Wetherspoons

Bletchleyite

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That's the only 'Spoons I've actually seen a fight break out. Been to rough places all over the country but experienced that closest to home, I don't go in there often so maybe just got unlucky.
There's long been an issue with "lads out for a ****-up and a fight" at Xscape generally, it was always an issue with the various mediocre nightclubs that have been up there over time too. That's why anyone wanting a no-attitude club night out in MK goes to Pink Punters in Bletchley instead. (For the unfamiliar, it's nominally an LGBT venue but is owned and run by a straight couple who just saw a gap in the market and on a Saturday night has a totally mixed crowd, and the security is done very well indeed - very much in control of things but completely without the "rentathug" attitude you often get from bouncers).

MK can sometimes end up with a nasty "small town" type atmosphere in its bars and clubs, which is a shame.
 
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bramling

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What is it about Wetherspoons that people actually like?

Ok it's 'cheap', but that's the only thing going for it.
The Pub interiors are dull and depressing, and the food is just microwaved crap!

Actually I've found that other pubs aren't that much more expensive, and they have a much better atmosphere!
For me, they’re useful when on holiday as we tend to be out and about until quite late in the day, especially the long summer days when we can be doing stuff until 8 or 9 o clock or later, and a Wetherspoon is useful in that they generally serve food until late and the menu is pretty simple. By contrast we were in Porthmadog and Barmouth last summer, and it was a right pain as most places stop serving quite early.

Whilst not really luxurious, a JDW is a useful “safe pair of hands” type place for us. I also like the way one orders food at the bar, so not having to wait around for waiter service.

Having said all that, the quality can be variable. In my experience they range from pretty good to awful, although to be fair the bad ones are in the minority. Truro springs to mind as bad when we were there.
 

Bald Rick

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I broke my Wetherspoons boycott over the Christmas break, but I was particularly desperate.

It was either that, or relieve myself in the gutter of Cricklewood Broadway.
 

Bletchleyite

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Whilst not really luxurious, a JDW is a useful “safe pair of hands” type place for us. I also like the way one orders food at the bar, so not having to wait around for waiter service.
I suppose it's not dissimilar to a Travelodge or Premier Inn. You know exactly what you are going to get - nothing fancy but basic and good value.
 

Bletchleyite

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Indeed. I’d rather take a Premier Inn than some dodgy B&B. Quite often they avoid issues like lack of parking which can be a pain in the arse at some hotels.
Premier Inns are nicer than Travelodges (and a bit pricier) but with both I've never been surprised about what I've got, either positively or negatively[1]. So both are a "safe option" in that sense.

[1] Well, I haven't had a digger driven through the reception, anyway :D
 

tbtc

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Wetherspoons are the Sam Allardyce of the pub world.

In the early years of the millennium, they were ahead of the curve. The pubs did a lot of things that people take for granted now, non-smoking areas, being open all day, permitting kids (and having a kids menu), serving food all day, service a range of soft drinks - even accepting card payments at the bar wasn't something you could assume would be okay twenty years ago. These were the days before you could guarantee a range of sandwiches being sold in a dozen places on every High Street, there wasn't much "middle ground" between Greasy Spoon cafes, McDonalds and pubs (which were open for a few hours a day and you were lucky to get much more than a packet of crisps). A Wetherspoons offering two meals for a fiver (or a pint and burger for around the same £2.99 price as a McDonalds "meal") filled a gap in the market.

Back then Allardyce seemed a groundbreaking manager - things like getting players to eat pasta, analysing matches with videos, using stats to try to squeeze an extra 1% out of players. Now, all football clubs have caught up with these things (what was once "revolutionary" is now typical behaviour even at non-league teams) and Allardyce feels like a dinosaur.

Similarly, Wetherspoons no longer feel so "unique", other pubs now offer food all day long, smoking is no longer permitted inside them, the worst pubs have closed and the ones that remain have evolved to copy the 'Spoons model.

I still use them from time to time but they've lost their raison d'être, plenty of other places do some of the same things much better. It's maybe a generational thing but they seem to be filled with a lot of all day drinkers - maybe that's a good thing (better to have such people socialising together rather than drinking at home alone, better that they do it in a pub than on the streets, better to have drinkers watched by bar staff in case of troubles) but it does make some of them pretty off-putting compared to a decade ago.

Worth popping into when in an unfamiliar town - I've visited hundreds over the years when on rail journeys - but they feel a bit Allardyce-like - living off past glories - once they were the future but now the rest of the world has caught up and now does things better - there's a time and a place for a Wetherspoons but the political stance of the owner seems to have shown the demographic of people who they want to attract - no Liberal Metropolitan Elites wanted at the bar :lol:
 

furnessvale

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And spoons does kill decent pubs. My mates was one. A decent tied house with a high rent and very high wholesale prices finished off by spoons being bale to offer much cheaper pints.
I would venture to suggest it isn't Spoons killing off decent pubs but greedy breweries charging high rents and high wholesale prices on tied houses.
 

Bald Rick

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Wetherspoons are the Sam Allardyce of the pub world.

In the early years of the millennium, they were ahead of the curve. The pubs did a lot of things that people take for granted now, non-smoking areas, being open all day, permitting kids (and having a kids menu), serving food all day, service a range of soft drinks - even accepting card payments at the bar wasn't something you could assume would be okay twenty years ago. These were the days before you could guarantee a range of sandwiches being sold in a dozen places on every High Street, there wasn't much "middle ground" between Greasy Spoon cafes, McDonalds and pubs (which were open for a few hours a day and you were lucky to get much more than a packet of crisps). A Wetherspoons offering two meals for a fiver (or a pint and burger for around the same £2.99 price as a McDonalds "meal") filled a gap in the market.

Back then Allardyce seemed a groundbreaking manager - things like getting players to eat pasta, analysing matches with videos, using stats to try to squeeze an extra 1% out of players. Now, all football clubs have caught up with these things (what was once "revolutionary" is now typical behaviour even at non-league teams) and Allardyce feels like a dinosaur.

Similarly, Wetherspoons no longer feel so "unique", other pubs now offer food all day long, smoking is no longer permitted inside them, the worst pubs have closed and the ones that remain have evolved to copy the 'Spoons model.

I still use them from time to time but they've lost their raison d'être, plenty of other places do some of the same things much better. It's maybe a generational thing but they seem to be filled with a lot of all day drinkers - maybe that's a good thing (better to have such people socialising together rather than drinking at home alone, better that they do it in a pub than on the streets, better to have drinkers watched by bar staff in case of troubles) but it does make some of them pretty off-putting compared to a decade ago.

Worth popping into when in an unfamiliar town - I've visited hundreds over the years when on rail journeys - but they feel a bit Allardyce-like - living off past glories - once they were the future but now the rest of the world has caught up and now does things better - there's a time and a place for a Wetherspoons but the political stance of the owner seems to have shown the demographic of people who they want to attract - no Liberal Metropolitan Elites wanted at the bar :lol:
Good points.

Wetherspoons got where they are through standardisation and buying in volume, thus reducing costs significantly compared to a ‘regular’ pub, and passing on most of the savings to the customer. However going out to pubs just for social drinking is becoming a less popular, err, pastime. Pub goers have become more discerning, and as a result there has been a vast improvement in pubs (generally) over the past decade. Wetherspoons is essentially the same now as it was 20 years ago. The market is moving, and it needs to respond.
 

Cowley

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Wetherspoons are the Sam Allardyce of the pub world.

In the early years of the millennium, they were ahead of the curve. The pubs did a lot of things that people take for granted now, non-smoking areas, being open all day, permitting kids (and having a kids menu), serving food all day, service a range of soft drinks - even accepting card payments at the bar wasn't something you could assume would be okay twenty years ago. These were the days before you could guarantee a range of sandwiches being sold in a dozen places on every High Street, there wasn't much "middle ground" between Greasy Spoon cafes, McDonalds and pubs (which were open for a few hours a day and you were lucky to get much more than a packet of crisps). A Wetherspoons offering two meals for a fiver (or a pint and burger for around the same £2.99 price as a McDonalds "meal") filled a gap in the market.

Back then Allardyce seemed a groundbreaking manager - things like getting players to eat pasta, analysing matches with videos, using stats to try to squeeze an extra 1% out of players. Now, all football clubs have caught up with these things (what was once "revolutionary" is now typical behaviour even at non-league teams) and Allardyce feels like a dinosaur.

Similarly, Wetherspoons no longer feel so "unique", other pubs now offer food all day long, smoking is no longer permitted inside them, the worst pubs have closed and the ones that remain have evolved to copy the 'Spoons model.

I still use them from time to time but they've lost their raison d'être, plenty of other places do some of the same things much better. It's maybe a generational thing but they seem to be filled with a lot of all day drinkers - maybe that's a good thing (better to have such people socialising together rather than drinking at home alone, better that they do it in a pub than on the streets, better to have drinkers watched by bar staff in case of troubles) but it does make some of them pretty off-putting compared to a decade ago.

Worth popping into when in an unfamiliar town - I've visited hundreds over the years when on rail journeys - but they feel a bit Allardyce-like - living off past glories - once they were the future but now the rest of the world has caught up and now does things better - there's a time and a place for a Wetherspoons but the political stance of the owner seems to have shown the demographic of people who they want to attract - no Liberal Metropolitan Elites wanted at the bar :lol:
In that case then the second pint of 'Martha's Mild' (5 point something) that I had in The Imperial this evening was the Jay-Jay Okocha of beers.
It feignted me to the right, dribbled past me and nearly left me lying on the floor.
It was almost a free transfer too (well £2.15 anyway)...
 

fowler9

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The main thing that always stands out for me with Wetherspoons is acres of bar and one person behind it serving a dozen people all ordering their meals separately and getting cups of tea or speciality coffee. It isn't a pub, it's a chain cafe where you may or may not occasionally get a decent pint of real ale cheap. Anything decent at the one in Lime Street Station costs more than anywhere else near by. It has its market I guess.
 

4-SUB 4732

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Spoons pile it high and sell it cheap. They purport to be the 'biggest supporter of Real Ale' in Britain, yet do everything they can to devalue it. £1.99 a pint is disgraceful and, more importantly, they are forcing the hand of many brewers to sell at rock-bottom prices to them.

To put it bluntly, Spoons might be good for the consumer but for the brewing industry and for the pub industry as a whole they're a disaster.
 

Andrew S

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A surprisingly interesting debate. A few points from me:

In some of their more food orientated pubs the tables are packed in in rows, making it hard to get in and out without disturbing peope.

Some of their South and East London pubs have quite worn fixtures, and are begging for refurbishment. It is a shame when their new outlets look very carefully designed and kitted out. The Surrey Docks is the most dated and worn out that I've seen.

The food offering definitely is variable. The one up the escalator at Victoria station serves food that is barely edible, in my opinion.

The app really is good for bagging a table when alone and then ordering.

I really like their plates. In fact I have a few of my own.
 

cactustwirly

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Wetherspoons are the Sam Allardyce of the pub world.

In the early years of the millennium, they were ahead of the curve. The pubs did a lot of things that people take for granted now, non-smoking areas, being open all day, permitting kids (and having a kids menu), serving food all day, service a range of soft drinks - even accepting card payments at the bar wasn't something you could assume would be okay twenty years ago. These were the days before you could guarantee a range of sandwiches being sold in a dozen places on every High Street, there wasn't much "middle ground" between Greasy Spoon cafes, McDonalds and pubs (which were open for a few hours a day and you were lucky to get much more than a packet of crisps). A Wetherspoons offering two meals for a fiver (or a pint and burger for around the same £2.99 price as a McDonalds "meal") filled a gap in the market.

Back then Allardyce seemed a groundbreaking manager - things like getting players to eat pasta, analysing matches with videos, using stats to try to squeeze an extra 1% out of players. Now, all football clubs have caught up with these things (what was once "revolutionary" is now typical behaviour even at non-league teams) and Allardyce feels like a dinosaur.

Similarly, Wetherspoons no longer feel so "unique", other pubs now offer food all day long, smoking is no longer permitted inside them, the worst pubs have closed and the ones that remain have evolved to copy the 'Spoons model.

I still use them from time to time but they've lost their raison d'être, plenty of other places do some of the same things much better. It's maybe a generational thing but they seem to be filled with a lot of all day drinkers - maybe that's a good thing (better to have such people socialising together rather than drinking at home alone, better that they do it in a pub than on the streets, better to have drinkers watched by bar staff in case of troubles) but it does make some of them pretty off-putting compared to a decade ago.

Worth popping into when in an unfamiliar town - I've visited hundreds over the years when on rail journeys - but they feel a bit Allardyce-like - living off past glories - once they were the future but now the rest of the world has caught up and now does things better - there's a time and a place for a Wetherspoons but the political stance of the owner seems to have shown the demographic of people who they want to attract - no Liberal Metropolitan Elites wanted at the bar :lol:
I agree there, the interior of the pubs is very dated and worn.
I can literally go next door to a pub which has a much cosier atmosphere, better clientele and the prices aren't that much more expensive!
 

yorksrob

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Spoons pile it high and sell it cheap. They purport to be the 'biggest supporter of Real Ale' in Britain, yet do everything they can to devalue it. £1.99 a pint is disgraceful and, more importantly, they are forcing the hand of many brewers to sell at rock-bottom prices to them.

To put it bluntly, Spoons might be good for the consumer but for the brewing industry and for the pub industry as a whole they're a disaster.
I suppose the counter point to that is that we now have pubs in Yorkshire trying to get away with serving Timothy Taylor for over four pounds. I don't know how good that is for the brewing industry, but it's extortionate for the customer.
 
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DanDaDriver

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I briefly worked in one about fourteen years ago.

Exploitative doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Although I accept it may have changed now.
 

yorksrob

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It's a bit like the 'squeezed middle' is being squeezed out. I see the effect more widely in Leeds City Centre. At one end of the spectrum, you have Weatherspoons and Greggs knocking food out cheaply and at the other, the expensive trendy yuppy outlets, with very little left inbetween.

I suspect it's as a result of unrealistic rents.
 

Iskra

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I briefly worked in one about fourteen years ago.

Exploitative doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Although I accept it may have changed now.
To be fair, you could have just experienced one exploitative manager who runs their business unethically. I work for a company that gets a lot of awards for looking after its staff, but I still have to hear grievances put in against a specific manager where I think 'WTF.'
 

SteveP29

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Haha, the type of pubs I frequent (or are they bars?) have more lager than Ale, but it's good Lager like Estrella, Budweiser, Heineken, Kozel, San Miguel etc
Heineken & Budweiser, good lagers? I wouldn't brush my teeth with it

I was quite surprised he sent that out to everyone. What did that cost, in terms of print costs AND distribution? And for what? It's not as if anyone will read it (any more than I suspect anyone does when seeing one in the pub).
One came through our door yesterday, needless to say it went straight in the recycling
 

HOOVER29

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The wetherspoons where I live (Ashby De La Zouch) was, allegedly the most expensive one in the country. Apparently even Mr Witherspoon himself turned up to see what his money was being spent on.
The Shoulder of Mutton in its old disguise wasn’t a bad pub but since it changed to an outfit that sells cheap beer & cheap food I tend to stay away from it. When it was rebuilt it was clean & tidy but know it’s gone downhill & the family only use it as a last resort.
Defo not a place to enjoy a nice beer in on a Friday night
 

SteveP29

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they are forcing the hand of many brewers to sell at rock-bottom prices to them.
They don't, they buy draught stock that only has a shelf life of a week, the breweries are quite happy to do this, as it gets shot of product they'd normally have to dispose of because they wouldn't have sold it.
Therefore, Wetherspoons get it at a knock down price and sell it at a knock down price (in comparison to other pubs)
 

Bletchleyite

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They don't, they buy draught stock that only has a shelf life of a week, the breweries are quite happy to do this, as it gets shot of product they'd normally have to dispose of because they wouldn't have sold it.
Therefore, Wetherspoons get it at a knock down price and sell it at a knock down price (in comparison to other pubs)
I thought this was the case. It does mean you're more likely to get an off pint at 'Spoons, but they are always quick to replace or refund if this does happen.
 

DarloRich

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There's long been an issue with "lads out for a ****-up and a fight" at Xscape generally, it was always an issue with the various mediocre nightclubs that have been up there over time too. That's why anyone wanting a no-attitude club night out in MK goes to Pink Punters in Bletchley instead. (For the unfamiliar, it's nominally an LGBT venue but is owned and run by a straight couple who just saw a gap in the market and on a Saturday night has a totally mixed crowd, and the security is done very well indeed - very much in control of things but completely without the "rentathug" attitude you often get from bouncers).
I was a direct neighbour of the club for a couple of years. Absolutely no issues at all. Not even any excess noise. On the occasions i have visited i have always found it relaxed and friendly with decent and proactive security who behave in a civilised fashion.
 

IanD

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They don't, they buy draught stock that only has a shelf life of a week, the breweries are quite happy to do this, as it gets shot of product they'd normally have to dispose of because they wouldn't have sold it.
Therefore, Wetherspoons get it at a knock down price and sell it at a knock down price (in comparison to other pubs)
I thought this was the case. It does mean you're more likely to get an off pint at 'Spoons, but they are always quick to replace or refund if this does happen.
I believe this was the original model but I was told it has moved on somewhat (in terms of shelf life rather than buying cheap) since the early days.

I should add that I have friends who run breweries and one who is a manager at a Spoons. Some breweries often brew especially for Spoons so why would they brew with a short shelf life? Others take the price hit so that they can get their beers 'known' and increase their customer base.
 
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