Stroller Shuuned at Mack’s Bar and Grill
My recent Saturday afternoons have me taking Nate to a toddler swim class at the Y, then taking care of some shopping chores, then running him ragged at the playground to induce a delightfully deep nap. The I get to meet my wife for a peaceful lunch out while Nate snoozes in his stroller.
This afternoon I thought we’d check out the newly open Mack’s (formerly Elementi, formerly Snookys.) It was empty, 2 people at the bar and less than 5 people eating in the back. We made our way to one of 4 empty booths in the front, and a waitress informed us that the owner didn’t like strollers in the front. We said that we didn’t want to wake our 2 year old up and we were happy to sit anywhere, and slide the stroller wherever it wold fit. Apparently the owned didn’t like strollers in the back either. So my wife said, “maybe we should come back when we don’t have our son?” “That’d be great,” the waitress replied, apparently immune to my wife’s dry irony.
We left. And won’t be back, with or without our son.
I don’t want to get into should children be allowed in bars mishegas (especially as Mack’s is CLEARLY a restaurant.) And if a restaurant doesn’t want strollers (or children for that matter) in their establishment, that is their prerogative.
Maybe we just caught a bad day, or bad waitress, but I won’t be back to Mack’s because they are STUPID! Mack’s is in Park Slope. They may even have a children’s menu. And pretty much everything else they serve might as well be on a children’s menu. Yet they don’t want strollers? Why would you create a policy that alienates so much of neighborhood?
At 1PM Saturday Mack’s was hurting. No brunch crowd at all, it was all but empty and was not going to fill up that afternoon. Yet they are turning away customers because they have no stroller policy. You could have parked 6 Bugaboo’s, 4 Phil and Ted’s and a couple of Bob “double wides” to boot, and you would not be in violation of any fire code, or hamper the egress of the eight people there. There was no downside to having a family and stroller there, except that they don’t want their fine establishment with the “stigma” of being family friendly. (Or as we call them in Park Slope, the restaurants that stay in business.)
Plenty of restaurants have managed to strike a balance between family, Two Boots is the Slope’s go to family destination, yet still has a hoping bar scene at night. A few people have complained about the Tea Lounge being overrun with kids in the afternoon, but the Tea Lounge can’t hear you with all the money coming out of their ears. Barrio is seems to a very brisk business to both families (with and without strollers) and childless alike.
We have taken the nappin’ Nate to lunch at a lot places a lot nicer than Mack’s with no trouble (Belleville, Sette, Sotto Voce, Cafe Steinhof, Applewood, The Chip Shop, Franny’s, Get Fresh, 12th Street Bar and Grill, to name a few.)
There was a silver lining after our rebuke fro Mack’s, we noticed that the Korean restaurant Moim had recently started opening for brunch. They were accommodating to us and our sleeping child, the service was excellent, and our Bi Bim Bop, and Bul-Go-Ki cheese steak were delicious!
Of course there have been occasion when a restaurant has been too crowded to squeeze a stroller in, and we were always fine with that, we aren’t looking to make a statement, just for a restaurant to make sense.