Limited understanding of laws regarding kids in restaurant bars frustrating

Every bar and restaurant owner knows, or should know, that a 13-year-old can’t walk into an establishment and belly up to the bar to order a drink.

But rules in local establishments regarding children who, with their parents, visit local restaurants that have bars are about as clear as an extra dirty martini.

State statutes indicate that no person under the age of 18 is allowed to be in the room or rooms where alcoholic or malt beverages are dispensed.

Also, no person under 18 can remain in the rooms where alcoholic beverages are being sold unless:

• the minor is accompanied by his parent or guardian who is at least 18 years old and the room is for the sale of off-premises consumption and separate from rooms utilized for on-premises consumption.

• with the approval of the local licensing authority in a dining or waiting area with an adult not later than 10 p.m. if the dining or waiting area is part of the licensed room.

• when the licensed room or rooms are not open for the sale or dispensing of alcoholic or malt beverages, employees of the establishment under the age of 18 may be permitted in the course of their employment to work in the rooms.

Easy, right?

Then why do some local restaurants allow you to be seated with a child in a “bar” area and others do not.

According to the city clerk’s office, the city of Sheridan is the local liquor licensing authority and the city does not have any law that prohibits minors from being seated in dining or waiting areas where alcohol is served as long as it is before 10 p.m.

Sure, many would argue that nobody wants to enjoy a beer or martini while a baby is crying at the high-top bar table next to them.

And, it is every restaurants’ choice on whether or not to allow children in their establishment.

But, a lack of consistency can be extremely frustrating to parents who simply want to find a bite to eat.

When customers are refused service is it really because of the law?

Is it because those making the decisions misunderstand the laws?

Or, is it simply because the establishment or its employees don’t want to deal with children?

No matter the reason, the frustration is enough for anyone to want a cold one.

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