(Video) I Support Child-Free Restaurants

Child Free Restaurants

Yes, you read that title correctly.

I’m a mommy blogger who supports child-free restaurants. Usually my colleagues come out and rant against this trend – every time it’s headline news that a restaurants bans children. But I believe there are some places, especially certain restaurants where children just don’t belong.

Before you get all worked up, watch my video explanation first – then talk back to me in the comments.

Watch: I Support Child-Free Restaurants

Child-Free Dining

According to this Today Show Report from 2013, a Pennsylvania restaurant noticed that its earnings went UP when it instituted a curfew for children.

Talk back to me in the comments: Is child-free dining important to you on certain occasions? Have you ever taken your children to a fine-dining establishment late at night?

I called the Georgia Restaurant Association to see if it was aware of any local restaurants with restrictions or time guidelines for kids. I also asked for a comment to react to this restaurant trend. The receptionist told me the media team wasn’t aware of any restaurants with these rules. The association also had no comment, but Marketing and Communications Manager Rachel Bell added in a follow-up email, “We do not have a position on this topic and leave it up to the restaurant’s discretion on what their policy is on this matter.”

Then I tweeted  CBS 46 Reporter Adam Murphy (@MurphyCBS46) because he produces The Restaurant Report. He reminded me that The Vortex, a bar and grill in Little 5 Points and Midtown, is over 21 only. Even though this is clearly stated on the restaurant’s website and I assume at the door, I found the funniest quote on the site: “To further clarify, if your children, toddlers or infants are under 21 years old, they are not allowed on the premises of either Vortex location, until their 21st birthday. Even if they already do smoke and drink.”


The Vortex Over 21


We love casual dining restaurants like Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Newks Cafe, IHOP, Uncle Maddio’s Pizza and more listed in Atlanta Family-Friendly Restaurants. What are your favorite places to take your children for lunch and dinner?

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. I am with you! I don’t even take my kids to places that have bars because of what you said. They don’t need to overhear inappropriate conversations, lets keep them kids as long as possible! Plus I am with you on bedtimes! Our kids are in bed by 8 so it would be hard to be out with them 🙂

  2. I totally agree! While I do think that there are some places that are appropriate to bring kids that may still be considered “Bar and Grill” (lots of food chains, like Chilis, Applebees, etc), I think that many fine dining restaurants are not child friendly, and parents should leave kids at home.

  3. I agree with not taking kids to fine dinning places as people are there to relax. Kids dont know how to relax

  4. I’ve never had an issue with children being in a restaurant with me (fine dining or any other place), BUT I do not think it is appropriate to bring a child into an environment with heavy drinking and possible explicit language – for the child’s own good.

  5. Raises hand when it comes to ‘old school’ Yep, we had to be in when the streetlights came on too.
    I think another valid point for having curfews is that for most parents, those few ‘chid free’ hours spent dining together are often the only refuge or date night they have together. If its after 9 or 10 especially on a school night, kids dont need to be there, they really should be in bed.

    I know there are people out there too that will say ‘my kids have every right to be there’ well, yes, they might, but sometimes it is time to use some discretion. What you think is ‘cute’ when your kids race around or throw things at one another other people don’t. I am sorry, but it isn’t cute and guess what? Your kids make a nice dinner miserable.

    • I blame the parents if their children don’t behave well in public.
      When A.J. was an infant & toddler we’d leave places instead of disturbing others. I rarely see people do that nowadays.

  6. Preach. It. Joyce. I adore my stepkiddo. My partner adores his kiddo. When we hear about a restaurant going childfree, we look at each other and go ‘DATE NIGHT!’. I don’t want to get dressed up, make reservations, and go to a restaurant to enjoy a nice, expensive meal to reward ourselves only to be seated next to kids (well behaved or not) that should have been in bed hours before.

    Even if they behave well, they still don’t behave like adults. Adjusting your expectations on dining out is one of many adjustments we make when we have kids. If you still want to eat late and at fine dining establishments, don’t have kids or if you already have, build one heckuva babysitter list.

    • @Suzanne – You crack me up. Thanks for the agreement. A few folks on Twitter don’t agree w/ me. But I’m fine with it!

  7. I agree with you as well. My girls were taught how to behave in public from a very early age- but we never imposed our baby/toddler/preschooler to those who may be out on a date or trying to have a quite meal together. There are plenty family friendly places to choose from.

  8. Can we ban them from theaters, too? 🙂 I hate to go to an adult movie at 9:00 at night and there are small children that can clearly understand the adult language. I totally blame the parents for not knowing (or caring) what is age appropriate.

    My grandkids know how to behave in restaurants and their parents are constantly being told how well behaved they are by the waiters and other patrons. But they go to family friendly restaurants that cater towards children.

  9. You know I am with you on this one. As a mom to a busy and rather fussy 2 year-old, it can be difficult maintaining a happy eating environment at home much less in a casual dining restaurant so yes I do believe it’s perfectly fine for a restaurant to restrict children to their discretion. Heck I think parents should seek out such restaurants and then snag a babysitter so they can enjoy an evening out without their kids or the children of others!!

    • Thanks MJ. I love to take A.J. to places that cater to him. But taking him to a downtown Atlanta sushi spot at 10p on a weekend is OUT!

  10. I agree! If I’m headed out to a fine dining restaurant, it’s usually for a special occasion. My kids are at home with grandparents or a sitter, so I really want to enjoy this “adult” time without kid intrusions.

  11. Brooke @ Blushing Noir

    I had to crack up when you said “came home when the street lights turned on”. That is SO TRUE. I was in so much trouble if I didn’t. My kids are ready for bed by 8. On weekends they stay up a bit later but night time is family time. They’re 8 & 6 so I wouldn’t dream of having them out that late to begin a meal. I think all restaurants should welcome children (it’s up to the parents to decide if their kids can handle being in a fine dining environment, if not stay home or don’t bring them) – however after a certain time (say around 8pm-9pm) I wouldn’t be offended if a restaurant implemented a 13 and under type of “ban”.

    Parents KNOW what their kids can handle. Fine dining can take a longgggg time. If the kids can’t handle eating out at a restaurant then they don’t go until they can. Obv that can be tested out at a jeans and t-shirt sort of place. I guess what I’m getting at is that it should fall on the parents and their responsibility.

    • I don’t know if it’s a financial thing where people don’t want to spend money on a sitter.
      I love my son to death and love spending time with him. But there are times when I want to be with my husband in an adult setting WITHOUT kids and it bothers me that people impose on others by bringing small, unruly children to restaurants late at night.

  12. Brittany Dickerson

    I came here ready to disagree with you, but I don’t! I take my kids to certain places because I know they welcome kids. There is no reason to have a child out after 8pm, and definitely not at a sit-down restaurant. My children are well behaved, but they are kids and sometimes they just have meltdowns. I don’t think it’s fair to spoil other people expensive dinner. Now, if it’s a buffet type place or something similar don’t expect me not to bring my kids in with me.

  13. OMG Yes!!! I support it 100%. When I go out to dinner I want to relax. I always tell my husband I would love to go to a child free restaurant.

  14. OMG Yes! I totally support this 100%. I always ask to be seated away from children when I go to restaurants. There have been so many occasions where they run around like its a playground or lean over the seats behind us and make weird noises or throw things. It is just too much. When I go out I want to relax.

  15. Did you ever think that someone out that time of night with kids may be visiting from out West or another time zone? Do those kids have to eat super early just because you don’t think they should be out or they don’t get to eat nice food other than pizza or junk? If a restaurant wants to be no kids fine and dandy but otherwise go at your own risk its none of anyones business where someone wants to take their kids. You don’t like kids eat at home or find a place they are not welcome. BUT I do think parents ought to make their kids behave and not be little horrors be if McDonalds or Pitty Pats Porch.

    • Mary, thanks for your comment.
      Although I disagree with you, I’ve had other people mention the out of town/from another country time zone issue.
      If we were ever traveling that way, I’d order room service vs. taking our son to a restaurant late at night.

  16. I don’t necessarily have a problem with children at restaurants, but I would LOVE to have the option of dining at an Adult Only Establishment when I felt like it. There are sometimes when I just want to get away and enjoy some quiet time and if I’m leaving my kids at home…

  17. I forget about the Vortex being adult-only. I sure wish some places with calmer ambience would offer child-free dining–a separate room, or certain hours on weekend nights, or something. It’s a running joke between me and the hubs that whenever we do get the rarity of a date night out, we ALWAYS end up near a crying kid. I’m with you–I love my kids, but sometimes I want time away from anyone under the age of 21!