A NEW Forest pub has divided opinion after calling time on young children and becoming an “adults only” establishment.
The Compass Inn, in Winsor, announced the new rule had come in from Tuesday, saying only youngsters aged 12 and over would be allowed in – apart from Sunday lunch when smaller children would be admitted.
The Winsor Road pub’s website said: “As from Tuesday 1st September, adults only (well behaved teenagers accepted).
“Families with young children can book a table on Sunday lunchtime only.”
The new policy is from landlady Mop Draper, who has run the watering hole for 25 years and – in contrast to her attitude to children – claims it to be “the most dog-friendly pub in the New Forest”.
Ms Draper told the A&T she was “sad” to take the decision but that “parents of a few unruly children had spoilt it for the majority”.
She said: “We are a tiny pub, and when you have screaming children in here it can be utterly unbearable. We are very close to Paultons Park and we often get families in after a day there, and their kids are just exhausted so they start playing up.
“It spoils it for everyone. We have never promoted the pub as being a children-friendly one. There are hundreds of others they can go to.”
The Compass Inn offers a gluten-free menu and Ms Draper said she felt “very sorry” for children with allergies who would no longer be able to eat there.
She said: “It is really getting to me, actually, because some of them have been absolutely horrible, calling me scum and all sorts. The stupid thing is a lot of the comments are from people who have never actually been in the pub so don’t realise how small we are.”
Ms Draper said coronavirus restrictions had also been a factor, saying: “I have lost count of the number of times we have had to ask parents to keep their children seated to maintain social distancing. Lots of them just let them wander all over the place which we are not allowed to let them do at the moment.”
Until recently children were not allowed at the pub after 8pm but now it has gone further by banning them altogether.
A sign outside the hostelry, which describes itself as an “old fashioned traditional pub”, states: “Dogs welcome, children should be leashed.”
The new approach divided people on social media, with one mother revealing on a review website how she was asked to leave during a family dinner after her toddler began crying.
Another said she had stopped going because of the way her “well-behaved” children were treated.
Another said: “Other pubs must be welcoming this news as it will give them more customers. We will go and eat where our grandchildren are welcomed.”
However, one commenter said the inn was entitled to impose the ban, saying: “Not everyone has to like children. You never struggle to find places that you can take kids, like you do with dogs. It’s nice to finally have a dog-friendly place to go.”