Sunday, 29 March 2009


There has been some severe criticism of Wetherspoon’s here. Apparently they are downmarket drinking dens favoured by alcoholics.

This may be the case in London, but out in the provinces I find Wetherspoons’ pubs in general the haunt of middle-class drinkers who want a reasonable meal and aren’t willing to chance their arm in a “real” pub. They are cosy, middle-class havens, and they are very busy. They are, in a sense “pub lite”.

I’m no great fan of Wetherspoon’s, but the idea that they are downmarket drinking dens is ludicrous.


  1. Hmmm, not sure I agree completely. There's at least one not a million miles* from the leafy groves of Stockport that the description suits rather well.

    *ten, actually. Follow the Mersey...

  2. The Joseph Else on the Old Market Square in Nottingham and the Woodthorpe Top in the suburb of Mapperley are definite exceptions to this, but others in the area seem ok.

  3. Matt,

    I didn't go in the Joseph Else, although I saw it, but in fact my comments were sparked by the Roebuck, which can't be more than 300 yards away.

    Saturday lunchtime, it was full of nice, well-behaved middle-class people, mostly eating meals.

  4. There are some Wetherspoon's that are rather nice places to sit and have a quick pint. I tend to avoid the ones in Preston and Lancaster for the same reason as I suspect many in London do - they often are the preserve of alcoholics, unfriendly staff and inferior beer.

  5. I try to avoid Wetherspoons apart from when I need their facilities, although I do at least buy a half for the privilege. However, it is the only chain pub I have ever been in, that on complaining about being served a pint of vinegar said..........What do you expect for this price? I generally put up the sign of the cross when they are mentioned as a place to drink in. Enjoy, all ye who drink in their hell holes.
    Barbecue Bob

  6. Following the link, I read the story which is pure nonsense. Wetherspoons, like every other pubco, has good and bad outlets. Their basic premise is sound and to knock them does sound like more London snobbery.

  7. With pubs hitting the wall left right and center and the Spoons expanding, they must be doing something right. Clean, spacious pubs and reasonable prices must be popular.

  8. I must have been in more than half the Spoons and I've hardly ever seen unpleasant behaviour, and probably only in the real working-class East London outlets.

    The diners may be middle-class, but they do get a decent proportion of the sensible retired drinker drawn by price, civilised clean surrounding and company.

  9. I treat them as a cafe that serves beer - good for some cheap ballast on the way to a 'real' pub. I'm not a frequent 'pooner. I've been in some very bad ones, and some really quite good ones - like the Penderel's Oak in Holborn, which always has its beers in first-class condition. I'm not sure I hold about them affecting other pubs - it might be true in some cases, but the West End of London is full of Sam Smith's pubs doing a pint at £1.88 (or something) and it doesn't seem to be doing much harm to the competition. In any case, If a pub's a good pub, I'll happily pay more for a pint than for the same pint at the 'poon next doorm even if it is 50p or so cheaper - and I'm certain I'm not alone in this.

  10. Wetherspoons are like any other pubs in that there are good ones and bad. Of course if you like to look down on people who can only afford to drink down to a price, then you will have all the opportunity you want, as inevitably you'll find such drinkers within.

    Overall they are what they are, so take them or leave them.

    And as an aside, I noticed on Stonch's beer blog, an allegation that they screw micros on price. I asked Tony Allen of Phoenix about this. He says emphatically not and they pay on time.

  11. JDW don't get it right all the time but they usually do what they say on the label and many excel. As Tandleman says there are some good and some not. I use them

  12. Stonch is a southern twat i support Tandleman's campaign against him


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