We’ve been to a lot of Wetherspoons in Wales. In fact, so many that I’ve used all my quarters 50p vouchers already, which surely qualifies me for some more.
With Spoon’s current relative retrenchment, I can’t see them opening a lot more in Wales, but they already have them in some fairly small places like Pwhelli.
As in England, they seem to still be doing good business, particularly with the “elder folk” market, presumably in places without a decent Garden Centre.
Spoons gets debated more than any other pub chain, and has been the subject of some heated debate in our own household. Mrs RM has some “issues of principle” with the chain, but I’ve got pubs to tick, and at least they have beer mats again now.
In Aberystwyth we had a universally bad experience in a rare station concourse Spoons that was packed with families and professional drinkers.
Even with drinks-only areas, I waited ten minutes (which is a long time to stand at the bar) while staff asked customers randomly who was next. No-one knew. The eventual Mantle showed all the signs of zero turnover, but at least Mrs RM had to drink it instead of me.
Dirty plates and glasses filled every table. Toddlers ran up and down the aisles, bumping into serving staff and customers.
I made my excuses and went off in search of a decent pub, leaving Mrs RM to contend with having her live glass removed by staff without asking. Never take Mrs RM’s pint glass before she’s finished. The reports on the toilets, normally a Spoons strongpoint, were equally damning
There was therefore some reticence about the visit to the Carmarthen Spoons the next day, but it was a joy. Friendly staff proffering tasters, beer served at the right temperature (NBSS 3.5) , parents and children behaving appropriately, tables cleared promptly.
There was a minor altercation when a lady asked for a Pimms on it’s own and her beleaguered husband bought her just that. “Where’s the lemonade ?” she howled. Reader, how would he know Pimms comes with lemonade ?
I’ve noticed quite a wide variation in standards in Spoons, with some of the older ones looking distinctly worn (e.g. in Swansea). Beer quality has generally held up pretty well though,and that’s what counts. And the vouchers.