Landlady BANS children under 12 because they 'can't socially distance'

Landlady BANS children under 12 from her pub because they ‘can’t socially distance’ and parents are ‘failing to discipline them’ as she faces boycott from regulars

  • Pub landlady Lucy Draper has banned children under 12 at the Compass Inn pub in New Forest, Southampton, at all times except during lunchtime on Sundays
  • The 67-year-old says she has dealt with complaints about boisterous children and, during the coronavirus pandemic, some seem unable to socially distance 
  • News was met with criticism on social media as some labelled it short-sighted 

A defiant landlady is facing the wrath of irate locals after announcing the pub was to be ‘adults only’ – banning under 12s to save the boozer from being ‘a creche’.

Lucy Draper announced her new no-child policy on The Compass Inn’s Facebook page yesterday as she banned youngsters from entering any time except Sunday lunchtimes.

However the move has been branded ‘inconsiderate’ and ‘ridiculous’ as hundreds of customers took to social media to declare they would now boycott the establishment.

Some regular customers of the pub in New Forest, Southampton, claimed it was a big blow for kids with Coeliac disease, as the venue was seen by many as the area’s ‘only gluten-free pub’.

Lucy Draper with Jack Russell Boris outside the Compass Inn where she has decided to ban children under 12 over concerns about ‘unruly’ kids not following social distancing measures

The 67-year-old has hit back at criticism, claiming her pub is an ‘adult environment’ and she’s ‘had enough’ of kids behaving badly and ignoring social distancing rules’. 

As of yesterday, families with children are only allowed into the pub at 12pm and 2.30pm on Sundays and she insists she doesn’t plan on reversing her ban when the pandemic eases.

Lucy said: ‘It’s their parents’ fault. They just don’t discipline them, so 75 per cent of the children that come in now, they’re screaming and running around and not sitting at tables.

‘Families will come in here around 5 o’clock after their children have been in the park all day long and they’re hyper. They should be taken home to bed. 

‘It’s a great shame I’ve had to do it for some people, because we get quite a few nice children that have the allergy and I feel sorry for them.

‘Especially with Covid now, everyone has to be seated in the pub, but they’re not, and that’s just brought it to a head and I’ve had enough.’

Lucy, 67, says she has had to deal with complaints from customers and reviews online from disgruntled patrons who had to leave due to poorly behaved children running round the pub

Lucy, known as Mop to locals, added she’s even had Tripadvisor reviews from disgruntled customers who complained they had to leave due to poorly behaved children.

The pub, which employs 12 staff, has three small rooms and can seat up to 35 people, with an extra 35 seats in the garden area.

She claims she’s always held the view that children should stay well-behaved and seated, and in the past she’s put up notices saying she’ll remove families with rowdy kids.

Lucy, who has been a landlady for 25 years, thinks business could take a hit in the short-term but will pick back up again when locals feel the benefit of the boozer being child-free.

She insists customers she’s spoken to in person are pleased with the move and those with children have been ‘understanding’, despite it being widely criticised online.

The viral post said: ‘From today, September 1, we are predominantly an adult-only premises.

‘Children over 12 are permitted to dine on any date at any time, but children under 12 are only permitted at our 12pm and 2.30pm sittings.

The news was met with mixed reaction online as some criticised the ban as discriminatory and short-sighted while others praised the decision and called for more pubs to follow suit

Jade Browne commented: ‘This is absolutely ridiculous! You do know there’s such a thing as coeliac children? So they miss out so all the ‘adults’ can have somewhere nice to go?

‘Terrible trading move! And the inconsideration to the children is appalling!

‘Don’t you think kids have suffered enough! Now being outcast and no there’s not lots of places that cater for our coeliac children! You are about to lose a lot of customers! Bad move.’

Ray Avery vented: ‘So you’ve been happily taking families’ money for years, but now you ridicule them. I bet you took their money on the eat out to help out scheme. Bloody jokers.’

Matthew Tomlin said: ‘That’s one way to decrease your custom and upset an awful lot of people. My wife is coeliac and we have two young children.

‘We’ve seen good reviews of the pub and have thought about making the trip. Not now, nor ever actually.’

Greg Walker said: ‘Wow. What a massive shame.

‘We’ve been regular customers for the past few years and only visited last week with my well behaved seven-year-old who sat nicely, didn’t run around, said please and thank you to the staff, and said thank you and goodbye when we left.

‘I’d say see you in five years when she’s 12, but not sure I’ll bother.’

Philippa Murrell added: ‘I have always recommended this pub for the excellent food. I’m completely shocked at your stuffy arrogance to make this decision.

‘Not even a u turn on your decision would make me want to return now.’

The pub, which employs 12 staff, has three small rooms and can seat up to 35 people, with an extra 35 seats in the garden area and has been 100 per cent gluten-free for the past five years

Lucy lives on her own and has five grandchildren, but they are all over 18, so they won’t be banned from visiting her while she’s at her pub and not at her second home in Exmoor, Somerset.

The Compass Inn has been 100 per cent gluten-free for the past five years and Lucy has had a gluten intolerance for the past 30 years.

In response to the criticism, she claims she faced similar complaints in the past but thinks parents should take their boisterous kids to a more suitable pub in future, while gluten intolerant kids can visit on Sundays.

Lucy said: ‘I know it’s going to upset some people, and I can see that on Facebook.

‘It’s just gone too far on there and it’s just ridiculous. I’m not reading all the hundreds of comments or whatever it is.

‘We’ve had a lot of reviews saying ‘she’s not child-friendly’, ‘she won’t let children be children’, well no they shouldn’t be children in the pub.

‘This pub is an adult environment. It shouldn’t be a children’s creche and most of my regulars are there every day or two to three times per week just for a quiet drink or meal.

The Compass Inn, in New Forest, is one of 11 pubs in a square mile Lucy says there’s probably four chain pubs that would be more appropriate for families to take their children to for food

‘We’ve never supplied high chairs, and we’ve never promoted children because we’re an old-fashioned country pub, not one of those fancy chains with a nice family room. 

‘I understand that we’re number one for gluten-free in the area, but I have made sure there’s a time for families to come on a Sunday and I hope they do still come in.’

Some defended her decision on Facebook, claiming it was a good move for the pub to demand some much-needed peace and quiet.

Alison Bridge said: ‘The compass is a traditional pub and it’s lovely to have somewhere that adults can have a relaxing meal.

‘There are so many family pubs that welcome children and GF is being catered for widely now. Not everyone wants to go to a pub with children. It’s nice to have somewhere relaxing to go.’

Sabrina Lianne Harris said: ‘Good move, any locals will know you’re full with adults so it’s not like this is going to affect your business.

‘We need more mostly adults only places, it’s nice to know poorly behaved kids won’t be ruining our meal. Especially with covid, where they go from annoying to potentially dangerous.’

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