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Parents, patrons have mixed reactions to Durham taproom’s new 21 and over policy at night

January 31, 2019 GMT

Guests must now be 21 years and over to get into Hi-Wire Brewing’s bar in Durham after 8 p.m.

The brewery announced the change via social media, sparking some criticism from some customers.

“Our decision to make the bar 21+ after 8 p.m. was not something we took lightly. By no means are we saying that we do not want families in our taproom (it’s quite the opposite), but unfortunately we’ve had some issues with large groups of unattended children and we’re hoping that an all-ages cutoff would be a good/fair compromise,” Hi-Wire said in a Facebook post Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the brewery said that they have adjusted the policy, and children will be allowed until 8 p.m.

“Honestly, my husband and I don’t get too much time to go out. We’re from out of town, so we don’t have a babysitter, so we like to go to places where our kids can come and enjoy with us,” parent and Hi-Wire patron Maureen Harris said.

The brewery is also working on some ideas for a “kid friendly space or activities inside the taproom.”

“I’m never bothered when I see kids running around a brewery. I don’t mind it at all,” patron Hillary Younce said.

Although some said they were not bothered by children in the brewery, others were pleased to learn Hi-Wire would become an adults only space at night.

“I think it’s a good thing, because when we were here and there were kids, the kids are out of control and the acoustics in there make it so much louder,” patron Ann Bogerd said.

The brewery also announced that while games will remain free, guests must see the bartender for equipment. “We’d like everyone get a chance to play in a more organized fashion,” owners wrote.

Across town at Full Steam Brewery, no similar changes have been made regarding children. Janice Little and her husband said the family-friendly brewery allows their social life to include their little girl, Joy-Anna.

“For her to be able to join us and walk around, we’re able to meet more people and open, time-wise,” Little said.

Back at Hi-Wire, owners believe the changes are customer friendly.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s kind of up to them for what they want to do for their business,” Michelle Schmidt said.

Hi-Wire Brewing, which is based in Asheville, opened its Durham taproom, located at 800 Taylor St., in November. The 10,522-square-foot taproom features a large outdoor patio, 24 taps of Hi-Wire beer including one-offs, rare sour and wild ales, specialties not available anywhere else, guest wines and ciders on tap.