I gave my remaining Wetherspoons vouchers to the old chap in the Bank House in Cheltenham, so it’s club deals till the end of June for me.
I’ve been nipping in the newish Weeping Ash in St Neots for a coffee most weeks I’m there, and it always seems a pleasant enough Spoons. An architecturally unspectacular Post Office conversion, the town’s gentlefolk love it though.
The particular attraction today was that Thursday’s launch of a Vindaloo option on the Curry Club, clearly a significant culinary development.
It was very good, though the microwaved naan and poppadoms never work for me. At £6.10 for that lot and a pint of local Saffron Blonde, it’s tremendous value.
Saffron is a regular here, and this was one of the better pints (NBSS 3) I’ve had from them. The temperature was better than the condition, if you know what I mean. A terrible pump clip in many respects though.
Tim Martin has used his Wetherspoons magazine to make the case for a number of political issues directly or indirectly affecting the business over the years. Perhaps prompted by this, I heard some genuine, impassioned debate about the European Union referendum over my curry.
I’m personally more worried about whether I’ll be allowed back into Maidenhead (or Skelmersdale), but each to their own.
Interestingly, one the debaters then became embroiled in a terse argument with a chap who asked if he could share a space at his posing table. Our first protagonist, who had been suspiciously sipping a half of Stella for 43 minutes by this point, sent him packing with a comment ending with “bet you come from Bedfordshire mate”. Simon Everitt may be able to sympathise with the sentiment.
Trade picked up quickly just after I arrived at noon, mostly escapees from the auction house. It always feels busy at lunchtime with the OAP trade, but there was a better mix of the ages today.
Pub Curmudgeon has commented on the varying quality of Wetherspoons real ales and the importance of high turnover. For about 45 minutes I observed the lunchtime trade, and using my unique tally system I give the following approximate analysis of trade;
- Big-name lagers 14 (Stella, Tuborg, Fosters,Becks, Perroni)
- Fizzy and flavoured ciders 3
- Real ales 6 (2 Abbot, 1 Doom Bar, 1 Adnams, 1 Ruddles, 1 Saffron)
- Soft drinks 14 (Coke, Orange Juice, Milkshake ?,Water)
- Coffees 8
- Craft beers and lagers 0
- Flat caps 1
- Arguments 2 (not related to item above)
A few observations from this unrepresentative sample:-
Everyone ordered pints at lunchtime, (even of milkshake), and most folk were eating. I guess that’s the nature of the Club deal.
Real ale sales were actually higher than average, thanks to a group of Abbot drinkers, but hardly the sales of a chain promoting its real ale credentials so strongly.
Despite an upcoming cider fest, there was no cask cider on (i.e. Old Rosie).
No signs of a craft takeover here, unless you count Perroni. There was a Hydes Beer Studio pump looking forlorn with what looked like a homemade pumpclip.
The products being sold might be cheaper, but they’re no different to the products being sold in the nearby Greene King and Marstons pubs. Unless everyone switches to the bottles after six, which is possible.
Service was unfailingly prompt and polite. It’s a pleasant pub.