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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Like Smith Childless?

posted by on October 31 at 11:00 AM

Then you better get in there fast.

I was blogging last night from Smith, Linda Derschang’s newish place on 15th, simultaneously attempting to digest anti-gay GOP state rep Richard Curtis’ 15 page police report and a beet salad, chicken pot pie, and pot de creme. And I learned some welcome news about Smith when I was paying up: Later this week a tasteful railing will be installed around Smith’s bar—and you know that means, Seattle.


Once the Liquor Control Board drops by, checks out the rail, and gives the okay under-21s will be welcome at Smith. My son, age nine, is going to be be psyched. He’s sick of hearing his dads rave about all the Smith burgers and pots de creme and devils on horseback that we’ve wolfed down while he’s been away on play dates and sleepovers. But now he’ll get to join us a booth or one of the communal tables for a burger. Good news.

Yes, yes: We over-21s are losing a precious grownups-only watering hole. But admitting under-21s didn’t exactly ruin Six Arms, did it? And grownups still have exclusive use of Linda’s and Liberty and the Comet and the Eagle and dozens of other bars all over town.

But in the interest of promoting harmony between child-free and the child-full communities as we prepare to share Smith, let me say this to my fellow Capitol Hill parents: If you can’t control your fucking kids, dumbfucks, don’t take your fucking kids into fucking restaurants.

Just as responsible pit-bull owners—both of them—are angered by the behavior of irresponsible pit-bull owners, responsible parents—the kind of parents that keep their kids under control at all times in restaurants—are angered by parents that bring out-of-control brats into restaurants. My kid is under control in restaurants because his parents don’t want to ruin your meal anymore than his parents want some other parents’ kids to ruin their meal.

So, I’m sorry, but I’ll be bringing my kid to Smith. With the exception of the Great Cake Licking Incident at Septeime a several years ago—it’s a long story—my son is good in restaurants and bars. You won’t even notice him sitting with us in the booth near the beer cooler, Smith regulars, I swear.

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Erica is going to be pissed...

Posted by tiptoe tommy | October 31, 2007 11:16 AM

First Red Balloon and now this!?

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 31, 2007 11:19 AM

I think it's the presence of howling toddlers throwing things that gets restaurant patrons particularly annoyed. Nine-year-olds generally aren't as big a problem, particularly if they don't have siblings around to rile them up a bit.

Posted by tsm | October 31, 2007 11:19 AM

Way to go Dan. I don't know what the hell it is with Seattle, or more specifically Capitol Hill hipsters being anti-children.
The city is not some exclusive club for 20 somethings. If it is during the day or early evening I see nothing wrong with having kids in a bar/restaurant. I personally like kids, so what if some of them are ill behaved, they are kids. Most of the people that I know that complain about kids aren't exactly well behaved adults either after a night on the town.

Posted by way to go | October 31, 2007 11:22 AM

@ 4, 20-something hipsters are just that way. I was that way back then, now I'm a parent. Life is funny like that.

Posted by Matt from Denver | October 31, 2007 11:28 AM

Thank you for the nod about me being a responsible pit bull owner. Heh.

Posted by Carollani | October 31, 2007 11:30 AM

I know what you mean.
I am in my late twenties and a lot of the people I know that used to complain about kids are having them now.

Posted by way to go | October 31, 2007 11:32 AM

Six Arms sucks. Always has.

Posted by DOUG. | October 31, 2007 11:33 AM

I stronly object to the attitude of anti-kid elitist hipsters. When I go to bars or restaurants I see way obnoxious behavior from these people than I do actual children.

But I also want to say that I think it's important for people to have a degree of tolerance for kids who are not absolutely well-behaved. I work with special needs children, which informs my perspective on this. It seems that parents who have children who are well-behaved get very snobbish towards parents of children who might not be so well-behaved. Well, a lot of time its luck of the draw what kind of a child you get, and those parents of the kids who are not so well behaved might actually be working a hell of a lot harder for the benefit of their children. But I'm not saying any behavior should be tolerated anywhere either.

Posted by Peter | October 31, 2007 11:37 AM

Six Arms serves smoked mozzarella and pesto grilled cheese sammiches with tater tots.

Such a place can not suck.

Posted by seattle98104 | October 31, 2007 11:39 AM

I hope all the parents start bringing their kids to Smith so I won't have to worry about anybody showing up with kids at any place I'd actually want to go to.

Posted by twee | October 31, 2007 11:42 AM

I remember how fun it was, when my son was really young, around 5, to encourage him to go up to railings and state at the people at the bar.

It was so cool how it messed up their whole days.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 31, 2007 11:43 AM

Hey, if you want to bring your kids into a place that is mainly for adults go ahead. Your kid starts to misbehave, ALL the adults in the place have a right to beat the kid's ass. God knows most parents will do nothing to stop their kids from acting like little shits. And we all know I am not joking.

Posted by Just Me | October 31, 2007 11:43 AM

As spokesperson for 20-something hipsters, we don't mind because we're not hanging around 15th ave anyway (except for the Canterbury). Do you think we're going to be seen in a neighborhood where you're protesting a balloon store for not being kid-friendly enough?

We foresaw this long ago. That's why we planted Castle on Broadway and Babeland on Pike for our high school talent show.

Posted by jamier | October 31, 2007 11:44 AM

oh, and Six Arms does not suck. Although I never took Ian there.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 31, 2007 11:44 AM

@9 if your kid can't behave don't take him /her where you might be asked to leave. That simple. Some places were built for misbehaving kids, Chucky Cheese, Applebees, Red Robbin, Five Spot, McDonalds, you get the idea.

Posted by seattle98104 | October 31, 2007 11:44 AM

I'm happy to hear that more places are becoming child tolerant in Seattle. (while still not child friendly due to the general pervasive dislike of children in Seattle, it's at least getting slightly more tolerant of them).

However, I also agree with Dan that misbehaving children should not be inflicted upon others. Our 7 year old is autistic, so we don't take him anywhere except to parks or places where his antics aren't disruptive because we don't want to inconvenience other people who wouldn't understand that this is just how he is.

Sure, it sucks that my wife and I haven't gone to a restaraunt together for years, but that's life I guess.

Posted by Packratt | October 31, 2007 11:44 AM

Six Arms does suck ass

Posted by me | October 31, 2007 11:46 AM

Finally, a place for the children to get the bone marrow and pork belly they've been clamoring for!

@9 - I think there's a degree of luck-of-the-draw, but I also think in most cases it has to do with the parenting. Of course, I don't have and am never having kids, so what the hell do I know?

I am reminded of the episode of Extras where Andy is annoyed by a noisy child in a restaurant and asks the waitress to ask the mother to quiet him. Of course the child turns out to be developmentally disabled, the tabloids get a hold of it, and the story turns into Andy physically assaulting the mother and child and having them thrown from the restaurant. Hi-larious!

Posted by Levislade | October 31, 2007 11:53 AM

This is awesome news. Next up: dogs in the bar!

Don't worry. My dogs and your kids are going to get along great.

Posted by elenchos | October 31, 2007 11:54 AM

I didn't realize that Liberty, etc didn't allow children ever, and I don't really care if kinds are there or not. I don't like kids, but as long as they're not bugging me, who cares if they're around? But I really hate those stupid rails around bars. They always seem to be placed so close to the bar that it's impossible to sit comfortably at the bar and have space for someone to walk behind you. And it's annoying to have to scoot in everytime someone arrives or leaves. Can't we just have bars install electric fences and make the wee tots wear collars while they're there?

Posted by genevieve | October 31, 2007 12:00 PM

I know exactly the two pit bull owners you're talking about, and I'm sure they're quite gratified to be singled out.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | October 31, 2007 12:02 PM

Kids in restaurants are a-okay as long as their parents don't expect everyone else to watch them. Whilst in San Francisco not long ago a 3 year old and a 6 year old (give or take) were running throughout the coffeeshop, up and down, up and down. Then I got to watch them dart out of the restaurant and play dangerously close to traffic for a bit before mom decided to go get them.

But maybe I worry to much.

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 31, 2007 12:06 PM

. . .worry TOO much. d'oh!

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 31, 2007 12:08 PM

Six Arms sucks.

Posted by Justin J | October 31, 2007 12:15 PM

Six Arms doesn't suck. It's a good, dinged up pub, with good, solid pub food. It isn't supposed to be anything else.

And planting Babeland, which is celebrating its 15th birthday, on Pike sure was prescient of you 20-something hipsters--what was it, your 3rd grade class project?

Posted by Dan Savage | October 31, 2007 12:18 PM

Yah, I have no problems when parents watch their children. I work in a restaurant and some parents actually let their kids run around the place while they eat dinner. It's dangerous for the kids and dangerous for us. I can only imagine a parent's outrage when one of their kids trips us and gets burning hot food on their faces.

Posted by Dianna | October 31, 2007 12:18 PM

It's not just the, er, responsible adults with their wee ones who are inconvenienced by over-21 places - what's a 20yo gourmand supposed to do in this town? Chinese take-out? I'm old enough to get sent to Iraq - am I not old enough to get a decent burger?

Posted by SeattleExile | October 31, 2007 12:19 PM

Actually, Six Arms kinda sucks. Everything in it is sticky, including the patrons. I'M sticky after being in there for a few minutes.

I don't object to kids, even brats, as much as I object to TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE MUSIC played way too loud.

Posted by Fnarf | October 31, 2007 12:21 PM

Oh, and you can bring your kids into Liberty -- so long as they're leashed and wearing little dog costumes.

Posted by Dan Savage | October 31, 2007 12:21 PM

I just want to say that the chicken pot pie at Smith is pretty damn good.

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 31, 2007 12:29 PM

@ 13, you can beat on some kids' ass if you're prepared to have the same dished out upon you. Believe me, NOTHING will get your ass torn off and handed back to you faster than fucking with someone's child. And it will be at the hands of a 110-lb, 5 foot nothing woman, too.

Posted by Matt from Denver | October 31, 2007 12:32 PM

You know Sharkansky is totally bringing his kid to Smith now. Just sayin'.

Posted by kid icarus | October 31, 2007 12:34 PM

Dan, you're such a cock tease. You can't at least give us the Reader's Digerst version of the Great Cake Licking Incident at Septeime story?

Also, Seattle hates kids? Reason 587 why I need to leave this goddamn bible belt city.

Posted by Mike in MO | October 31, 2007 12:35 PM

@ 34, reports of Seattle hating kids are greatly exaggerated. It's more like Capitol Hill hates kids, along with other centers of young (or youngish) hipsters. So if that's an attraction for you, seek out one of those neighborhoods when you make your move, but be prepared for your cost of living to jump right through the roof. (Reason # 1008 for living between the coasts - hey, you can afford a home that's bigger than a cracker box.)

Posted by Matt from Denver | October 31, 2007 12:41 PM

#26: We also invented a time machine for our science fair. We're very crafty with technology (let me know if you need help setting up a Facebook).

Posted by jamier | October 31, 2007 12:46 PM

You and your wife seriously need to find a responsible babysitter or family member able to take care of your 7 year old for a night if you haven't been out to eat together in YEARS.

Posted by Megan W | October 31, 2007 1:16 PM

Way to go Dan! I'm single and I'm tired of having my dining out experiences ruined by badly behaved or crying children. It's not a matter of not being kid or dog friendly if you don't want kids or dogs in a bar or restaurant, it's a recognition of the fact that there are certain places where children and pets just don't belong.

Two things:

1) What are "devils on horseback". I've been to Smith's a few times and seen them on the menu but have never asked about what they are.

2) You have to tell us about the cake-licking incident at Septieme now. You can't just bring it up and then leave us hanging. Come on, being a parent means that you have to relate extremely embarrassing stories about your children's often times mortifying behavior.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | October 31, 2007 1:21 PM

Just Me @ 13

Hey, if you want to bring your kids into a place that is mainly for adults go ahead. Your kid starts to misbehave, ALL the adults in the place have a right to beat the kid's ass. God knows most parents will do nothing to stop their kids from acting like little shits. And we all know I am not joking.

You're awesome! If you don't have anything nice to say come sit by me.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | October 31, 2007 1:23 PM

@33 Alas... you got to the obvious Sharansky reference before I could! Drat!

Posted by bma | October 31, 2007 1:23 PM

@ 35: Yes, for me, that is reason # 1 (and only) I stay. My house is (relatively) huge and my monthly payment is (relatively) tiny. I like that.

Not sure how long that will outweigh the 587 reasons to leave.

Posted by Mike in MO | October 31, 2007 1:30 PM

I'm a gipster who likes kids, but I don't think every square inch of the planet needs to be kid friendly...I don't hang out at Chuck E Cheese and young kids, (8 and under) don't need to hang out at hip, urban bar/pubs...

but honestly, this is such a non-big deal....per capita, Capitol Hill has like, what, 1 kid for every 500 adults? I really don't see a horde of parents dragging their kids into a pseudo hip bar that serves such non-kid friendly food...I've only been annoyed by the presence of kids at one Cap Hill restaurant, Vios, in the nearly 6 years I've lived here and Vios is a restaurant that advertises itself as a 'family' restaurant, so the fault was entirely mine...

Besides, Capitol Hill kids are usually the children of aging hipsters and are usually smart, well behaved and very articulate. What you have to look out for, are the visitors from the 'burbs, and their slack jawed, ill behaved offspring...

Posted by michael strangeways | October 31, 2007 1:35 PM


Thanks Megan, but it's a lot more complicated than that. We'd need someone who knows how to handle it when he starts any self-injurous behavior first of all. Even then, he has his routines, somone would need to spend some time with us there to understand how he is and how to deal with how he is.

He's a brilliant kid mind you, and quite funny when you get used to his quirkiness, but he can be a handfull too.

Posted by Packratt | October 31, 2007 1:36 PM

Their Haunted Mansion theme has come full circle. Hope they add the stretching foyer room for people all the families that enter.

And consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows, and no doors... which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Posted by Gay Seattle | October 31, 2007 1:50 PM

Six Arms rocks, but all you wannabe hipsters can please keep avoiding it. Fnarf is welcome to stop by on Bring Your Own Bar Rag Night.

Posted by J.R. | October 31, 2007 1:56 PM

I like seeing well-behaved kids and well-behaved dogs around town. I just wish that when, inevitably, those well-behaved creatures slipped up, the adults responsible removed them from the scene. Immediately. It's good for your karma, it's good for their training, and it keeps kid and dog-tolerant places kid and dog tolerant. I hate to think what sort of person I would have become as an adult if the only places I'd gone as a kid were kid-friendly places of the chuck-e-cheese variety.

Posted by well socialized | October 31, 2007 2:06 PM

I'm from a small city in southern Brasil. Kids are everywhere and stay up later than kids here. My favorite place to listen to music and meet girls would have little kids sleeping on chairs and old people dancing along with young brasilians drinking and making out.
I think it's weird that there aren't more kids around. Bars are boring when it's just everybody at the same age! I think it's part of the reason why many americans aren't good dancers: because you have to learn how to dance and see dancing when you are little.

Posted by Jonas | October 31, 2007 2:21 PM

@47 - the notion of childfree life is pretty new and unusual, really. I mean, even in the US it was basically a given up until the 1970s or so that children would play a part in everyday life. Today, twentysomethings play out an extended adolescence in big cities (this is me too to some degree, I must admit) while kids are secluded off in suburban McMansions, where Mom keeps them away from the child molesters she thinks lurk behind every bush.

Posted by tsm | October 31, 2007 2:31 PM

And, actually, Ian likes Cafe Septieme - we've eaten there quite a few times. Although we tend to go to Thai and Indian places more often.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 31, 2007 2:32 PM

There was some shrieking baby at Remedy Tea on 15th the other day.

Instead of immediately getting up and leaving the room with the kid (which is what people should do when their kids start making noise in inappropriate places) Mom proceeds to change the kid's diaper right there at her table.

People like her make some of us shudder at the sight of kids pretty much anywhere.

And then there are the parents who let their kids run around, because if the kid can do whatever the fuck they want, they'll be "quiet" (except for the *smack*smack*smack*smack* of their itty bitty shoes on the polished concrete floor. . .hint: if a place has a polished concrete floor, it's for hipsters, not toddlers). Someday I'm going to strangle one of them with my laptop cord.

I think that all of the courteous parents in Seattle should take it upon themselves to be the Asshole Parents Police and say something to them, so we seething laptopping hipsters don't have to be bothered. :D

Posted by violet_dagrinder | October 31, 2007 2:47 PM


You give me a nice seque to comment on @13's post.

It's not the kids who should be roundly thrashed, but rather their their Troglodyte parents who deserve the beat-down.

In any case, kids in bars - well-behaved kids in bars - no problem. Oft-times they provide more interesting, intelligent, and amusing conversation than their parents anyway, probably because they're not drunk.

And Six Arms totally rocks - stickiness and all.

Posted by COMTE | October 31, 2007 3:33 PM

@51: So how do you deal with a problem parent?

Posted by Greg | October 31, 2007 4:57 PM

Smith SUCKS, and so now it will just suck MORE. It's near where a group I belong to has their meetings, so I get dragged there, but pretentious bad food, overly loud annoying and music and now children? This is what hell is like. And I LOVE the fact that there are some child-free zones in Seattle, because many (not all) parents tune out their little ones while the kids torture everyone else in proximity. And if you even ask the children nicely to go back to Mommy (sometimes to keep them safe) you get looked at like a rapist. I wish more places would keep them out.

Posted by Today I'm Edith | October 31, 2007 5:22 PM

Yes @53, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, "Nobody goes to Smith, it's too crowded."


My favorite ploy is to walk up to the parent and say to them in a low, serious tone, "you know, for $50 I'll show you a guaranteed way to make sure your child never acts out in public again." Then I smile.

That usually gets them heading straight for the nearest exit.

Posted by COMTE | October 31, 2007 6:25 PM

@50 Remedy Teas is not intended to be a child-free zone. The owners have a toddler and there's a small play area in one corner. That, of course, doesn't excuse parents for not taking their shreiking babies out of ear shot or for changing them anywhere other than the bathroom (which, unfortunately, doesn't have a changing table).

Posted by suresh | November 2, 2007 8:19 PM

The food at Smith is great...different...unusual..nothing like it on the hill. I really don't see that many kids going there to eat but if they do, these kids are going to be pretty cool hipsters in a few years. If the kids want to eat pigs feet let them eat feet, or head cheese for that matter.

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