Parents! What is the best thing you can think of? A lie in followed by breakfast in bed? A day on the sofa watching box sets of The Killing? A tropical beach with a personal babysitter?
Well, wait just a minute because I’ve discovered something that betters all of that (well, almost). I’ve discovered a brilliant pub… that has an equally brilliant kids’ playroom. A pub! With a playroom!
And before your mind conjours up an image of a dingy dark drinking den that smells of feet, with a dirty backroom filled with old, tatty toys, let me describe it to you. The Florence in Herne Hill is a pretty decent pub even for non-parents (let’s call them ‘normals’). When I was a normal, I visited The Florence a few times and loved its laid-back feel, the raised up booths in the front section, the pub dog that lolloped around and the fantastic roast dinners on a Sunday. It’s the kind of place you’d meet friends at 2pm and before you know it, it’s 8pm and you have no idea where the afternoon went.
The genius thing about this pub is that the front section is inhabited by the normals, and the back section and conservatory houses families, meaning that it’s a relief for parents to be sitting with other families who won’t mind when your child bangs their spoon repeatedly on the table, or throws a breadstick in their general direction.
But last weekend – on my first visit to The Florence with a child – I discovered its true brilliance. The playroom.
Lovely clean toys! Lots of space! Two flatscreen TVs showing kids’ programmes! A baby-change room! It’s actual kid heaven. But remember, people, it’s in a pub. Which means you can go meet friends, have your roast dinner and a couple of white wine spritzers, and then when your child gets bored of throwing breadsticks at the neighbouring table,
you can take them your partner can take them into the playroom to burn off some energy. It’s win win!
Are there any child-friendly pubs near you, dear reader? Comment below, and spread the love.