sometimes, go up to patrons who smile because it’s a child but are in fact annoyed,” Moe continued, “I don’t see why I should allow this when I don’t allow this behavior from my older patrons.”
Because Hot Bird, like just about every other place of business, is legally responsible if someone hurts themselves at their establishment. This could include adults tripping over a carpet, slipping on a spill — and countless calamities that could happen when a child is running amok. “Unattended children fall, climb on stools, etc. The first year we were open, a dog bit a little girl,” Moe shared. “The dog owner fled, and all of a sudden the bartender was responsible for the dog bite and the girl petting the dog on her own. Where were the parents?”
He also recalled an instance when a parent asked for the music in the bar to be turned down because their 5-month-old baby was trying to sleep. “Again, something we wouldn’t do for anyone else,” Moe said. And, again, the baby is trying to sleep — in a bar.
At the end of the day, Hot Bird, and other places mentioned in the Gothamist article that have opted to not welcome children, has staff who are there to serve drinks to patrons who are there to drink them, “not to watch over children and deal with unreasonable demands from the parents,” Moe said. “It’s sometimes difficult to turn away responsible parents that we wished were welcome as customers, but it’s easier just to ask everyone not to come in with their kids, and avoid the headache of selecting who is well behaved and who is not.”
This sounds completely fair to me. Let’s put this into perspective: You’re at your Mommy & Me class or Central Park play date or Chuck E. Cheese’s and in stumbles, for the umpteenth time, an adult cursing, carrying on or spilling a PBR or a martini all over the place. Would you turn a blind eye then, or would you take action?
I thought so.
Nikki M. Mascali is the editor of TheBlot Magazine. Contrary to what you might think after reading this, she doesn’t hate children/parents. Just those who don’t respect others.