Control your child, or don't eat here: Prague bistro clamps down on noisy kids

A Prague eatery's publication of several rules informing parents what their children cannot do has sparked debate online.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 29.03.2023 16:01:00 (updated on 29.03.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Dining out is meant to be a pleasurable experience, but the shouts and screams of young children can annoy even the most patient of guests. One Prague bistro has had enough and taken matters into its own hands.

Marthy’s Kitchen, a Czech chain of bistros found in Prague 2’s Vinohrady and Nové Město, last week published on Facebook seven points that informed parents of how they should look after their children. 

It has, perhaps unsurprisingly, sparked a range of reactions and discussion, garnering almost 6,000 likes.

No crayons, no running

In the post – beginning with “We love children, BUT...” – the bistro writes: “Most guests want to eat and relax with us, so we naturally protect the interests of the majority.” It also describes itself as “generally baby-unfriendly."

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One of the points reads that the bistro “is not equipped for children. We do not have a children’s corner, crayons, or changing table.” It reminds parents that changing babies’ diapers on the tables and chairs is prohibited.

Another instruction “urgently” asks parents to never let their children run around and get in the way of other staff. Guests are also asked to not obstruct the main dining hall with strollers (prams).

If you want to eat together with your child, you should be able to judge whether you can discipline them enough and adapt to our rules. We don't want your child to disturb other guests by screaming, crying, or running around. 

Marthy's Kitchen

The bistro also specifically instructs children to keep their shoes off chairs and not leave leftover food on seats.

Should parents fail to supervise a child and he or she breaks something, “an apology and an offer to make amends or possibly pay for the damage” is appropriate, Marthy’s Kitchen writes.

If all rules are taken into account and followed, parents and their children are “most welcome” to the bistro.

CNN Prima reached out to Marthy’s Kitchen owner Martin Petrák. He said that the post was written “spontaneously and authentically after long-term experiences with some guests.”

According to Petrák, it is clear from the context of the post that the business is not hostile to children and parents – but only to a certain type of behavior. 

Are restaurants right to introduce restrictions on children's behavior?

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Mixed reactions

The announcement drew a range of responses. One commenter was in favor of the guidelines, writing “your business, your rules.” Another wrote that “eating at a restaurant in peace without ‘child harassment’ is almost impossible.”

One person described that it was “common abroad” to find non-child restaurants, but they were a rarity in Czechia. Several simply wrote comments of agreement, signifying “respect.” 

Not everyone was in favor, though. “Until which age do you consider a person to be a child?” asked one person. Another point raised was that adults and elderly people can also often be loud and/or make a mess.

Another commenter – who said they frequented the eatery – said that the tone of the post was unnecessarily “aggressive” and “inappropriate.” Another simply wrote: “I'm always a little sad when I see this Czech hostility towards children.” 

Data from 2019 shows that there are over a million children below the age of 10 living in Czechia – this figure has substantially grown since then. 

The announcement by Marthy’s Kitchen has shown that some establishments’ patience with noisy children is wearing thin. Time will tell if others follow suit, which could potentially affect hundreds of thousands of families in the country.

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