‘No regrets whatsoever’ over no-kids policy, local tavern owner says

The owners of a Springboro tavern and sports bar say they have “no regrets whatsoever” for their policy barring kids after 3 p.m., despite enduring some harsh criticism shortly after the pub opened.

"Actually, people started coming in from all over the place, just to support us," said Marci Johannes, co-founder of Mr. Boro's Tavern with her partner Rick Baarlaer. "I couldn't believe the amount of positive feedback that we received. I got messages of support from Australia."

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It didn't start out that way, though. When Mr. Boro's Tavern opened in March at 495 N. Main St. (Ohio 741) in Springboro with a sign on its door that read, "Must be 21 & over after 3 p.m.," some customers took offense. A social-media backlash on Facebook escalated and got personal. Johannes said she was called a "child-hater" and more, although Johannes — herself a parent — said she simply does not believe it's appropriate for kids to be in a bar during evening hours.

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

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The policy is enforced with more of a velvet glove than an iron fist, especially for first-time visitors who were not aware of the policy. New customers who come in with children and who did not know about the no-kids rule are not turned away. Instead, they are seated, the policy is explained to them so they know about the restriction the next time they come, and they are served their meals.

“Most of them say, ‘Great, we’ll be back, and next time we’ll come without the kids,’” Johannes said.

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Children are welcome during lunch service, and the tavern has purchased two high chairs, she said.

Mr. Boro’s Tavern celebrated its 6-month anniversary yesterday, on Sept. 14, and the first half-year “has gone extremely well,” Johannes said. “We’ve had some ups and downs, but it’s gone better than we had hoped.”

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Baarlaer said the pub, which seats 84, has “seen a lot of new faces lately, and that’s encouraging.”

Recent menu additions, including smoked chicken wings, have been a hit, along with top sellers Heavenly Hog Flatbread Pizza and the Boro Favorite Grilled Cheese, which includes bacon and three kinds of cheese, Baarlaer said.

Mr. Boro's is one of eight local pubs and breweries participating in a month-long fund-raiser for Brigid's Path, a Kettering-based charity that provides medical care and support services for drug-exposed newborn babies and their mothers.

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