Stinkeye, curfews, bans – parents get it all when their children lose it in restaurants and public places.
Last year, AirAsia introduced “quiet zones” on their flights, relegating guests under 12 to the back of the plane, right next to the loo. Before that, a Brooklyn beer garden banned kids by instituting a 4 p.m. curfew. At another restaurant in North Carolina, a notice read simply: “Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated!”
Well, British parents know where they’re not wanted: Some are now shelling out $920 annually for a spot at Maggie & Rose, Britain’s first private members’ family club, open exclusively to people with children.
“What do you do with a love of children and a hatred of places to take them? Set up a private members’ kids club,” reads the Telegraph story. “It’s a place where parents can relax whilst children can play and learn to their hearts content,” reads the tagline on the club’s website.
It sure isn’t Chuck E. Cheese’s: With nary a mottled mouse in sight, this private club lets adults feel like adults, without the glare of other “child-free” patrons. The two locations in West London are well appointed with trendy light fixtures and reclaimed wood, as well as a café and “alfresco dining roof terrace.”
The kids get a ball pool, “play huts” and parties, as well as cooking, gardening, dance, art and music classes. So far, 250 members have joined, writes the Telegraph’s Beverley Turner, among them parents, grandparents and caregivers. Maggie Bolger, a 34-year-old mother of four, co-founded the club because she was staring down the “monotony of motherhood” alone and “had a love of kids but a hatred of the places to take them: draughty town halls, rainy parks or anti-children coffee shops,” Turner writes.
The journalist denies this is an “elitist enclave,” but rather a place where anti-child snark isn’t permitted entry.
A less exclusive equivalent in Canada might be Bunch Family in Toronto, which hosts events such as dance parties in settings usually frequented only by adult yuppies: “We create insanely fun family experiences that turn city culture into a family playground,” reads their tagline on Twitter.
Does Canada need private clubs for urban families with young kids?