Storm in a coffee cup as Dalston café cracks down on mothers and babies in Nappy Valley N1

A NOTICE warning adults about child behaviour in a North London coffee shop beloved of young mummies and nannies has caused turmoil. Accusations such as “riot”, “daft” and “reactionary” are being made since the sign was posted in Tina, We Salute You (TWSY), a genteel coffee bar-restaurant in King Henry’s Walk, near a  playground  in the Mildmay area of Islington N1.

The notice asks customers to take more care of their children when they visit.

One patron said on the café’s Facebook page that there “seems to be a ‘riot’ down at old Tina’s… maybe I’ll just avoid taking my little horror there”. Another questioned the posting of “a stern warning to a certain few”.

Steve Hawkes, co-owner, described comments on TWSY’s Facebook page as mostly “reactionary” and “occasionally a bit daft”.

He told Loving Dalston: “Cafés are in the business of providing a great space where customers can eat, drink, talk and be comfortable. A small element of parents who visit Tina’s seems to regard it as a crèche with a café attached.

“As an ex primary school teacher I am well able to recognise unacceptable behaviour but don’t feel it is my job, or my staff’s, to tolerate or challenge this when it occurs in the café. The small minority of parents we have referred to should recognise that their child is being disruptive and should ‘parent’ accordingly.”

A local resident who gave her name as Andrea S told Loving Dalston: “The mixed messages Tina’s is publicising sit very poorly with me. On one hand, you have their Facebook thread which shows concern for ‘uncontrolled children ruining their ambience’.

“On the other, you have the in-shop signage that relates to health and safety. Why the discrepancy? Are they concerned with ambience or scalding? The tone of their FB comment leads me to believe the former. The tone of the responses reiterates this. My own response is to question whether or not I’m really welcome — even with well-behaved children – to get a coffee there.”

Tina’s notice was adapted from a sign posted at the Lauriston, a Victoria Park pub-restaurant. Hawkes said: “Perhaps a revolution is sweeping the streets of East London.”

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* The café moved to 2 Olympic Park Avenue, East Village E20 1FT, as Tina E20.

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11 thoughts on “Storm in a coffee cup as Dalston café cracks down on mothers and babies in Nappy Valley N1

  1. A major cringe factor during our annual extended visits back to the UK is the lack of control exercised by too many parents (mainly the poor old single mums) over their charges in public — not something that is a worry here in the USA. Lack of thoughtfulness or concern for others around these mothers is turned into a blame game as they deftly argue their way out of fault into victimhood. A proper understanding of manners and respect seems to elude them — knowing what is appropriate escapes them. There are parents — and parents, resulting in, there are children — and children.
    From what I read, I think the Tina team deserve all the support they can get. After all, they are waiters, not correctional officers.
    MWR, San Diego, California

  2. Local Dad: If Tina’s were next door to a kennel, would they be expected to let dogs in to run around, bark, hump people’s legs and defecate everywhere?
    And, yes, I realise I’m comparing your little darlings to dogs. It’s highly unfair to the dogs, many of which are much better behaved than many people’s offspring.
    Also, I cry my eyes out at your having to wait “ten whole minutes” for coffee. You poor thing.

    1. If b.g. is indicative of the clientele at TWSY I’m very glad I stopped going there. [Dear readers, I don’t want to seem stuffy, but that’s about as personal as you’re allowed to be on this site, folks. — Ed.]

      1. Tsk, tsk, Local Dad. Do you kiss little Rutherford and Philippa with that mouth?
        I’m actually not local to TWSY. I suspect the regulars there will miss you and your little ones as much as you’ll miss the regulars. I’m sure we can all look forward to hearing that you’ve sued the owners of the next coffee shop you patronise after one of your children runs full-tilt into someone carrying a tray of steaming drinks and is scalded badly. [In case there is any doubt, b.g. is of course making a satirical point. — Ed.]

      2. The café has now moved to E20 and has the same snotty attitude. What a shame it has a subsidised rent that stops it deservedly going bust.

        * I apologise to readers for the late update (at end of this article).

        Do you refer to a subsidy from a financial backer? — Editor

  3. That would be the same Lauriston that takes payment for drinks and dinner at 6.40, then brings the drinks and the message that children are welcome only until 7, so that we with our (silent) baby would have to leave then. Hardly an example to follow, I would’ve thought.
    Notices are unlikely to change customer behaviour and in this case are more likely to put off responsible parents, who are already hyper-conscious about how their offspring behave in public. Staff need to deal with the problem directly if it’s that disruptive.

  4. I’ve never been to this café but I think I’m going to give it a try now. I don’t think it’s much to ask that parents keep children under control and stop them from bothering other visitors – and I often look after small children, so I know it is possible.
    Might have a wander there this weekend.

  5. It was a perfectly sensible request. And if people are not able to supervise their children, maybe they should not go out with them. The staff at Tina, We Salute you are friendly and lovely towards children, as I have witnessed many times.

  6. Bit of an own goal there from TWSY, given its proximity to two schools and a playground. Mums and dads with children should try some of the other cafés near by: Bird Café in Bradbury Street is lovely and you don’t have to wait an average 10 minutes for your coffee, like you do at TWSY. Or get a ticking-off.

  7. Of all the cafés in Dalston, I’ve never seen staff so friendly to kids… and yes, I’m a regular. so I know.
    It’s sad to see how a few parents can’t take the slightest feedback on their (lack of) parenting. Grow up.

    1. Why do you assume the people complaining about this are the bad parents? They’re probably decent parents who don’t like being insulted by being warned not to do something they weren’t going to do anyway. I agree with Bug’s comment: if a child is being disruptive it’s best to have a worker come up to the parent and discreetly talk to them.
      As for the café being good with children, I’m sure there are plenty of cafés that are equally accommodating to parents with kids that don’t feel the need to put up signs like this. No need to lavish praise on it like it’s doing something especially admirable.
      And do you really need to insult people just because they disagree with you?

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