When you say to Americans, "we went to the pub with the grand kids"--you see it in their eyes. Their concern, their speed dial thoughts to Children and Family Services in the OMG assumption. You took a KID to the BAR?? What are you Alcoholic Anonymous wanna-bees?
Many pubs in the UK--at least pubs I've been to with my grandsons--are NOT bars. The photo of the sign above from Marneys says it all. When was the last time you went to a bar that had an outdoor space that might encourage ball games? Plus Marneys doesn't let kids inside. House rules.
Within spitting distance of a duck pond frequented by children to do what children do everywhere at duck ponds, Marneys does sell beer and other spirits--but also soft drinks and nibbles. It's more like a neighborhood hangout--where you'd meet the neighbors-- than some Quentin Tarantino movie set for the made-men to hang out. Plus it is wee inside--with tight quarters that don't encourage people who wear XXXLarge sizes. Located at a cul-de-sac by the duck pond, there is space for a car or two--but given drinks driving laws are tight in the UK--why risk it? You walk to Marneys. With its hole in the wall vibe--it is in stark contrast to some London pubs whose reputations to "drink to excess and pass out outside" are attested to by vomit outside their doors. Ick.
In much of the UK, the pub is simply the neighborhood watering hole--with better beer on draft than that plonk in a can. Marneys has a garden area where the kiddies run about, hiding in the bushes. Given the British penchant for picnicking..in or out of the rain, it isn't unusual to see people in the garden area hanging out with their kids having a beer in the drizzle. One pub in Teddington, near Hampton Court--even had a play area with a Quiddich field--okay, now I exaggerate, but it did have a big slide and swings and other playground equipment. Very civilized to sit on a Friday late afternoon to have a beer with a friend, as the wee ones played. It also encouraged young mums to get to know--who were the people in the neighborhood (with apologies to Sesame Street.)
So remember when you hear of taking the kids to the pub, it is akin to Mexico City and the Sunday late lunch (at 2 or 3PM)--where one finds the grandmothers out with the family for lunch having one or two tequilas straight. These aren't 'shots', these are sipping tequila--tequila that was prescribed for a friend of mine there by her US medically trained doctor--to help her cholesterol.
There is more in heaven and earth to learn about other cultures.