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Brooklyn beer garden sets kids' curfew; sober parents protest

A Brooklyn beer garden is the latest setting for a throw-down over just how much children need to be seen and heard in public.

The owners of Greenwood Park in the trendy Greenwood Heights neighbourhood recently posted a sign informing patrons that the garden would be adults-only after 4 p.m. And like other restauranteurs before them who have posted curfews or who have informal policies about not seating families after a certain cut-off time, they've found themselves in a tug-of-war that isn't easily solved.

Kids have been welcome at the 13,000-square-foot space since it opened in June. And, frankly, with its bocce ball courts and umbrella-covered picnic tables, the place looks more like a tennis club than a beer-soaked frat house.

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But complaints, specifically from a group of teachers who work at nearby schools, have led to the change.

"They are surrounded by children all day," owner Diane Vasilakos told the New York Daily News, referring to the educators. "They don't want to also see them here."

Parents who have enjoyed pints, snacks and early dinners there told the paper they had another theory.

"They don't want us to see them drink," Yuna Weiss, a 44-year-old mother of four told the paper. "Some of them get very sloppy."

Weiss and others contacted suggested that a more appropriate curfew could be 6 p.m. "Four is too early for sure," she said. "It pretty much means that they don't want us here with the kids."

If some of the story's comments are to be believed, she's spot on.

One commenter dubbed Baisleygirl suggested parents take their children to a more "appropriate" venue, "like a museum?"

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Although most parents would see the notion of dragging your kid to a museum for an after-school snack or early dinner as high comedy, other commenters have stepped in to defend non-museum outings to the uninitiated.

"… Parents who want to enjoy themselves with other families often seek places where they can comfortably have a beer while being with friends and kids. What is the big deal? I don't drink and I love gathering to go to places like this…" writes one area mom, lijahfriedman.

Whatever the outcome of this latest brouhaha, both sides might consider the optics of facing off over which caretakers need an afternoon pint most: teacher or parent? Awkward.

Who do you side with in this latest episode of family-unfriendly restaurant policies?

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

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