Lifestyle

A Brief History... of Wetherspoons

By Ed Reynolds | Monday 23rd October, 2017

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan. Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone. Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow...and a British institution thus did open.

On 9th December, 1979, the first ever ‘Spoons opened it’s doors as ‘Martin’s Free House’ in Muswell Hill, North London. Early the following year, it was renamed Wetherspoons and this, good friends, is where the great tale of cheap bevs begins…

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It was North London that was first blessed with those infamous cheap drinks and it wasn’t for a few years that they eventually shared the gold with the rest of the capital. At first, Wetherspoons just pottered along opening several more pubs around London. Then the 90’s came.

Pop culture was awash with fades, platforms and tamagotchis. Boy bands battled girl bands, cult films such as Pulp Fiction and The Matrix were released and the Olsen twins made a debut.

But it was also a hugely important decade for the King of Wetherspoons, Tim Martin- yeah his name isn't actually J D Wetherspoons which to be honest, is massively disappointing.

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Anyway... you have Mr Martin to thank for your pre-holiday bevs as back in 1992, Wetherspoons opened their first airport pub in Heathrow Terminal 4. This allowed Brits to get absolutely shit-faced before boarding the plane without having to dip into their holiday spends.

The following year, Wetherspoons received the ‘Pub Chain of the Year’ award from the Good Pub Guide. They've actually picked up a considerable amount of awards over the years including the coveted ‘Loo of the Year’ prize. It is still unclear as to who a) judges this prize and b) awards it but apparently, Wetherspoons have literally won it a billion times. Though I’m pretty sure my local 'Spoons hasn’t won it yet…

A couple of years later, The Sun at Redhill opened in Surrey as the 150th pub and the company’s overall sales reached £100 million. How does Wetherspoons make that kind of money when they are serving double gins for less than a fiver? My mind is blown...

Shit got seriously really though in 1998 when they opened 7 pubs in a day. Seven whole pubs in 24 hours- what's the need for that eh? This was also the year that they first launched their meal deals beginning with the Curry Club. It was soon followed by The Steak Club and Fish Fridays.

Wetherspoons turned the ripe old age of 20 in 1999 too allowing the pub chain to enter the new millennium in style.

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The turn of the aforementioned millennium brought an abundance of treats for Wetherspoons fans. All of the pubs opened for breakfast which every hungover adult in the country shed a small happy tear over; a cheap scrap of bacon and hair of the dog is a fine thing. And soon after that, Wetherspoons modernised and welcomed wifi access into all their pubs.

From 2013- 2015, Wetherspoons opened their 900th pub and also reached record annual sales of £1.5 billion.

Aside from cheap doubles and a decent array of pint choices, ‘Spoons helped to pioneer designated non-smoking areas in their pubs before the ban and they also have been know to host weddings and even an opera. Who knew it was so versatile, eh?

So, next time you're in a 'Spoons, say a quiet thank you to the Universe for giving us a place to bev when we've ran out of money before payday. Cheers!

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