You’ve survived the nine grueling (but rewarding) months of pregnancy, picked a baby name you love and DIYed a dreamy baby room. Now it’s time for the real challenge. Whether it’s your first kid or your fifth, it can be incredibly difficult to balance nurturing your newbie with having some much needed post-pregnancy me time. But where exactly is it socially acceptable to unwind with a newborn? Parents across the web have widely debated almost everything kids-related, from taking kids on flights to finding a place to breastfeed on the go. Today, we’re discussing the hot topic issue of whether or not it’s it safe to bring a baby to a bar. That’s right — a full-fledged, alcohol-serving watering hole.

baby in bar

Type, “Is it safe to bring a baby to a bar?” into a search engine, and you’ll find that everyone from mommy bloggers to national newspaper chains to angry Twitter users have put in their two cents on the babies-in-bars debate. But it’s also quite clear that there are two sides to this argument: Those who are strongly in favor of a parent’s right to decide where to bring their newborn and those who believe that bars should be reserved for adult patrons only.

Side No. 1: Babies shouldn’t be in bars.

One person who opposes the idea of bringing munchkins to the pub is Dave Infante, frequent bar attender and senior writer for Thrillist. “Contrary to what you may have heard about ‘rules,’ [bringing your baby to a bar] is unacceptable under any circumstance,” writes Dave in a viral NSFW article that cites two main arguments. First, most people at a bar are mildly to extremely intoxicated, making their judgement iffy at best. There’s always going to be a certain level of inherent danger by bringing a baby into an environment where people aren’t fully conscious of their decision making.

The second point has more to do with vibe than anything else. Dave says bars exist as a place for adult-only entertainment — whether that’s to unwind after a stressful day at work with a pint or two or to meet a few new friends in an environment where an occasional f-bomb here and there is totally acceptable. A screaming tot in an over-crowded bar completely changes the atmosphere.

Side No. 2: Parents are allowed to make decisions on where to take their babies.

There are many parents and parenting experts who say a parent has the right to make safety decisions about their child, regardless of how popular their decision might be with the surrounding crowd. As a career bartender and tiny tot mother, Maria Guido strongly believes that parents should be allowed to take their kids to the bar. “There’s nothing wrong with a parent wearing a baby in a carrier into a place that serves drinks during normal daylight hours to grab a beer — if that parent can practice common sense and leave if the baby starts crying or gets fussy,” says the Mommish blogger. Many commenters agreed that a “common sense” approach to taking your kid to a bar is the only way it works.

Mother and son cafe

At the end of the day, it’s up to the parent. If they feel it’s safe enough to bring their baby to a bar, then they totally can, no matter what other bar patrons have to say about it. Sure, you might get a few double-looks or Sweet Home Alabama insults (“You have a baby… in a bar”) but it’s your right as a parent to make that decision. If you’re thinking about bringing your tot along the next time you grab a brew, check out these expert tips to make your next mommy-or-daddy-and-me outing a success.

5 tips for bringing your baby to a bar

1. Find the right bar before you go. Although most areas and bars are okay with bringing a baby in, there are some places that just aren’t all that kid-friendly. Talk to your friends or check out some local parenting blogs to find a place that’s right for both you and your tot.

2. Avoid going to a bar at night or during peak hours. Loud music and packed crowds will definitely make for a fussy baby — and for unhappy guests. Stick to less crowded times like brunch and midday to avoid the noise.

3. Ditch the chunky stroller. Both sides of the babies-in-bars debate agree that strollers are a nuisance in a tightly packed bar. Try bringing a baby carrier instead.

4. Don’t go near the smoking section. Okay — we know this one is obvious, but bear with us. Second-hand smoke is terrible for everyone, including a baby. If possible, choose a bar that doesn’t allow indoor smoking or avoid the smoking section at all costs.

5. Make sure you plan your day accordingly. If you’re taking your baby to a bar by yourself, make sure you have all the basics covered: You’ve told someone where you are, know and stick to your alcohol limit and have set up a safe ride home.

Do you think babies should be allowed in bars? Tweet us your comments by mentioning @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)