Monday, 7 November 2011

Dining Etiquette: The Bootle Arms

As a treat for my mum's birthday, we went to The Bootle Arms. It was a Sunday (just gone) and we didn't arrive until early evening time. The sun was just setting over the fields that surrounded the pub. It was quite beautiful with all the autumnal colours and the crisp freshness in the air. 

When we entered the pub, we were met by a bustling atmosphere and, luckily, we were promptly seated. Unluckily, we were seated next to a table of four women and 4 kids (including a baby). Now, that would have been fine, except for the screaming. The constant screaming. And the unwilling women.

We managed to put up with the noise during our mediocre meal. But, by the time our plates were cleared and we were looking at the dessert menu (I was considering the trio of brownies), the noise had picked up. The women made half-hearted attempts to quieten them down but, quite frankly, they didn't seem interested in trying to control them.

I went to the bar to ask if we could be moved to another table. I think it was the manager we spoke to. We were met by a dismissive comment about how busy they were. Now, I understand that they may have had a lot of bookings, but the way he came across was like a "like it or lump it" attitude. We never ordered dessert and left slightly disgruntled.

So, what's the correct etiquette for dining out with kids? Should the women have made more of an effort to keep the kids quiet? If the kids couldn't behave, should they have been there in the first place, disturbing everyone's evening? Or, should I just "like it or lump it"? 


  1. Don't really know what you were expecting tbh. Pubs get busy in the evening and kids will cry. If you want to avoid kids then you should go up market and pay into places that put off parents.

  2. Well they weren't crying, they were screaming and shouting.
    The prices of the place weren't exactly cheap, especially for the standard of food.
    And why should I have to go somewhere more expensive to get away from it? It's not like I could afford to.
    Is there to be no responsibility taken by the parents? I'm asking out of intrigue into your opinions, not to be argumentative.

  3. If they were screaming and shouting then it sounds like they were old enough to be controlled. So the parents were being rude and boorish.

    If I go to a pub for a meal, I don't really *expect* young kids. It's a PUB! Parents with young kids are welcome to go to the reasonable range of family-oriented restaurants out there. If they want a meal somewhere with more character and better food, they can get a babysitter. To the parent who says "oh, so because I have a young child I have to restrict the places I go out to eat?" I say: "yes".

    Of course, if you are blessed with a well-behaved child who will stay reasonably quiet for the duration, then you're welcome. Parents are well aware of how their kids tend to behave and can make a responsible decision.

    I'd say these parents didn't.