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Since it opened in Petworth a year ago, hair metal-inspired bar Slash Run has been (perhaps surprisingly) stroller heaven. Not only does it have a kids menu, but the place has at least eight high chairs. Even City Paper named it “Best Bar and Restaurant for Punk-Rock Parents.”
But the owners are now trying to limit kiddie time to the early evening. They recently posted a sign at the door reading, “For their own safety, please keep your children seated with you at all times & we kindly ask that you leave the lil ones at home after 8 p.m.” PoPville commenters went nuts.
Co-owner Gordon Banks says the tipping point was a parent who decided to change a baby’s diaper on a table at 11 p.m. on a Friday. (The restaurant’s bathrooms don’t have space for a changing table.) Other offending episodes have included a toddler who locked themselves in the restroom and kids running into the kitchen unattended.
“It’s a difficult line to tow. We really want to be very kid friendly. At the same time, we’re not Magic Ground… We’re not Chuck E. Cheese’s,” Banks says.
Banks clarifies that kids aren’t kicked out at 8 p.m. Rather, he hopes they’ll come in no later than 8 p.m., allowing Slash Run to become a fully adult bar by 9 p.m. “We’re starting to book bands, and it’s something that’s inappropriate for very small children,” he says.
Still, the kid clientele will remain very much a part of the restaurant’s identity, Banks says. He has an almost-three-year-old, after all. “Urban parents today still want to be able to go out and get a good beer and take their kids out and not feel ashamed,” Banks says.
But he assumed that the under-10 crowd would naturally clear out by 8 p.m. for bath and story time. And while that’s usually the case, it’s not always so.
The sign at the door is not just for parents, Banks adds, but also to alert other patrons when they can expect to come in and not be surrounded by toddlers. A bartender coming in for a beer and a shot on his day off, for example, doesn’t necessarily want to be hanging out with those still drinking from bottles.
The rules apply to his own kid as well. “Before we’re open, the owner’s daughter is allowed to head bang to Ozzy in there,” Banks says. “When we’re open, the owner’s daughter has to sit at a table with her parents.”