Saturday, 12 March 2011

A move to the country

There was an interesting statement from John Hutson of Wetherspoon’s that the company are seeking to move into more rural areas. What he really means of course, is that they’re planning to move into central locations in market towns, of which they already have plenty from Uttoxeter to Haverfordwest. However, for whatever reason they couldn’t make a go of others such as the Lodestar in Neston and the Red Lyon in Whitchurch, so they will have to be careful about site selection.

It may sound the death-knell for some old pubs in these towns, but, on the other hand, if you don’t give customers what they want you have no divine right to survival. I have written before of the difficulty I found in finding anything to eat in pubs in Bromyard, Herefordshire, although I suspect Bromyard is too small a town ever to have a Spoons.

What really would be a challenge is taking over some of our failing 20th century suburban pubs. I have heard a rumour (which I doubt is true) that Spoons are casting their eye over the Gateway in East Didsbury. Wikipedia claims that “a third type of Wetherspoons outlet has also been trialled in recent years, focused more on food, with minimal Wetherspoon branding and an extended menu,” which could be the ideal formula for such locations.

Tim Martin has also been giving the government a good kicking over the current tax and regulatory regime for pubs.

It’s worth mentioning this interesting site which has a listing of all Wetherspoon pubs past and present.

The picture shows Wetherspoons’ Hippodrome in Market Drayton, a market town with a population of of just over 10,000.


  1. The Lodestar in Neston was unique for Wetherspoons - it was a rough pub. It's still trading, is still rough, just doesn't have the saving grace of cask beer. Neston's like that. A lot of inbreeding and an accent totally different to the rest of Wirral. Probably due to the influx of workers from Lancashire at the turn of the last century to solve the labour shortage at the Colliery.

  2. I've only ever driven through Neston, but I've always seen it as a fairly genteel place. Obviously not.

    Spoons opened up the Edwin Chadwick in Longsight, Manchester and found the location was far rougher than they had bargained for.

  3. Like them or loath them if your short of pennies they sell a pint for over a quid cheaper than down the road.
    They also concentrate the minds of other landlords.


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