LONDON BLOG SPECIAL
Just when did Wetherspoons become so popular? They are everywhere and quintessentially British and are without doubt, the locals (in town centres/airports/railway stations) of the future, if not the present.
I have a confession to make…I wasn’t really a fan of them and I too was a beer snob until I realised all the pubs were being shut down (Specials – 1982). It also coincided with me really getting into beer and then I finally realised what fantastic places they were about five years ago.
The one constant when you walk into any Wetherspoons pub is that it is absolutely heaving. Whatever time of day, they are always healthily attended and crammed full of old skool pub characters that seem to have been gentrified away from everywhere else…
If you read Tim Martin’s biog it appears that they started way back in 1979 but I am sure I didn’t go in one until at least 2002 so why have they become so popular?
Even that bastion of left-leaning middle-class journalism, The Guardian, has admitted it is a phenomenon and revealed it sells three million pints, one million cups of coffee and half a million breakfasts per week.
My theory is that it is because they are often last man standing in some forgotten towns where lots of other pubs have upped sticks and left whilst plenty of Brits still like a cheap pint and a chat with mates.
They also seem to have the monopoly on airport bars and are certainly branching out into station bars too, as I found out when I ventured to London with Mrs BB and my offspring to watch Wicked at the Apollo Victoria.
A party of eight, four adults and four kids landed at Victoria Station and everyone agreed that Wetherspoons was the place to be.
It would be fair to say we are all from different backgrounds in terms of wealth and schooling but, we all agreed, Wetherspoons was the best place for a pint and food.
And we weren’t alone!!! 5.30-7.30 on a Wednesday and Wetherspoons SW1V 1JT was absolutely packed to the rafters. And I mean packed as queues for food and beer was quite long and a lot of the ales were drunk dry!
Pictures adorn the pub (see above) and that is similar in many Wetherspoons across Britain whilst punters clearly want this as there were all ages, colours, genders and classes present in this boozer.
For the princely sum of £8.50 in a prime London location I got a chicken and chips meal along with a well-kept pint of Jaipur (Thornbridge). Beermats, decent food, good beer, architecture, this was a top notch pub and the opportunity to sit and people watch as the world goes by is relaxing.
Wicked was, well wicked (I am down with the kids) and it was great to support a company that employs 35,000 staff with my favourite pastime whilst also supporting a quality British product at the theatre to boot on our annual cheap trip with www.kidsweek.co.uk
One question remains unanswered…why are some Wetherspoons pubs named and others not? This one is a basic Wetherspoons whilst others have weird and wonderful monikers….can anyone shed any light?!