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Is it strange to take someone young to an upscale resto?

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I am suppose to see my girlfriend this Saturday. She's a flight attendant, and it's the only day she's in this weekend. Her little 14 year old cousin is staying over her place though. I wanted to take my gf to this jazz lounge. She said her cousin might still be over, and didn't want to leave her. Would it be strange to have a 14 year old enjoying dinner with us at an upscale resto? I never see a young person in these restaurants, usually we're the youngest there at 27.

Here's the url of the place I was thinking. We'll be there from 6-9.
http://www.sopra.ca/home.php

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  1. the 14 year old may like this place more than her parents. it looks like it is an adult place.

    There is a difference betwen taking a 14YO to an upscale restaurant (which jfood supports) versus taking a 14YO to a lounge, especially with the OP caveat of at 27YO they would be the youngest.

    5 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      I agree with jfood. I don't think there is anything wrong with taking young teens to upscale restaurants (assuming they know how to behave themselves and want to go). However, after looking at the website I think the place is much more an upscale lounge than a upscale restaurant (not saying it doesn't have great food, but it looks more like a nightclub/bar). To me, a place that describes itself as 'Toronto's sumptiously sexy new hot spot' and has pictures of a shirtless trumpeter and bottle service doesn't really seem appropriate for a 14 yo, but that's just me. I personally wouldn't bring my 15 year old cousin based on the website. Plus, as someone stated below, they might not even allow minors (or maybe they do before a certain time, but that usually seems to be before the live music starts).

      1. re: jfood

        I'm with jfood. I do not like young children in restaurants at all. a 14 year old is old enough to understand right and wrong behavior and possibly to even enjoy the good stuff. And if it doesn't go well, 14 is also old enough to "go wait in the car"

        1. re: rednyellow

          That is NOT what jfood said at all. Did you look at the link...this is an adult nightclub, not a restaurant. Jfood has absolutely NO PROBLEM with well behaved children partaking of any appropriate venue. This one is not appropriate.

          1. re: jfood

            It doesn't look any more adult than a good restaurant to me.

            1. re: rednyellow

              Maybe a topless male trumpet player (picture on the site) is normal in your circle of friends when you go to a "good restaurant" but jfood likes to keep the standards higher and he stands by his comment that taking children to this lounge is wrong.

      2. Just depends on the person, not their age.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          Agreed. Also, it depends upon the place.

          Does she want to go at all? To this place in particular? Does she like jazz? I think Sopra is less like a lounge than their website makes it out to be. By that, I mean it is less about drinking and mingling than what many might think of when they hear the term 'lounge'.

          That said, how about a compromise place? Somewhere that you wouldn't necessarily stay 3 whole hours and might be less adult-focused. If her cousin isn't interested in jazz or a live show, how about simply going to Mistura downstairs. There wouldn't be the time commitment and I think it would less unusual to see a teenager.

        2. We take our 4 year old grandson with us most every place we go. Only because he is well behaved and loves good food. The child eats better than most adults and will tell you his favorite food is salmon. My parents always took me as a child as well. At the age of 14 you should not have to worry about her behavior and she will most likely appreciate being treated in a grown up fashion.

          2 Replies
          1. re: moondance27

            I think, in this case, it's less about the child being appropriate for the venue and more a question of the venue being appropriate for the child.

            1. re: invinotheresverde

              Perfectly stated.

          2. Why don't you ask her if she wants to go? If she's not in the area for long, she may have something she was looking forward to doing at that time. Regardless, fine dining and jazz clubs aren't for everyone. It would be a shame to go and have her feel uncomfortable or like a third wheel on someone else's date for three hours. On the other hand, she might really love jazz and nice food. You never know until you ask.

            1. Not strange at all.. I agree with other posters that she may really like the experience. But if you are regularly the youngest there, check for an age restriction before you go. It would make for a terrible evening if you went only to find it is 21 and over.

              1. At 14 I would have loved it. I agree with those who stated it's about the person, not their age.

                1. By all means, encourage her to go. I'm a firm believer in lots of exposure for young people. My parents DID NOT expose me to fine dining. I had to learn that experience as a grown up, during dating years. Once I discovered something besides 'Tiny Naylors" drive-in on Sunset Blvd., I could not stay out of nice restaurants.

                  1. Fourteen is a premature adult, not a kid. Of course take her.

                    1. When my niece was younger she would often come and stay for weekends with me. I often took her along to nicer restaurants and never had any negative comment. I did take her to a lounge (not a bar which is age restricted) once when a friend was playing so that she could hear the first set. Again no problem.Mind you she was/is very tall and looked a older than her actually age. In fact, she often got offered wine which she declined with a giggle. If I knew the dinner was going to drag or someone might be late, she brought along a book (a la Amy Carter).

                      I look back at those times as very special and she has commented that she appreciated that I treated her like a young adult. I also think it help to make her very interested in food and she has turned out to be a very good cook and asks for cookbooks for birthday presents.

                      Also in terms of your girlfriend, this should earn you some major brownie points.

                      1. Website states operating hours are 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Thurs-Sat. You aren't going to be dining there from 6-9...at 6 you'll be standing at the door waiting to get in. For an hour.

                        I'd send an email confirming hours and asking if they have an age limit.

                        No problem/not strange taking a 14 year old to an upscale restaurant. A place that describes itself as having a 'sumptuously sexy, sultry' atmosphere seems to be not quite about food.

                        1. It's a thrill to see a young person get a taste of "adult stuff." It's a bigger thrill if the young person enjoys the experience with aplomb and maturity.

                          I'm all for putting kids -- who're ready -- into mature dining situations. I hesitate a little, though, when it comes to a drinking situation. Sadly, adults in a power-drinking (night club, "scene" bar) situation aren't going to be very kid-friendly at all. At our restaurant, it seems that the first person to complain about kids watching television quietly at the bar is the person who's paying a sitter $85 -- to watch their hyperactive, not-ready-for-restaurants kid(s) at home so they can go out and get some peace.

                          1. It's only strange if you don't know your guest well enough to know if she will enjoy it.

                            Do you? Will she?

                            Otherwise, plan B for this weekend and the jazz club for another time.

                            1. Take her but only if you are responsible drinkers. Even if others might possibly (unlikely at an upscale lounge) drink too much or behave badly, that is a valuable teachable moment for a 14 yr old and the lesson is much more likely to be appreciated from a cool 27 yr old than from her parents.

                              1. Having looked at the photos on the website, it appears to be a place for a couple to enjoy a quiet, hopefully romantic evening. It would be absurd to include a 14 yo into that equation - for all concerned. Save the occasion (and the $$$$) for a different night and use this night for you all to go elsewhere, letting your gf know you're including her cousin and respecting her wishes of not leaving her cousin alone.

                                Having said that, I'm not of the opinion that this forum is the best place to get an answer to age appropriateness for a question concerning this type of lounge/restaurant. The fact that you are asking the question implies some reservations on your part. Have you asked your gf her thoughts and more importantly, I wonder what the girl's parents would "allow"........

                                As to taking a 14 yo to an upscale restaurant - Absolutely take her. My folks were taking me at a younger age than that.

                                1. An upscale restaurant and a lounge are not the same thing. I would never dream of taking a young teen to a lounge. Not so an upscale restaurant. I am unclear from the website which is predominant, but that should guide your choice.

                                  Our parents took us to -- at least -- white tablecloth restaurants from the time we could be counted on to behave properly. We learned about comportment, good food, interesting food, ourselves and what grownups did when they went out. The restaurants got more upscale and interesting as we got older. Our parents' matra was always, "order something you don't get at home." And we did, often to the wait person's surprise, order the lobster or the curry or whatever we had never tried before.
                                  .

                                  1. The place appears to be more of a lounge where adults can enjoy an intimate evening with some entertainment and drinks. It's more about the entertainment and atmosphere than about the food. Out of respect for the other adult guests who don't go to these places to be in the presence of kids, I would leave the "little 14 year old" (your words) at home.

                                    Many 14-year-olds are ready to enjoy an upscale restaurant. None are ready to enjoy a cocktail lounge.

                                    1. You are very generous ! And this looks like a fantastic place.

                                      But I do agree with others, particularly as this is a Saturday night and likely to even more so lean towards a nightclub atmosphere.

                                      1. Eating can and should often be an "experince" like theatre. Much like a theatre experince, you have to match eating experinces with the people (not just kids) involved. We ate at the O Noir dark resto in Montreal and would love to bring the kids there for that experence. One daughter came with me to Toronto on business and we ate at a molecular gatronomy resto. What fun we had! We met the chef and tourned the kitchen after having the tasting menu. We have had some incredible times withour kids at high end places. If you asked our kids of their best life experiences I am guessing 2 of the top ten would be food related. I agree with posters liks Sam above who says it is about the kid (and the place) and matching the two...no matter what the age.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: foodiesnorth

                                          off topic but humor me; what molecular gastronomy restaurant in Toronto? My husband and I are headed there for our 20th anniversary and I would love an opportunity to go to such a place.

                                          1. re: DGresh

                                            In case foodiesnorth doesn't see this, I would assume she went to Colborne Lane (http://www.colbornelane.com/ ). There isn't any where else that I'd call a molecular gastronomy place (and even Colborne Lane isn't exactly WD50 or Alinea).

                                            Colborne Lane has had mixed reviews on here, but there hasn't been a specific thread about the place for a while. So, you might consider asking for some recent opinions.

                                            1. re: Atahualpa

                                              thanks!

                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                It was Colborne Lane...yes I over state it when I called it "an MG resto". Rather, what we had included some MG . Our family loves what Blumenthal does and this is as close as we could get to a Fat Duck experience in Toronto.

                                        2. Our 14-year-old grandson would say yes in a heartbeat. And, I would have absolutely no problem asking him if he wanted to go with us. If you ask him what he doesn't like to eat you get one answer - asparagus. He'll find something on any menu that he likes - usually at the expensive end! And, if there's music involved, he's even more willing to go. I say take her. If nothing else, she may be exposed to something she's never seen/heard before and may just find something she likes! Plus, whether she likes it, or not, she'll have something to tell her friends about for the next week.

                                          1. I think you should check if it's a no minors place first, it kind of looks like it might be. If it isn't, and the cousin wants to go, I think it would be fine.

                                            1. It's been almost a month. What happened?

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                Well, the reason this interested us was because she enjoys jazz. But after all the comments of it being inappropriate; we decided to play it safe and took her to Bymark; which is a proper fine dining resto; but happens to have a pianist; as oppose to, a jazz lounge with good food.

                                                1. re: stonedtoronto

                                                  Thanks for reporting back. This did engender strong opinions, didnt it? But that's Chowhound :)

                                                  1. re: stonedtoronto

                                                    I'm curious about her attitude/reaction to the food choices that she was presented with at a fining dining establishment?

                                                    1. re: stonedtoronto

                                                      What a lucky girl! How did she enjoy the food and the experience?

                                                  2. No reason why a 14 year old wouldnt enjoy a dinner at an upscale restaurant. Taking kids to upscale restaurants is how they discover they like upscale restaurant food. We took my much younger brother-in-law for a meal at around that age (maybe even a tad younger). It was a fairly smart place in Malta. 30+ years later, he still occasionally recalls the experience.