There is never a last word on Spoons, it seems. At the end of the month they will open the biggest pub in the country in Ramsgate, to the delight of the town (except for those who sell warm beer at £4 a pint).  I’ll be down there on opening day to take photos of old folk drinking Smooth at 9am and take back my pint of Gadds No.7.

Expect it to be heaving.

Portishead Central, 8 pm

Last week I was in the Spoons in Portishead at 8am,when it was rather quieter than in last year’s photo (above) of my parents deciding which curry to have.

Portishead Central, 8am

Over unlimited coffee*, I was again struck by such an astonishing range of alcoholic offerings for a small Somerset town.

Bearing in mind most folk will be drinking lager, coffee and wine, there’s been a decent craft range,

Evil keg on opening night

some drinkable cask,


and that amazing display of ciders (top) on the backboards.

How can that amount of choice possible be viable ?


Elsewhere I’m seeing huge variations in the size of the cask range that Spoons offer that can’t just be explained by an enthusiastic manager.

Queue-friendly Bath had fewer than I’ve seen in years, but the quality was outstanding.

And on my weekly trips to St Neots, I’ve observed a steady diminution in the cask range.  This was the “offer” in the Weeping Ash recently;

Two standard Greene Kings, a Doom Bar and an “Available Soon“.  There was better choice in the Marston’s fun pub.

A month later it was a virtual GK/Adnams tap takeover.

And that appears to be a theme.  Outside the Beer Fests, a retrenchment of the range to the usual suspects, and relegation of the “craft” to bottles (sorry, “caps“).

But then you go in somewhere like Milton Keynes, hardly a cask stronghold, and see ten handpumps and seven craft kegs.


If it really is devolving decisions to local managers, good for them.  I don’t care what they serve as long as they keep it well and sell it quickly.


*By the way, the smashed avocado bagel in Portishead was rubbish. If a pub can’t get smashed avocado right, what hope is there for the beer ?



  1. I’m noticing a wild variation in quality and range in ‘spoons. Although there does seem to be a regression towards the conservative mainstream standards in a lot of them and very little to excite the ‘beer ticker’. I guess they are following their custom base in so far as there is little call for an esoteric DIPA from brown beer addled old gadgies in stained slacks at 0930am?

    I’m loving the smashed avocado bagels, but if they can smash these why can’t they smash John Smiths Smooth?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. Can’t blame them for retrenching to Greene King/Adnams/Doom plus a guest if that’s all their customers drink. The days of beer hunters popping in Spoons are long gone. Rather that than the G King model I notice now of 5 Greene King and lots of Cottage type cheapies.

      Smashed JS Smooth works for me.


      1. I’d say Spoons are simply tailoring their beer offer to the market. No point in offering a wide range if nobody wants to drink it.

        I also often find that Spoons have a knack of having six non-standard beers on, but none that I actually want to drink.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve been in some Spoons, e.g. Bristol, with a lot of craft kegs – again it very much varies between branches depending on demand. I’d say overall it’s good that they’re not trying to provide a standardised offering.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes. Sons for me is a quick one at Leeds Station, meeting mates who are non beer snobs or finding yourself in a strange town and wanting a cheap pint and a bite to eat, or staying in an hotel on room only and going to spoons for breakfast. From a little research in Dorset, during the holiday season, it appears the main function of ‘spoons in most places is to serve cheap eats to the tented/rented cottage masses. I can’t knock them for that, we’ve been doing it!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. All depends on what opportunities come up. I think a lot of the disposals have had more to do with property market considerations than actual trading performance.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s