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Is it acceptable to bring a child in for tapas?

Is it acceptable to bring a child in for tapas?

Nov 21st, 2006, 06:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Is it acceptable to bring a child in for tapas?


My husband & I along with our 4 year old son will be spending 5 days in Madrid this coming week. We'd love to try out some tapas restaurants but from what I've read it seems like they're all tapas bars. Is this correct? Is it acceptable in the Spainish culture to bring children for Tapas?

I've checked out Maribel's site and have found many tapas places that look wonderful but wasn't sure if bringing children was acceptable. Any information or recommendations would be extremely helpful.

Thank you!
javacurls is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 07:03 AM
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Although I've not traveled to Spain w/my children, I doubt that it is very different from a Cafe in Paris or Rome. If you are uncomfortable you can always ask or seek out establishments where there are other children present.
SAnParis is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 07:18 AM
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I'm not sure if there are actually regulations about children in the tapas bars.

You might want to bear in mind two things. Most tapas bars I've been to tend to have not so comfy seats, mostly bar stools. Also, dinner time in Spain is usually 10pm afterwards (OK cocktails/tapas after 8 or 9pm). Dunno how this fits into the bedtime for your son.

While I don't really remember seeing young children at tapas bars in the evenings, I think it should be more acceptable if you try them for lunches.
W9London is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 08:01 AM
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Since dinner is served so late in Spain I thought Tapas would hold my son over until dinnertime.

My son definitely has the Spanish blood running through him! He is quite the night owl even at this young age! hahha But I really like your idea about doing Tapas for lunch. I didn't realize this was an option. I feel more comfortable with this suggestion. Thank you W9London!
javacurls is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 08:14 AM
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You may get a few funny looks from the locals, that's all.
Dukey is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 08:14 AM
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I don't think you'll have a problem. Children are welcome everywhere, only that smoking is permitted in many small places, and that may not suit you.
I live in Spain and sincerely, I had never thought about it!
josele is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 08:21 AM
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In most areas in Spain, kids will be welcomed easily. Whether it's full meals or just having tapas, the kids are part of the life.

Kids are allowed in bars even later than midnight. The discos, which open after midnight, are allowed to entry and the prices increase at 3:00 am-the kids are allowed free entry.

So, the kids will be as awailable as you in Madrid.

I had a friend from Sweden and she brought her daughter along to the resaurant. They took care of the daughter all of the evening while we had dinner. Kids are kings and queens in Spain.

blackduff is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 08:32 AM
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Until recently there was no problem in bringing children to any kind of bar or restaurant, serving and drinking Alcohol is anyway limited to over 18 years old. But the new smoking regulation between other things limits the age to over 18 in smoking allowed bars. If the bar cannot have a separated smoking area then they have to decide wheter they are a smoking or non smoking place, obviously in the first place children are not allowed.
Now this is what the law says but children normaly accompanied by adults have being going to bars in spain for centuries, so this new law is not really followed and it is your responsability to bring him or not to a smoking place.
But it could happen that you are told in a smoking bar that children are not allowed. I have never ever even heard of this, but as said the law is new and in this case you will have to accept it.
car is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 08:53 AM
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Totally disagree with the comment about getting funny looks from the locals. You'll soon find out this is such a non-issue in Spain. You will probably be the one shocked to see young children at 11pm at restaurants, quite common. I do agree the sitting accomodations are a practical issue to think about. If this was good weather, you could always sit outside, but Nov/Dec weather you may be stucked inside with plenty smoke. That would be my concern. Also, there is always the "bocadillos" or grilled cheese sandwiches (kind of) which you can order for your son. Tapas are often intended to go with alcohol, hence the saltiness/garlic/ grease. Not sure they will be a lot of choices for a 4 yr. old palate! have fun, Spain is such a wonderful destination!!
Viajero2 is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 09:10 AM
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Sorry...I stand corrected. Although in all my years in bars in Spain I did not see that many four-year olds...perhaps it is the type of bars I was hanging out in.
Dukey is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 09:37 AM
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I never saw children in bars, either, but the tapas bars I saw (near Santa Cruz area in Seville) were fairly "lively" shall we do and generally full of young people.

I don't remember about Madrid, but I have been in what is more a cafe or restaurant than a bar (although they would serve drinks like any restaurant/cafe) and there certainly were tapas restaurants in Seville. At least several places near my hotel definitely had lots of tapas on the menus, in addition to regular meals, and you could easily eat there in early evening and just have tapas.
Christina is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 09:38 AM
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Spanish cultural is more family orientated then most, especially when compared to the States. Young children generally go everywhere their parents go, at all times of the day and night and having children present in a tapas/pintxos bars isn't unusual. There are a number of locations where you won't find children because they are out doing something else, but since having tapas is a social activity, a time when you meet with friends and family, having children around is not unusual. Also remember that you do not spend that much time in a tapas bar. People generally visit more then one during an evening walk, have a tapa and wine, or beer, and move on to the next place.
Robert2533 is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 09:45 AM
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As for the food, you definitely would find something that would be appealing (ie not too spicy). Common dishes include potato/onion omlettes pieces (tortilla), garlic sauteed mushrooms, some fried or marinated seafood, meat in mini skewers, you even get potato salad.
W9London is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 03:23 PM
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We did a tapas crawl several years ago with our children 7 and 10. The kids really didn't want to do this but I cajoled them and they really enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to try lots of different dishes. I did not notice any curious looks at all and we visited many little tapas bars. I do remember that it was not terribly late and we generally sampled the specialties of each establishment and moved on.
milliebz is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 03:41 PM
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You will have no problem. Children have the right of way here.

I regularly see children in restaurants/bars after midnight (even 1 or 2 am). Not all places are smoke-free...those that aren't are now even smokier than they would have been before the new law went into effect.

I wouldn't subject children to smoke, but I have seen plenty of parents that do here.

Point is that it is perfectly acceptable and you will not get strange looks from the locals!
soleil17 is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 04:51 PM
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Like most of the others have said, it's a non issue. I lived in Granada for a year and regularly saw young children out in the bars well after midnight, even smoky ones (which I don't agree with, but it happens). I remember on one occasion in a smoke filled bar full of dreadlocked hippies at around 1am, one woman gave me her baby to hold as she went to the bathroom, and nobody was thinking she was an unfit parent. It's just a whole different culture.
mariposa85 is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 05:27 PM
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Those who posted, "Children rule in Spain" has it right. I think it's a wonderful philosophy.

A couple of years ago, we went into Hard Rock for a Sunday lunch. The hostess addressed me in English, and I decided that we'd go somewhere else. So we went to the next restaurant north of Hard Rock, great very thin pizza and sinful salads. The table next to us was grandma with two married sons. One had four children; the other, none. The children were a showpiece of this philosophy. Well dressed, they were entertainment to us. Now I think most American parents would have taken them to task somewhere only the high jinks, but I believe only the waiter was frustrated but not overtly.
holakjs is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 05:44 PM
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The Spanish are the most family-friendly people in Europe. You will probably have a free dinner.
weber6560 is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 11:30 PM
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One time in Taos NM, when our daughters were 3 and 5, I stopped a couple on the street and asked them if they knew where the tapas bar was. They looked shocked, and we eventually figured out they thought we were out looking for a topless bar with our young children. (not that naked females would have shocked our babies.)

The tapas place was closed, so I can't add to the discussion in a meaningful way.
stokebailey is offline  

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