Should babies be in bars?
Should babies be allowed in bars?
There he is, in his pram, at the bar.
Albin Lord, 7 months old, is already pushing the boundaries. Did he not read the sign? Under-18s are not allowed. Dogs are, but not under-18s - and not babies.
Volstead Trading Company manager Ned Bartlett asked Albin's parents to leave the Riccarton Rd bar last week.
Why? Because their wee man was not welcome.
Tim Lord, 32, said it was about 5pm or 6pm and the bar's other patrons looked relaxed, lounging on couches.
Far from raging. He thought Bartlett was joking.
"He said, ‘We have a strict under-18 policy'. I felt like I was on Candid Camera. It felt like a very weird interpretation of the law."
The Volstead changed hands last month and Bartlett said staff were playing it straight while the bar's new owners applied for a liquor licence.
Its temporary licence allowed under-18s, with supervision, but the bar had chosen to enforce stricter controls - similar to venues with restricted designations.
Bartlett said that, while it might seem "bizarre" to ban babies and not dogs, those were the rules.
Lord said it was the first time he, his Swedish wife and Albin had been turned away from anywhere.
"I would not take my kid clubbing or drinking, but the Volstead is like an inside-outside garage," he said.
"It is the sort of place that you would expect would be OK with having a kid."
Above all, the Lords were disappointed.
"It seemed like a really cool place. It would have been nice to have a beer and chill out. We have taken him to restaurants and cafes that serve alcohol before. Is there a grey area for babies?"
Christchurch Police Alcohol Prevention leader Senior Sergeant Gordon Spite said underagers, including babies, were allowed in bars with supervised designations.
"It all comes down to the designation, but it is their bar . . . they decide who they have in there. If [the Volstead owners] do not particularly want babies in their bar, it is up to them."
The Monday Room owner Hennie Murray said the Moorhouse Ave cafe and wine bar, which had a supervised designation, did not ask patrons to leave if they had babies with them.
"They are just there socialising. They are not there to feed their baby alcohol," he said.
Bartlett said having small children should not be a disadvantage, "but obviously in [the Lords' case] it has been".
"It is a shame, but we will continue to enforce it."
The Volstead did not want its regulars to feel like they had to moderate their behaviour or conversations with a baby around.
"At the end of the day, it is a bar," he said.
Christchurch Police Alcohol Prevention leader Senior Sergeant Gordon Spite says under-18s, including babies, are allowed on premises with "supervised" designations if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
However, entry is not as of right.
"I liken it to your house. You are under no obligation, just because somebody belts on the door, to let them in."
Spite says bars with "restricted" designations are not allowed to have under-18s on their premises, even if they are accompanied.
"There are very few places that are restricted now. Most bars are supervised and a few are undesignated."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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