Parents were being told that if they visited a JD Wetherspoon pub with children they were restricted to two alcoholic drinks only.
JD Wetherspoon who have 683 pubs across the UK said the policy was to limit the amount of time children were on the premises. Staff were able to refuse an adult alcohol even if others in a larger group were not drinking or were only drinking with a meal.
The pub chain was obviously conscious that the pub was not a children's play area and that a pub environment is not a great lengthy day out for children. Once a family had finished their meal it was expected that the natural thing to do would be to leave shortly after. JD Weatherspoon was keen to make it clear that although they were happy to invite families through their doors their hope was to avoid children being present for two to three hours whilst their parents drank.
The policy came to light after a family of 7 visited the pub with a 2 year old child.
The mother was drinking water and they were refused more than two alcoholic drinks even though the family and friends were eating. The spokesperson for the family was 'furious and embarrassed not to be served' the justification being that the policy was to prevent cruelty to children under the Licensing Act.
Mr Gershon a representative from the pub chain denied the policy related to child cruelty but reiterated that a policy in respect of children is nothing new as children weren't permitted in the pubs around 5 years ago.
The British Beer and Pub Association, of which JD Wetherspoon is not a member, commented that the policy was unusual.
The pub chain also pioneered non smoking areas, dogs are banned and it was said that the company toyed with the idea of printing a request on their menus asking the people visiting the pubs not to swear.
Most pubs or establishments that offer food have done a lot over the years to make their businesses family friendly and to offer an environment where adults can enjoy the drinking culture where they can be relaxed with their children.
The decision to implement this policy is interesting as it takes the licensing objectives seriously and one of the major considerations is the impact of drinking on children.
Should you have any concerns about the specific way in which you should support the licensing objectives but need advice about how to implement them, we at Gepps, can discuss with you how this can be achieved.