Publicans, managers and tenants of pubs, bars and venues across the UK seem to be torn as to the importance and worth of the many online ‘Guides’ there are. On the plus side, customers can highlight the incredible value, friendliness and offerings of a pub, bar or venue they have visited but on the negative, one bad experience can tarnish a reputation and there is little recourse.
Regardless of the pros and cons though, it is clear that ‘Guides’ are here to stay and that reputations can be enhanced or ruined based on the experience of customers. Honest reviews are pretty easy to spot and the hope of publicans, managers and tenants is that people will take the time to praise venues as well as criticise. Pub, restaurant and venue guides are available for every town it seems and there are some much respected national guides too.
With most review sites offering a forum for user comments, the online guide is finally opening itself up to conversation rather than just comment and this offers the (long awaited) opportunity for key staff as well as owners to put across their side. Everything from the quality and choice of drinks, measl, entertainment etc. is discussed and this can be a great chance to highlight what a venue does best.. A couple of the guides with the best reputation for functionality, relevance and user interaction are:
Beer in the Evening:
One of the best know pub guides on the internet and with more than a million unique users every month it is one of the most active and popular. The site is regularly updated and there is a real feel of an engaged community here. Beer in the Evening is a UK pub and bar guide website that is well managed; customers, licencees and breweries are all represented here. The site moderators are highly responsive and encourage interaction with enjoyable activities like weekly polls, discussion forums and users contributions.
The Good Pub Guide:
This is one of the most well known and elderly of the guides; with its print publication starting nearly 30 years ago. The Good Pub Guide to the pubs of Britain found its way online in 2008 and is thriving there as well. Genuinely independent, The Good Pub Guide is very professionally managed and incorporates a wealth of valuable information for pub goers as well as owners, licencees, managers and tenants. Reader reports are amongst the most popular sections of the site, with intelligent as well as amusing views outranking any foolishness. The Good Pub Guide website features reviews (both official and customer generated), listings for more than 50,000 pubs across the UK and a star rating system that makes it very easy to use. Membership is free and once signed up, members can rate venues, write reviews and place comments on the blog.
Commercial leases ‘the most flexible ever’
Retail guru Mary Portas has looked into activity on our high streets and examined retail tenancies across a variety of uses including retail, offices and industrial as well as sites used for pubs, bars and restaurants. According to the British Property Federation’s (BPF) Annual Lease Review and a separate study from the Investment Property Databank (IPD), commercial landlords are offering the most flexible leases ever and this in turn is leading to a an interest in longer leases. The study indicates that in real terms, high street shop rents have fallen by more than a third over the past 20 years. Are you feeling it? Find out more…
Hauntingly Memorable Pubs
From the things that go bump in the night to the sounds that break the silence, some British pubs have more than a few drunken customers to worry about. There are pubs throughout the country where the spirits are ethereal as well as liquid; with haunting and ghostly goings on a regular feature more popular than the quiz. Here are just a few:
The Mermaid Inn – East Sussex:
This 12th century inn is home to the ghostly grey man known to appear at the foot of the bed of unsuspecting guests as well as other figures that waft through walls and a mysterious lady who has a habit of sorting visitors’ clothes. The Mermaid Inn is considered to be one of the most haunted pubs in Britain.
The Devil’s Stone Inn – North Devon:
Dating from the 17th century, this inn’s name speaks volumes about its past. An enormous nearby rock that somehow made its way to the village is the source of the name and the accompanying legend. It is said that this is a stone that fell from the Devil’s pocket as he was thrown from Heaven. Beyond the name, the Devil’s Stone Inn has also garnered its reputation as a haunted place of interest, from taps that simply turn on with no help and the noise of bumps and crashes in the night.
The Bucket of Blood – Phillack:
Another establishment where the name really rather sets up the experience! According to local legend, the Bucket Of Blood was named so after a landlord went to draw water from the well but instead found his bucket to be filled with blood. Further investigation of this phenomena lead to the discovery of a mutilated body, horrifically slaughtered and placed at the bottom of the well. Many of the criminal fraternity of the day were amongst the clients of this drinking establishment, so the list of suspects was fairly easy to compile. There lingers though today, a host of ghostly figures who insist on rattling chains noisily to keep the legend alive.
A new style of ‘race night’?
No starter’s orders, definitely no saddles and absolutely no horses but the bets were welcome at a unique race event screened in front of a cheering pub crowd. The unusual event set one man’s sperm against another’s in a race for their lives that resulted in a photo-finish for volunteers/donors Dr Mike Leahy and comedian Zeron Gibson. The men gave ‘samples’ that were filmed through a microscope as scientists from The Open University measured and rated and refereed the event. The race to discover the fastest, fittest, strongest sperm took place inside two tiny glass capillary tubes but screened in a pub; the cheering crowd appear to have got into the spirit of this as much as any other race event. Take a peek at more details and maybe even play The Great Sperm Race for yourself…
Government creates new enterprise zones
If you’re purchasing a new pub or bar in parts of Leicestershire, Oxfordshire, Essex and Kent then you may just benefit from fewer restrictions on planning applications and lower business rates too. These areas have now been given ‘enterprise zone’ status; that means eligible firms opening in these zones will receive a business rates discount of up to £275,000 set over five years. In addition to this good news, local authorities could also grant automatic planning permission and businesses will be entitled to super-fast broadband. Read on for the fine print…