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Wetherspoon's

It's a funny old world. Back in the '70s, in the dark days of the beer deserts, any Wetherspoon would have been welcomed as an oasis of real ale. There's usually a pretty good choice of proper beers, mostly kept in reasonable condition and prices are good with usually at least one blinding bargain.

I mean who, in this day and age, can serve a decent pint for less that £2? So full marks for that. And if there really is no other choice, a Wetherspoon's is a usually reliable source of something drinkable.

But what an awful soul-less canteen of a place. It's like a cavernous wine-bar with beer. Whoever designs and runs these places clearly does not know what a pub is.

Pubs are individual; they reflect their location; they slake local thirsts with local brews; they draw culinary inspiration from the surrounding fields; and, perhaps most importantly, they know their customers: by face if not by name.

What do we get from Wetherspoon's? "Pubs-by-numbers": a Wetherspoon here looks exactly like a Wetherspoon there. Does this world need yet another Moon-Under-Water? No. There are many examples which prove that Wetherspoon actually doesn't care about pubs and pub customers and one is Staines. There used to be an old pub: the Angel Inn which dated back centuries. It got taken over and is now some loathsome magnolia and glass cathedral. Whoever granted that planning permission should be fired. Just down the road is another Wetherspoon clone. There's no justice.

I've been to many Wetherspoon's all over this country and only had a crap pint in one of them. But I've never enjoyed going in to any of them. And the next time I hear Tim Martin whining on nasally on Radio 4 about something or other I will, as usual, turn him off. Self-important git. He may be able to make money out of retailing liquids but he has no idea what a pub is nor how to run one.