Monday, 23 May 2011

Counting the Spoons

The most recent poll asked people how many different Wetherspoon pubs they had visited. I was really just asking this out of curiosity after I recently counted up that I had visited 31, rather than trying to make any particular point. There were 99 responses, broken down as follows:

None: 13 (13%)
1-5: 31 (31%)
6-10: 25 (25%)
11-20: 12 (12%)
21-30: 4 (4%)
31-50: 8 (8%)
Over 50: 6 (6%)

It is perhaps somewhat surprising that anyone who currently ever visits pubs in the UK has not been to at least one, but there you go.

Although I have visited many Spoons around the country, including three in Scotland and two in Northern Ireland, I haven’t visited quite a few in my local area, as since they’re much of a muchness there’s little point in going out of your way if another is more convenient.

I have been critical of the lack of atmosphere in Spoons’ pubs, but, on the other hand, if you’re in an unfamiliar town they are somewhere you can rely on for reasonable food and a range of cask beers that are likely to be in decent nick. Few town centre pubs serve food in the evenings or on Sundays, and realistically you are often comparing Spoons with Pizza Express and the Bengal Palace rather than other pubs. Taunton in particular was a town singularly devoid of decent pubs to offer Spoons any worthwhile competition.

This chap has been to pretty much all of them.


  1. Interesting poll.

    A town i grew up near in my 'teens and twenties are currently
    debating/fighting the opening of a wetherspoons.

    The comments after are interesting also, the 'stepping stones' mentioned was indeed a grimy unused Hall and Woodhouse pub (and my step dad would agree who lives in broadstone and he worked for H&W too) but is pleasantly
    surprised by how popular it has become.

  2. Find a Wetherspoon outlet in Wirral with cask beer in decent nick and I'll buy you a pint. You'll notice that only one in my area made the 2011 or 2012 GBG and that one is inconsistent in my opinion. That is despite the attempt of one 'Spoons licensee to hijack the selection process with the help of a rent-a-crowd.

  3. I'm one of the 6% who has been in over 50. Although, it's probably not something worth boasting about:)

  4. I have a real love/hate thing with Spoons. I rarely visit unless the beer fests are on, which are generally excellent. However, find a 'Spoons in a train station and you'll find a decent pint in slightly less hostile surroundings than your usual train station pub..

  5. It's easy to get sniffy about Wetherspoons, which I don't understand because they are doing so many things right. If they're not to your taste, fair enough; I agree they're variable, but then so are pubs from every PubCo. But the difference is that pubs in all other PubCos are usually judged individually, not collectively as happens with JDW.

    A friend recently asked me why I go to my local and pay more rather than the Wetherspoons. Although our JDW is actually very good, it's not like sitting in a cosy pub, but I have objection to going there on occasion.

    Anyone who has been drinking since the 1970s will know that we would all have welcomed Wetherspoons with open arms in those days, when most towns were dominated by one or two breweries, and choice non-existent.

  6. The only Wetherspoon pub I ever encountered was a huge, bright, modern, rather barren hall. I stood outside it looking through the plate glass windows, and decided that it wasn't my idea of a pub, and so didn't go in. Which is why I'm one of the 13% who've never been in one of them.

    I have something of the same response to Starbucks, which seems to adopt the same ethos.

    They're beer and coffee filling stations.

  7. I have to admit I've never been in a coffee shop of the Starbucks/Costa Coffee type, so I suppose that might be the equivalent of never having been in a Spoons. And "huge, bright, modern, rather barren hall" does rather sum most of them up.


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