Odd Seating Arrangments

Published 10 years, 9 months ago

This evening, we decided to cap off the weekend with dinner out.  Carolyn was in the mood for french fries, and the rest of us were looking for decent dinner fare, so we decided to hit Brennan’s Colony.  This is one of the more fascinating restaurants on our side of town.  From both the outside and the inside, it looks like a low- to middle-rent bar, all uncushioned wood benches and odd angles and dimmish lighting.  The baseline menu is burgers and fried food at very affordable prices.

And then you get the dinner menu, and you wonder from which other restaurant they swiped their menu.  Chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese in a bearnaise reduction, or words to that effect.  Mint-crusted New Zealand rack of lamb.  Et cetera.  It is, to use a word I picked up on my last trip to Ye Jolly Olde Englande, a gastropub, only with really good food.

We hadn’t gone for a while because, being a bar, smoking was permitted, and while they had an area labeled “No Smoking” it was about as effective as setting up a ring of buoys just offshore and marking that area “No Water”.  We used to go every now and again in olden days, but after Carolyn’s arrival, it was stricken from our dining list for the obvious health reasons.  However, Ohio voters passed an indoor smoking ban late last year, so we could once again eat and breathe.  Everybody woohoo!

Only when we arrived and asked for a table on their newly opened outdoor patio, we were told Carolyn wasn’t old enough to be seated there.  We could eat indoors, but the patio was off-limits to anyone under the age of eighteen.  This baffled us just a little all by itself, and then we turned around to behold a pre-teen boy sitting at the bar, eating a sandwich and drinking a Coke.  At least we hoped it was a Coke.

We brought this oddity (and, if I’m not mistaken, violation of Ohio state law) to the staff’s attention, and were told that he was seated there because they were so busy.  But no kids on the patio!  No no!  That would be, um, whatever they feared would come of allowing children to eat at an outdoor table.  The apocalypse, no doubt.

So we ate at The Tavern Company a little way down the street, where they were more than happy to have us sit wherever we liked, indoors or out—the presence of a smallish, well-behaved child notwithstanding.

I think we’ll keep to that seating arrangement for as long as the policy at Brennan’s remains.


  1. Brennan’s policy is pretty common. I ate there a few weeks ago and noted it’s discrepancy. According to the law, they can’t allow smoking on the premises and in an attempt to skirt the law, they permit smoking on the patio.

    I ate on the patio. I was wholeheartedly disappointed. The sheer volume of smoke was incredible. Add a noise factor that was amazing and it was a very dissatisfying meal.

  2. Not letting Carolyn sit with her parents on the patio is being a little priggish, in my mind; they have no business deciding for parents how they want to raise their children (and I say this not having dined at Brennan’s — although my bride & I have discussed it — it’s fairly close to us).

    I just hope they get the message from your post and reconsider; I hear their food is pretty good.

  3. Perhaps you could buy them the complete works of Seth Godin, and they’d get a clue.

    I long ago accepted that my children weren’t welcomed everywhere I was, simply because of the children who came before them. The fact that mine will sit still, be quiet on command, and generally not make a nuisance of themselves, doesn’t enter into the picture. (Godin refers to treating all your customers like criminals because one of them might be.)

    One of the few times this was handled correctly was years ago when my oldest went to his first musical event in public: solo viola in a small auditorium. As we walked in, one of the museum docents pointed out that if the 18-month old was noisy we’d be asked to take him out. We simply thanked her, knowing that if he was noisy, we wouldn’t have to be asked.

    He was so silent that when we took him to meet the performer afterwards, she was astonished that there’d been a small child in such a small audience and she didn’t even realize it.

    Yeah, I go places my current little one can go with me, whenever I can. Too bad a restaurant with great food can still manage to make themselves distasteful.

  4. Well, that’s what you get for living on the east side. Us west-siders aren’t so uppity.

    (kidding!)

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