Page 2 of 7
While it is technically legal for kids under 16 to be in any bar in the New York City (accompanied by an adult), everyone knows there's a world of difference between a family-friendly beer garden and a urine-soaked dive. Take note of this, and also take note of whether its proprietors are actually welcoming you and your brood or figuring out ways to get you to leave, since legally, their hands are more or less tied.
"While it may seem innocent enough to [officially] ban kids, it's a small segway away from banning patrons on the basis of, say, ethnicity," explained Jeff Pan, co-owner of Bushwick's Skytown Cafe. [...] "From a legal perspective, it's an explicit redlining attempt that is discriminating on the basis of age. New York City has the Commission of Human Right to prosecute these cases with a starting fine of $5,000."
"That being said, bars and restaurants in the city have plenty of subtle (and legal) means to shape the demographics of their patrons. Don't want old people in your restaurant? Then don't take reservations, use low lighting, and have communal seating. Don't want kids in your bar? Then play loud music or put something scandalous on the TV. It's not exactly rocket science to make your place kid-unfriendly."
Since you're the exception, not the rule, keep an eye out for whether or not your bar of choice is actually set up to accomodate kids, and take comfort in the numerous places that will welcome you with open arms — Habana Outpost, for instance, actually has a kiddie ride on the premises now and hosts the occasional "Kid's Corner" event.