So it came as somewhat of a surprise to see that an establishment in the Spanish heartland of Salamanca had attempted, if not to ban them, then to regulate their behaviour.
“Children must remain at the side of their parents at all times,” read one of the directives issued last week by the management of Livingstone in Salamanca, a bar that operates as café by day and cocktail lounge by night.
“Children are not permitted to play with toys, except mobile phones and tablets,” read another.
“Nappies (diapers) must not be changed anywhere outside of the toilets,” the orders continued.
“Noisy children (those that cry, scream, or make a noise that’s annoying to other customers) must be removed from the premises until they are quiet.”
And “children must walk not run” on the premises.
The list of “five commandments” concerning children was posted on the door at the bar in what the management explained was a bid to ensure the “happy coexistence” between all its clientele, those with families and those without.
But one woman took offence at the regulations and posted a photo on Facebook which soon went viral on social media and provoked quite a polemic.
Some parents were incensed at the management and accused them of being “discriminatory” and “anti-families”.
One commentor wrote: "Children are not second class citizens. They have a right to be there too."
Another added: "What kind of person has a problem with a child in a bar?"
Others thought it was about time some rules were put in place. “It’s a cocktail bar, if people with young kids don’t like (the rules) then go somewhere next to a park”, wrote one.
But the restaurant, overwhelmed with the criticism, made a rapid U-turn and apologized.
“Thanks to you and your comments, we've realised we were in the wrong and will immediately remove the sign from our premises,” said the message published on the bar’s Facebook page.
“We wish to apologise to anyone who may have felt offended.
“Children are always welcome – in fact, our manager has three small children and has had to take them off the premises several times to calm them down.”
This caused more outrage from those who felt the bar had backed down needlessly.
"Remember that in Spain, the proprietors still have the right to refuse admission. It's a shame that they felt they couldn't put their own rules in place," wrote one commenter.
So for the time being at least, don't expect to see establishments in Spain - even cocktail bars - declare themselves child-free zones. Spain just isn't ready for that.
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