When I did a search for restaurants specializing in duck before our trip started, Modra Hviezda came up as a potential option that got rave reviews in Bratislava. To get to the restaurant, you have to climb up endless stairs (how fun with a stroller!), as it’s within the Bratislava castle complex. When we arrived without a reservation on Saturday afternoon, an older man (I assume he was the manager) popped his head out to look at all three of us, and I could immediately see his disdain when he saw the stroller. He asked curtly if we had a reservation, and when Chris said no, he replied by saying they don’t have any availability without a reservation for the next two hours. We were weirded out by this, though: when you looked through the windows, you could see a nearly empty restaurant, all tables open except for two two-tops in the back. I figured that the manager didn’t want babies in the restaurant and gave that as a fake excuse and that Chris was on his phone looking for a Plan B restaurant. But no, I was wrong: he was actually on the restaurant’s website making a reservation for 30 minutes from that point! He waited for the restaurant to confirm the booking, then insisted we go back and try to get in. I was not feeling great about this, as I had a feeling a confrontation was coming. We went inside when they originally said we could after Chris told the women there that we had a reservation, but when a female server saw the stroller, her face also fell and she said no in Slovak, then muttered some words to another worker, who went to get the manager.
What I envisioned would happen did: the manager came back and was extremely rude to us: “What did I tell you? There is no space for you here! You have no reservation!” When Chris said he did, the manager replied that he did not (always fun to contradict a customer), and Chris confirmed his name on their booking screen, to which the manager finally said, “OK, we cannot have children in this restaurant. It’s our policy.”
Chris asked why he didn’t just originally say that, and the manager replied that he didn’t want a fight. Chris replied that this was discrimination and that he’d report the restaurant. The manager said Chris couldn’t report the restaurant because their policy is fully in their right and on their website for all to know. Chris then snapped a photo of the manager’s face and said he’d write them up. As we were leaving, the manager said in a surly tone, “One day, in 20 years when your child is grown, you will realize how nice it is to eat a meal in a quiet restaurant without any children around.” Ummmmm, Kaia is just under two years old, so actually, for the vast majority of both our lives, we have known what it is like to dine in restaurants without young kids! That guy was not only rude, narrow-minded, and stuck up, but a total moron.
As soon as we had the first interaction with the manager, I didn’t want to give our money to an establishment like this even if they did relent on their stance. But Chris insisted on the confrontation out of principle because he hates being lied to. I understand why restaurants may not want children of a certain age dining with them, but frankly, this was not some fancy, expensive, white-table-cloth restaurant. It was just an average restaurant with a regular Slovak menu. It saddens me that rude people like this exist, but they are everywhere, and not everyone likes or appreciates children.
It was a frustrating experience. But the real moral of the story here for me is that this experience sums up exactly why I love Chris, and why at the same time, he can completely infuriate me. My love is true to himself, he sticks to his guns, and he refuses to allow his loved ones to be mistreated or wronged in any way. I love my (big) baby so much.