Wednesday 3 November 2010

Appearance money

The Good Pub Guide have announced that they are going to start charging pubs for inclusion as full entries - £199 a year for dining pubs, and £99 for those with a more limited food offer. They claim that this won’t lead to a reduction in standards, and that no pubs will be included that otherwise wouldn’t be, but inevitably any policy of charging for entries will compromise the independence of a pub guide. The problem is not so much that unworthy pubs will be included, but that worthy ones won’t be because they won’t pay up.

I’ve never had a lot of time for the Good Pub Guide, which gives the impression of being predominantly a guide to poncey dining pubs that I would go out of my way to avoid. But it does, perhaps in the interest of credibility, include a smattering of proper pubs – for example, the 2006 edition includes, in this area, the White Lion at Barthomley, the Marble Arch and Stalybridge Station Buffet.

It is exactly that sort of pub that is likely to feel it is not worth paying for an entry, thus leaving the guide even more skewed than it is at present and reducing the comprehensiveness of the information it provides for its readers. And, if a pub is on the borderline, but is willing to pay for an entry, can the editors really say that won’t affect their decision? Despite their claims, I can see this move damaging sales as the book will no longer be perceived as unbiased.


  1. For once, and probably only once, I agree with you.

  2. This was actually discussed many years ago when I used to survey for the GPG. I felt it was a bad idea then and still do. I agree the GPG is pretty naff but this really seems like a massive own goal. And, in the current economic climate, is it the right time?

  3. Food-led if you don't serve food then you don't have to pay?

    Biggest problem I have with the guide though is the Wetherspoons pubs, some are good (in fact very good) but they all are in there as far as I can see. And in the case of two of them nearest to me they hardly ever serve beer in good condition and the staff are rude, yet they are in the guide making a mocker of the thing.

    To be honest I have always found the guide to be biased and not user friendly.

  4. AIUI pubs that don't serve food at all (which is very few GPG entries) would pay £99. Remember this is for full entries, not for "Lucky Dips".

    The 2006 edition I have has scarcely any Wetherspoons as full entries although many appear as Lucky Dips.

    These have to be treated with considerable caution as over the years more than one have appeared that have been closed for several years.

  5. It really isn't worth paying for entry in the GPG as it's notoriously out of date. Closed pubs remain in and very little revision takes place. For example: When Dukes 92 opened in Manchester in the early 90s, I reviewed it and the entry subsequently appeared practically unchanged for some 15 years.


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