August 17, 2018
A German Restaurant Has Banned All Children Under 14, No Questions Asked

A German restaurant has closed the door (so to speak) on allowing children within its doors, causing outrage among some parents in the community and getting support from diners who want a quiet experience.

As the English-language edition of Die Welt ("The World") reports, restaurant owner Rudolf Markl is up to here with unruly children, and will not allow kids under 14 in the building for dinner.

"We have somehow reached that point where you say: This just can't go on like this."
The owner of "Oma's Küche" (Grandma's Kitchen) says that parents bring their children into the restaurant, and then just blissfully eat while the little ones wreak havoc. Throwing wine glasses, bugging other patrons, pulling on tablecloths - the list goes on.
"[The parents] acknowledge it with a smile, keep on eating, and don't care at all."
The final straw, says Markl, is when some unruly kids damaged an antique photograph. After that, he says, he decided that kids would no longer be welcome in the restaurant on the German Baltic Sea island of Rügen. The ban applies only to the restaurant's dinner service, after 5:00 p.m., however.

According to The Independent, the ban on children has gotten mixed reviews (so to speak). Some Germans considered it "heartless," for example.

The German government may also want a word. Bernhard Frank, a spokesperson for Germany's Anti-discrimination Office, says that German law bans age discrimination.
"The arguments such as the higher noise level that would disturb the guests are not necessarily enough for a wholesale ban on children below a certain age."
Although the German government doesn't appear to have taken any action - yet - Frank warns that Markl could be open to a lawsuit from upset parents.

Similarly, Lars Schwarz, the head of the Hotel and Restaurant Association in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which includes Rügen, says that Markl's decision is "unfriendly."

"In this state we aim to be friendly to children."
Markl, for his part, says the ban on kids has been welcomed by his patrons, who call his restaurant "an oasis of peace." He also says that he has no trouble filling tables, so if his ban has upset some people, it hasn't affected his business.

The ban on children isn't the only controversial decision Markl has made - and survived. In 2007, he banned smoking, long before German states started implementing their own smoking bans. Sure enough, smokers either stayed away or put down their butts long enough for a meal, and Oma's Küche continued to do a booming business.