Hello, lovely reader. How are you? Have you completed your challenge to take a chance yet? I’m about to do mine and I’m terrified, so don’t worry about it too much.
My birthday is coming up soon, and the plan for the day is to get a load of friends round, eat a lot of cake and then go to the pub. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It won’t be. I haven’t chosen a pub yet. I was seriously considering the Montague Pyke in Piccadilly, because it’s large, central and pretty cheap, but I’ve been shouted down by some friends of mine who have better taste (and more experience of the Montague Pyke) than I do. The hunt continues for a large, central, cheap pub in London. And for my missing pet unicorn, Ephraim.
I know that I’m a “grown up” now, and I should have acquired a taste for the finer (or at least less rubbish) things in life, but deep down I’m still a student and my heart belongs to Wetherspoons pubs. Here are five reasons why:
Any Wetherspoons in any part of the country serves the same drinks, food and surly sarcasm. You know where you stand with a Wetherspoons menu. Even in the farthest flung corner of the British Isles (Inverness), I can tell you for a fact that the only difference between that menu and the ones in my local is the addition of neeps and tatties as a side.
So it’s not the most glamorous place in the world. You won’t come across any sultry jazz music or atmospheric lighting in a Wetherspoons pub, but you will be able to buy a pint without remortgaging your internal organs. I don’t really care if there’s a group of asshats making too much noise in the booth next door, or the toilets are a ten minute walk away; the beer is cheap.
3) The toilets are a ten minute walk away
Which is good for you. Exercise and all that.
4) Something for everyone
I feel very, very sorry for my friends, because going out for dinner with me is a nightmare. My dietary requirements include a lethal (and I mean lethal) allergy, an intolerance of casein (because lactose is too mainstream, apparently), and a lifestyle choice to give up carbs. It’s a wonder that my friends can even look at me sometimes, let alone sit in a restaurant with me. But in a Wetherspoons, all of that goes away: the extensive menu has something for everyone, no matter what kind of allergy/faddy diet/craving you’re restricted by. Problem solved.
5) Remember the good times
Remember that story about a friend of mine who re-enacted the Stations of the Cross with a burger, chips and excessive ketchup? (It’s here if you’re floundering – don’t feel bad, I tell a lot of stories and most of them involve a slightly strange friend.) That is just one of literally hundreds of happy memories I have that took place in a Wetherspoons pub. From the New Crown in my beloved Southgate to the Westgate Inn in Canterbury (hour for hour I think spent more time in there than I did on my university campus), and back to where it all began in the Wetherspoons pubs of Watford and Rickmansworth: I owe Wetherspoons some of the best nights (and mornings after) of my life. Christmas Eve with my best mate doing uni essays, inventing very complicated drinking games that involved stealing books, meeting some of my now closest friends, falling in love, getting into arguments, re-enacting stuff with food (it became a recurring issue), laughing until we cried: all of the best and most ridiculous things in my life have happened to me in a Wetherspoons pub. It’s not glamorous, but it’s fun.
So. Where shall we go for lunch?