Unruly children shouting, screaming and running around are spoiling pub visits, it has been revealed.
The main complaint from regulars this year has been about badly behaved youngsters.
The Good Pub Guide highlights the problem, and the dilemma for landlords having to deal with unwelcome families.
One reader of the guide wrote: “Why are there undisciplined children who are allowed to run around unchecked, or screaming babies who aren’t taken outside to calm down.?”
Another said: “My peaceful lunch by the fire with a pint was totally ruined by a child running around whooping and tripping up staff, and when asked to quieten down by the landlord, the poor man faced abuse from over-protective parents. Ridiculous.”
The Guide’s editor, Fiona Stapley, said she had recently witnessed first hand the difference in how children, and more importantly their parents, behaved in pubs.
“At one end of a table a child was left screaming, while at the other end a child was taken outside to quieten down. It all depends how parents treat their children,” she told the Press Association.
“Now that almost all pubs warmly welcome children at all times, the few problem families, whose children run riot, stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.”
Some pubs seat families together in one room, while others offer well-equipped play areas or free wi-fi.
One publican said: “There is nothing more pleasant than a large family group out for Sunday lunch, with all generations present, including well-behaved children.”
The Guide noted how some parents enjoyed leaving their children with grand-parents and escaping to a pub for a child-free evening.
It was also revealed that more than one in seven pubs are now run by licensees aged between 25 and 35, an increase in the age group of almost a quarter over the past three years.
Other statistics in this year’s Guide include an 82p difference in the price of a pint in Herefordshire (£3.10) compared with London (£3.92), with the average for the UK of £3.46 - up by 15p on last year.
The Pub of the Year was named as the Horse & Groom in Bourton-on-the-Hill, Gloucestershire, which has window seats, a wood-burning stove, guest beers and 22 wines, and is described as a “special place”.
Harveys in Lewes, East Sussex, was named as brewery of the year.
The Good Pub Guide 2016, published by Ebury Press, find the top pubs in your region at thegoodpubguide.co.uk/best-pubs-in-UK-by-region.