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no-children policy at Hop Leaf

no-children policy at Hop Leaf
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  • no-children policy at Hop Leaf

    Post #1 - April 8th, 2006, 8:02 pm
    Post #1 - April 8th, 2006, 8:02 pm Post #1 - April 8th, 2006, 8:02 pm
    Tried to meet some friends for a birthday dinner tonight at Hop Leaf, but were turned away at the door with our 16-month old son. The hostess told us that they could not allow children into the establishment because they "only have a tavern license." We quietly went away and settled for sushi instead, but I did a bit of research upon returning home.

    Anyway, the hostess' reason for kicking us out was flat wrong. Tavern licenses provide that persons under 21 may not enter the establishment unless accompanied by a parent. In this case, our son was accompanied by two.

    I am not one of those self-righteous, obnoxious parents who thinks she can impose her child on anyone, anywhere, anytime. I understand the desire on the part of some restaurant owners to keep children out. But don't hide behind the false excuse of a "tavern license." Have the guts to say you don't want any damn kids in your place and be done with it.
  • Post #2 - April 9th, 2006, 1:05 am
    Post #2 - April 9th, 2006, 1:05 am Post #2 - April 9th, 2006, 1:05 am
    I empathise with your complaint. People will frequently use the easiest excuse to avoid an argument. The airlines will blame delays on weather or procedures due to security and bars blame it on the liquor control board. No point in arguing since they can refuse service, ask you to leave, and have you arrested for trespassing if you don't.

    I'm guessing the hostess doesn't know the ins-and-outs of the licensing and is just doing what she was told. This doesn't appear to be a "we're busy on a Saturday" type of thing but a full-time policy. Their website mentions it (including no infants) at the top of the page.

    I'm guessing most, if not all, bars (including those with food), as opposed to restaurants with bars, have this policy.
  • Post #3 - April 9th, 2006, 9:02 am
    Post #3 - April 9th, 2006, 9:02 am Post #3 - April 9th, 2006, 9:02 am
    HI,

    Two years ago on New Years Day, a group of us went to Inspiration Cafe to serve a meal. Afterwards we retired to Hopleaf for drinks and conversation. The Vital Information family went to Argyle for dinner instead, then joined us later at Hopleaf. They were also declined to stay because they had with them their two daughters who were approximately 8 and 10. If anything, Hopleaf is consistent.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #4 - April 9th, 2006, 9:09 am
    Post #4 - April 9th, 2006, 9:09 am Post #4 - April 9th, 2006, 9:09 am
    It limits my visits there to the odd weeks I don't have the kids. I don't like it but its their rules.
  • Post #5 - April 9th, 2006, 9:27 am
    Post #5 - April 9th, 2006, 9:27 am Post #5 - April 9th, 2006, 9:27 am
    Cathy, are you guys going to do any more of those Inspiration Cafe dinners? I read about one you guys did before, and it sounded really great. I want to help out next time if possible.
    Last edited by bnowell724 on March 31st, 2009, 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #6 - April 9th, 2006, 9:52 am
    Post #6 - April 9th, 2006, 9:52 am Post #6 - April 9th, 2006, 9:52 am
    I understand the desire on the part of some restaurant owners to keep children out. But don't hide behind the false excuse of a "tavern license."
    Actually, Chicago has a long history of family-friendly taverns. As a kid in the 1960s, I often went with my dad for a coke at the local bar. Nobody thought it was weird. In fact, many of the neighborhood kids would be there also, usually playing the pinball and bowling machines. Certainly, nobody would think twice about taking an infant into a tavern. In Wisconsin, teens can actually still drink beer in bars, if they are with their parents. In Chicago's past, the local tavern functioned as a second living-room and a currency exchange for neighborhood families. Taverns were where people would meet their friends and socialize, cash a check, grab a burger or a pickled pig's foot, drink a couple of beers, warm up during the winter and cool off during the summer.

    I remember when I was 14 years old, I got my first paycheck from my first summer job. My dad took me to a local tavern to get my check cashed. He made me buy him a beer to show off to his buddies (much to my chagrin, I had a soda). It was a local rite of passage to buy your dad a beer with your first paycheck, like an Irish Bar Mitzvah (at least that's what he told me). I got to sit at the bar with my dad, instead of at a table with the rest of the kids. All the guys in the tavern made a big deal out of it. I truly felt like I had became an adult (figures my passage into adulthood would somehow involve beer).

    Unfortunately, there are few of those real corner taverns left. Back in the 1940s there were 7000 taverns in Chicago, now there are fewer than 1300. Two of my favorite local family taverns were the Pinewood and the Candlelite. The Pinewood fell victim to the wreckers ball last year, but up until it closed, it was fairly common to see kids in there (usually with their grandparents). The Candlelite closed, and was re-opened a year later, but more as a restaurant than a tavern with food. It was remodeled and lost that corner bar ambience.

    I am sure that in the southwest and northwest "bungalow belt" there must still exist a few examples of true Chicago neighborhood taverns. It would be interesting to compile a list of the remaining family-friendly "bar and grills" (as opposed to grills with a bar).

    PS. Are there any bars that still have bowl-o-matics?
    Last edited by d4v3 on April 9th, 2006, 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #7 - April 9th, 2006, 11:17 am
    Post #7 - April 9th, 2006, 11:17 am Post #7 - April 9th, 2006, 11:17 am
    I think that kids accompanied by parents are still welcome at Cleo's on Chicago Ave, as long as they sit at a table or a booth and not at the bar. I worked there for 4 years and didn't see alot of kids come in, but when they did, it was no big deal. Although we did have two regulars that would bring their small children in, get dinner, and then proceed to down Long Island after Long Island. Luckily they weren't driving, but it was still fairly disturbing. I think the management finally had a "quiet word" with them one day, because they started limiting themselves to a beer or two.

    The food there is pretty good bar food, but it can get pretty busy. Sunday afternoon/evening is a good time to go with kids if you don't want to deal with crowds. The regulars are a pretty nice group of people, too, so it's a nice neighborhood place on the slower nights.

    Cleo's Bar and Grill
    1935 W. Chicago
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #8 - April 9th, 2006, 12:42 pm
    Post #8 - April 9th, 2006, 12:42 pm Post #8 - April 9th, 2006, 12:42 pm
    jpreiser wrote:I'm guessing most, if not all, bars (including those with food), as opposed to restaurants with bars, have this policy.


    I've never been kicked out of a bar (or not allowed in) with my child, infant or otherwise, and it's not for lack of opportunity, other than once at the Hop Leaf several years ago. And that was after a few successful trips to the Hop Leaf with the infant. I don't fault the policy, nor do I particularly even mind it, but I'm not sure it's terribly widespread. My guess is, it's not a big enough problem for most bars to form a policy around. I can see how at the Hop Leaf, especially with expanded restaurant menu and Andersonville location, it might be more of an issue.
  • Post #9 - April 9th, 2006, 4:42 pm
    Post #9 - April 9th, 2006, 4:42 pm Post #9 - April 9th, 2006, 4:42 pm
    Well, Hopleaf is probably sensitive given recent events in that neighborhood, but they ought to just fess up to the policy. I have no problem with places that are upfront about whether kids are appropriate or not, just as I have no problem with my business going elsewhere most of the time. (Or in going there and allowing me an escape from my own kids, on rare occasions. The worst thing, let me tell you from experience, is paying for a babysitter and going out to a place like Sabatino's, then winding up seated next to kids the exact same age as the ones you're paying to have sat. Not Sabatino's fault, incidentally, just mine for not reading the fine print before choosing it for a dinner date.) All that said, I once took Myles in his baby carrier to the Twisted Spoke, a family-disoriented place if ever there was one, and he snoozed happily under the table. (No, this was not for the porno brunch.) Based on that comprehensive survey of one bar, I think kids are welcome in most bars that serve food, and not technically barred from most others on the simple grounds that the question doesn't come up a whole hell of a lot.

    Image
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  • Post #10 - April 10th, 2006, 7:32 pm
    Post #10 - April 10th, 2006, 7:32 pm Post #10 - April 10th, 2006, 7:32 pm
    This and another thread mention various incidents with Hopleaf staff and owner that sort of smell like an attutude of disdain for the customer.

    We live near there and we go there to eat occasionally, but the bar is insanely rank with cigarette smoke, so we never go there to drink.

    For a great tavern, we go to T's at Clark and Winnemac. Very friendly crowd and staff.
  • Post #11 - April 11th, 2006, 3:39 pm
    Post #11 - April 11th, 2006, 3:39 pm Post #11 - April 11th, 2006, 3:39 pm
    I think there is some rule against kids sitting at the bar - if not in Chicago, then I know I have heard of it elsewhere. Given this thread, though, not only do I recognize this info is not so useful (being as vague as it it), but who knows whether it is even the truth.

    Still, I do have a bit of sympathy for the service-provider who gives an excuse that makes it impossible to argue. After all, I have stood behind someone who seemed determined to argue something to death more than once. So while I find it a bit insulting when someone lies to me, I do understand the reasoning and do not think it is really disdainful - just an attempt to avoid confrontations, albeit in a weasely way.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #12 - April 11th, 2006, 3:52 pm
    Post #12 - April 11th, 2006, 3:52 pm Post #12 - April 11th, 2006, 3:52 pm
    Yes, I have also heard, but cannot say for sure, that kids cannot legally sit at the bar. Whether it is true or not, it sure works when my kids are whining that they want to sit on the high spinning chairs to say, "Then a policeman will come and arrest you!"

    We happened to drive by 26th and Cal the other day, by the way, and I made sure to point out the guard towers and razor wire. They were VERY good the rest of the day.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #13 - April 11th, 2006, 5:15 pm
    Post #13 - April 11th, 2006, 5:15 pm Post #13 - April 11th, 2006, 5:15 pm
    Mike G wrote:Yes, I have also heard, but cannot say for sure, that kids cannot legally sit at the bar. Whether it is true or not, it sure works when my kids are whining that they want to sit on the high spinning chairs to say, "Then a policeman will come and arrest you!"

    We happened to drive by 26th and Cal the other day, by the way, and I made sure to point out the guard towers and razor wire. They were VERY good the rest of the day.


    By George, I think you have been possessed by the spirit of the Hopleaf :!:
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #14 - April 20th, 2006, 12:00 pm
    Post #14 - April 20th, 2006, 12:00 pm Post #14 - April 20th, 2006, 12:00 pm
    I heard that awhile back Hopleaf got caught in a 'sting' where several people came in together and sent one up to the bar to order a round of drinks. Well, at least one of the people in the group was underage. There was a large fine to pay and a manditory one week closing. This is why they now have a full time bouncer at the door checking ID's for EVERYONE who wants to come in the door. In their defense, it's probably easier to say no-one under 21 rather than try to reason with people as to why their toddler can come in but their mature-looking 17 year old can't. With the crowds that come in it would be close to impossible for the bartenders to be checking ID's for rounds of drinks.
  • Post #15 - April 21st, 2006, 10:09 am
    Post #15 - April 21st, 2006, 10:09 am Post #15 - April 21st, 2006, 10:09 am
    The no kids policy was in place prior to Hopleaf expanding to serving food. They just kept the policy when they added the restaurant. I have no problem with the policy, expecially since my 3 year old is not too fond of strong Belgian ales.

    This and another thread mention various incidents with Hopleaf staff and owner that sort of smell like an attutude of disdain for the customer.


    I have also heard people both inside and outside of this forum comment on the Hopleaf's "attitude". I have never gotten that feeling there. They are by no means touchy-feely, but I am not one that looks for touchy-feely in my bar and/or restaurant. I have always had professional, polite service there.

    I am just very excited that with spring here, they will hopefully put Oberon-steamed mussles back on the menu.

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