And when her tot acts up? She has a plan for that, too. “As soon as he starts to cry, I get up because that’s the worst. Hearing a kid screaming isn’t pleasant for anybody. As a parent, your blood is boiling because everyone’s staring at you. A full-on meltdown hasn’t happened with my son yet -- knock on wood -- but if it does, I’d get up and leave or take him for a walk outside.”
It’s all about that insider network
And for parents like Willner, it’s never been easier to gauge where’s a great place to take her kid. She’s plugged into a robust network of like-minded parents who want to partake in Philly’s thriving restaurant scene. Email listservs and secret Facebook groups share their experiences out on the town.
“There’s a secret underground of Philly moms, and they talk about where they have good and bad experiences,” Willner said. “The list suggests places that are nice to young families.”
She gives props to Bing Bing, Whetstone Tavern, and Santucci’s for making it easy for families like hers. “Bing Bing is awesome. They have a kids’ noodle dish, kid chopsticks, highchairs, and coloring books. It’s wonderful.” With so many ways to share information, parents can be more nimble as they navigate the dining scene. She also credits Yelp as a valuable resource -- it has a 'Good for kids' category in businesses' info sections.
If you’re a parent and you’re not sure if you should bring your little one into Philly’s bar scene, Willner says you should absolutely go for it. “Start young so your kids are comfortable being out. But, yes, do it! If you’re unsure whether the place is kid-friendly, call ahead. But yes, by all means, take your kids out.”
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Anna Goldfarb is author of the humor memoir, Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through, and believes if babies can go to bars, adults should spend more time napping and eating snacks. It's only fair. You can follow her: @MsAnnaGoldfarb.