San Francisco's Bellini Bar Encourages Its Baby Customers to Hit the Bottle, and Burp
F. Gordon Lake, 14 months, is here as usual, clapping his hands, banging the table and demanding service. In the middle of yet another pub crawl, he is oblivious to Olivia Fay, 16 months, the lady in pink. But he couldn't possibly miss Clayton Loo, 12 months, decked out in a sailor suit with bells on his shoes. Clayton is on the sauce again—in this case, the organic applesauce. Soon, it will be all over—all over his face.
Yes, it is a typical afternoon in the Bellini bar in San Francisco, where the clientele is always underage, and the formula for success is a successful formula.
The bar, open since March in the up-market Bellini children's store on Sutter Street, is the idea of owners Juliane Higgitt, 36, and Karen Douglass, 28. Bellini is filled with baby and toddler amenities, from panda mobiles and chintz teddy bears to pink and blue potty trainers. While the parents are browsing through the $730 cribs and the 60 different styles of comforters, members of the petite elite can gurgle over 100 percent organic baby food. If they like, parents can park their prams in the back of the store—after a pit stop in the pale-peach diaper-changing room—in case the little ones need to sleep it off.
The parents are delighted. Nancy Loo, Clayton's mother, watches as her son seizes the wrong end of a spoon. "It's the first time he's ever used a spoon," she says proudly.
Meanwhile, however, something is happening at the bar. One of the young patrons, already noticeably noisier, has also become a little red in the face. He appears to be uncomfortable in his seat. Indeed, it is obvious that for one veteran of the Bellini bar, it is time for a change.