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Chain Pubs

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Brandon, Florida
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Chain Pubs

Should chain pubs be avoided? And if so, would you give me a short list of those I should walk past?

Thanks!

Dunfermline, United...
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1. Re: Chain Pubs

I wouldn't say they are to be avoided as such. They are often very good places to eat and drink on a budget.

Wetherspoons and All Bar One are chains, the former being a case in point for a cheap menu. All Bar One is more wine bar type of place with a dearer and better menu.

A great number of actual pubs will be owned by one of the big management companies like Spirit, Punch Taverns or Greene King but they are still quite individually run

West London
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2. Re: Chain Pubs

As usual, it all depends on which chains you mean:

Wetherspoons: they buy interesting beers from the smaller British breweries and they have inexpensive meals that are good for a quick bite:

jdwetherspoon.co.uk/food-and-drink/…

A couple of their pubs have been used for TALF meet-ups.

Nicholsons: also do an interesting range of beers. Very slightly more expensive than Wetherspoons but often in a historic pub and still cheaper than most of their competitors. And they are also currently doing a deal where you get a free t-shirt after buying 5 drinks from them (each pub has its own distinctive t-shirt):

http://www.londonaletrail.co.uk/

Sam Smiths: it limits itself to its own range of beers, which some dislike, although personally I'm a fan of their continental-style lagers. Again cheaper than other pubs. Try them at The Chandos, 29 St Martin's Lane just off Trafalgar Square; The Angel, 61 St Giles High Street (if you're interested in guitars, stroll down nearby Denmark Street as well); or one of the most famous pubs in London, The Princess Louise, 208 High Holborm, near Holborn underground station and a short walk from the British Museum.

London
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3. Re: Chain Pubs

Each chain caters for a certain segment of the market, so it really depends on what (or who) it is that you are trying to avoid.

Most chains are good at being consistent across their units but at the cost of character and uniqueness.

U.K.
Destination Expert
for Belgrade
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4. Re: Chain Pubs

It depends if you are on a budget and how important good food and 'authentic' pub experience is for you personally. If you want somewhere to grab some pre-prepared microwave type food at low cost, some of them are very useful. Some weatherspoons places do have a bit of characternd the drinks are cheap too.

IMO, if you are visiting U.K. from afar, and not overly budget concious, you should walk past them and go to a small indepedent. In London, there are 1000's of pubs.

Most Brits will use Weatherspoons type places on occasion but would prefer to be in a 'real' pub. On vacation push the boat out a tad if possible, the difference between a Weatherspoons lunch and a good pub lunch is not huge, probably with a drink is around £5 - £10. Plent of good pubs will do a basic lunch and a pint for £10, Weatherspoons do it for £5.

The extra £5 a good investment IMO

Stoofer

UK
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5. Re: Chain Pubs

"Should chain pubs be avoided"

No. Treat each one on its own merits.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Chain Pubs

Another reason to give some of the chains a try is they are often converted from quite impressive banks or churches. Clearly a few have been done with taste left off the remodel remit but some still give you an impression of the former life of the building.

Stanley, Falkland...
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7. Re: Chain Pubs

Some of the best pubs in London are part of chains, eg the Fullers and Sam Smiths pubs.

Avoiding a pub because it is part of a chain, is a bit like avoiding a supermarket because it is part of a group....

Fine if you are surrounded by good, individual shops or markets, but a bit pointless if they are providing exactly what you are looking for.

Stanley, Falkland...
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8. Re: Chain Pubs

However, if you see one, walk past Harvester pubs....

London, United...
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9. Re: Chain Pubs

I've always considered the chain pubs to be better than the privately-owned bars, as more investment has been made on the interior design, menu, selection of drinks etc.

Stanley, Falkland...
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10. Re: Chain Pubs

Perhaps so, Worldtraveller, but sometimes the people behind the bar in chains are charmless employees and not enthusiastic and interested owners.