Following Grace Dent’s review (14 May) of the Alma in Crystal Palace, London, you published a letter (When pubs leave parents out in the cold, theguardian.com, 17 May) contesting the pub’s seemingly “bizarre” ban on children under the age of 10. I feel compelled to provide a counter point of view.
As a woman who has chosen not to have children, a choice many others know is something we are judged for almost on a daily basis – “you’ll change your mind”, “you just haven’t met the right person”, “when are you having children?” – I for one am really interested to see a local pub making such a decision. If this were a policy coming into force across all London boozers, then I too would be raising an eyebrow, but we must remember that parents have ample choice. If we’re discussing the “kind of attitude [that] disappeared along with the sticky carpets” of the pre-1990s, then I think it’s only fair that we consider how many feel alienated and/or “excluded” every single day by their lack of children (be that by choice or because of infertility).
It’s one pub in a sea of thousands across the city, and it seems farcical to argue that exclusion from it is the final hurdle preventing someone from “getting back to normal”. This policy is made for people like me and parents who don’t always want to be surrounded by children. I’ll be making my reservation.
Name and address supplied
When I was growing up, there were no kids in pubs full stop. Even when married and with two of our own, we would never have taken them, even if we could. Much as you love them, they are hard work, and we would sometimes be lucky enough to have a babysitter so we could go out and have a bit of time to ourselves without the kids. Having left our two at home in safe hands, the last thing I would have wanted was to be surrounded by other people’s. They grow up fast enough and can go to pubs when they are old enough. Pubs are no places for young ones. When drink comes in, common sense often goes out.
Bradford, West Yorkshire
Chalkboard outside a pub in Helensburgh: “Nae weans, nae food, nae bother” (Letters, 19 May).