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Wetherspoons Pubs - in general
Member Name: GuruOnAMountain
Wetherspoons Pubs - in general
Advantages: Embraces local heritage, are cheap and are a place for everyone.
Disadvantages: Might not be quite as characterful as some local boozers.
I'm a tee-totaler (apart from the very, very occassional rum and coke which happens about 3 times a year when I'm feeling flush!) but like to socialise with my friends or pop into a pub for lunch or dinner when I'm out and about so have experienced quite a few Wetherspoon pubs.
I know that some pub purists like my boyfriend don't particularly enjoy chain pubs and prefer the atmosphere of an independent boozer but chain pubs like Wetherspoon obviously have a buying power that the independent places could never compare with and therefore can offer drinks and food at a more affordable price. Another thing that I like about Wetherspoon pubs is that they try, whenever possible, to buy buildings that have character in a town that might otherwise be left to go derelict eg. one of their pubs was built inside an old, disused theatre, I believe, they have a pub in Glasgow built in an unused bank and they have some pubs built in disused churches, for example. It would probably be easier and cheaper for them to knock up new, made for purpose buildings rather than converting older buildings but I really like the fact that they commit to trying to protect these characterful, older buildings that are part of a community. Wetherspoon pubs are also generally based round a theme associated with the area which again, I think, is a really nice touch and there are usually pictures and information framed and on the wall telling people more information about the local heritage of the area.
They also have a policy of not playing music which for some people might be a downside but I enjoy the fact that you know you can go into a Wetherspoon pub at the weekend and actually be able to have a conversation instead of screaming over loud music.
Drinks are cheap, as I say, due to the large buying power of the chain and compared to other places can be much cheaper. My boyfriend loves foreign beers, particularly Leffe, and a bottle can be bought in Wetherspoons for less than £3 whereas in other pubs in Glasgow the same bottle costs over £5. Similarly a single rum and coke (or should I say Pepsi, as that is what Wetherspoon pubs serve) costs less than £3 depending on the brand of rum whereas again, you can pay £5 for a rum and coke in some Glasgow pubs. Wetherspoon also supports real ales and always has some ales on tap but also has frequent real ale festivals where more ales are available and you can try smaller, taster glasses of them. CAMRA (the campaign for real ales) supports Wetherspoon due to this and again, it is wonderful to see a large pub chain making a conscious effort to support brewing as without such a thing a lot of these ales would have a much more limited audience.
Food is also served until 10pm each evening. A breakfast menu exists which serves all sorts from hot filled rolls, to full fry ups. Recently even eggs benedict has been introduced! The main menu serves standard pub fayre and often has special offers advertised in the pub on leaflets on the tables such as beer and a burger for a lower price than is on the menu. Prices are fairly reasonable and there are also special nights such as Steak night on a Tuesday and Curry night on a Thursday where specific meals are available for cheaper than usual and with a wider selection than usual (although the main menu is also available for those who don't fancy a steak or a curry). The food is obviously not of the highest standard but you wouldn't expect that from pub grub, especially due to the price. It is, however, of reasonable standard and will fill a hole and the range is large enough that there is something for everyone. A children's menu is also available and kids are welcome in the family section until 8pm, I believe. Wetherspoon strives to keep the kids menu interesting to kids but also as nutritionally balanced as they can and gives money to charity when certain kids meals are bought which is, again, a nice touch.
Another thing that is great about Wetherspoon pubs is that they publish the nutritional content of their meals online in a fully searchable database. This is ideal for those watching their figures or people with specific dietary requirements such as gluten intolerance as they can pop on here and have a look at what is available and even input a specific calorie amount if they want to see what is available for around or below that.
Wetherspoon frequently publishes a magazine which can often be found on pub tables and flicking through it can be interesting. They seem to really celebrate their pubs and staff with frequent parties for pub birthdays and support and articles about staff who have raised money for charity in various ways.
Wetherspoon is so wide-spread now that you can find one in most towns and cities and I will definately continue to support the one in my town. All Wetherspoon pubs seem to attract a broad range of people from the older men to the teenagers and all the way through the mums out with kids or the people going out after work. It is nice to know that you'll always fit in in a Wetherspoon pub as with some other pubs you find yourself walking in and feeling instantly out of place if it ends up being an old man type of boozer or a local's place or worse, a place full of troublemakers! I really recommend Wetherspoon pubs to everyone!
Summary: A large chain of pubs spread across the UK.
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