New tavern catches flak, but stands by its ‘no kids’ policy

The owners of a new Springboro tavern/sports bar have encountered harsh criticism from some customers for barring kids after 3 p.m., but they are sticking with the policy because they feel the majority of the community supports it.

"We stand strong on our policy, and we do not stand alone," said Marci Johannes, co-founder of Mr. Boro's Tavern with her partner Rick Baarlaer.

Mr. Boro's Tavern opened one week ago today at 495 N. Main St. (Ohio 741) in Springboro. A sign on its entrance door reads, "Must be 21 & over after 3 p.m."

The founders say some customers entered the tavern with their children during its very busy opening week, and some of those families were subsequently asked to leave, in at least one case because the children were bothering other customers.

That triggered a social-media backlash on Facebook accounts that quickly escalated and got personal, Johannes said.

“I was called a child-hater,” Johannes said. “Those who know me know that’s the farthest thing from the truth.” She has two children of her own, and 11 nieces and nephews — but she doesn’t think it’s appropriate for them to a bar in evening hours.

“We don’t want to alienate anyone, but I know we have upset some families,” Johannes said.

Still, from happy hour through the evening and into the early-morning hours, “It is an adult environment here,” Johannes said. “It’s not conducive to children, and children shouldn’t be exposed to it.”

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Johannes said she was surprised by the “sense of entitlement that some people feel, that they think they can bring their children in and let the establishment deal with them and take care of them.”

Although Mr. Boro’s Tavern currently opens at 2 p.m., plans call for adding lunch service perhaps as early as next week and moving the opening time back to 11 a.m.

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“We will be child-friendly from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” Johannes said. “That will give families the chance to try us.”

In addition, Mr. Boro’s Tavern will be sponsoring youth sports teams in Springboro and is planning “family days” possibly once a month, Johannes said.

Johannes and Baarlaer thanked the community for the support during the first week of business, during which hundreds of people — Johannes said perhaps as many as 2,000 — flocked to the new pub. The co-founders spent part of the afternoon on Monday ordering menu items and craft beer kegs to replace supplies that were depleted more quickly than anticipated during opening week.

They both feel they have the support of the vast majority of the community on their no-kids-in-the-evenings policy.

“I received many, many messages from members of the community that I don’t know, who are standing behind us and encouraging us to not back down, and to not let the negativity affect us,” Johannes said.

RELATED: Opening day for new Springboro tavern (March 2017)

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