Drink Up

“Adults with children are only allowed two alcoholic drinks at JD Wetherspoon pubs in order to limit their stay, the chain has confirmed to the BBC.”

Predictably, there has been a minor outcry about this, mainly caused by the fact that the BBC is reporting the story. The company’s policy is not new and has only come to light because Stephen Gandy, a customer who was refused further service because his party included a child, complained to the media.

A spokesman explained the company’s policy by pointing out that city centre pubs are not suitable places for children to be spending long periods of time, regardless of whether accompanying adults are consuming alcohol or not. Parents can also be refused service of soft drinks or coffee in order to limit the length of time that children are on the premises. A limit of two drinks allows families time to enjoy a meal and the policy is discretionary; so presumably a cup of coffee at the end of a leisurely meal would be viewed differently to sitting in the pub just drinking.

The BBC are running a poll on the subject: at the time of writing 30% of people were opposed to limiting the number of drinks served to parents with children, but 38% were in favour and 32% felt children shouldn’t be in pubs at all. This was mirrored in the television news reports, most of the vox pop interviews were supportive of the policy. One man objected to a pub chain “telling parents what to do”, but surely a pub chain shouldn’t need to do this – every parent should put their child’s welfare before everything else.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that parents should never go out, but the JD Wetherspoon policy seems to me to strike a sensible balance: they allow family groups to enjoy a meal, but not to sit around drinking for long periods of time. The really surprising thing is that a family group should be complaining about a company which is simply requiring them to act responsibly.

If an adult wants to spend hours of their time in pubs, that’s fine, it’s their choice. But if you want to live in the pub, why have kids?

2 comments to Drink Up

  • Well done I say to Wetherspoon’s. Children are a damned nuisance in pubs running around, screaming and throwing food making a sticky mess everywhere. If their parents are having a party by drinking alcohol then the little blighters can become more indisciplined than normal and the pub becomes a riot.

  • Every time I pass Wetherspoons in Small Local Town and look through the window, there are the same teenage mums (with cropped tops, bulging midriffs and more tattoos and piercings than can be counted), sitting around while their toddlers run around, drinking away their benefit cheques.

    They even have kids TV on the big screens.

    Not convinced this policy is applied here… because they’d have no customers otherwise.