Open For Business!

Every week we are bringing you the latest pub and bars openings from around the UK. If you see somewhere you like, give it a follow and you can receive news, offers and events from them. Who doesn’t want an excuse to pop in for a pint?

The Duke’s Head, Putney

This 150 year-old riverside pub in Putney has re-opened following refurbishment. The Duke’s Head, south-west London, has seen a street food shack added to its impressive list of spaces, which include the Rowing Club, a private hire wedding room, and a restaurant conservatory.  And it’s just in time for the Oxford v Cambridge University Boat Race, so you can tuck into a jerk chicken burger while you watch the teams battle it out on the Thames. Lovely!

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The Copper Room, Stamford

The Copper Room, a new hostelry specialising in craft ales, has opened its doors this week in Lincolnshire, hoping to offer new and exciting delights to the people of Stamford. With 6 keg lines, a range of spirits, fine wines and Belgian trappist beers, as well as cask beers served direct from the barrel, there looks to be a bit of something for everyone. And to really encourage a their customers to try something new, there will be 10% off any craft beer between 5pm & 9pm on Tuesdays!

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On The Rocks, Swanbridge

Who doesn’t want to sit in a Pink Floyd themed bar overlooking the Bristol Channel from the Vale of Glamorgan? This 56 cover restaurant and bar, aptly named ‘On The Rocks’, sits above the beach in Swanbridge Bay, the pebbles from which adorn the steel framed building’s exterior. Already proving extremely popular with locals and tourists alike, On The Rocks currently only opens Friday & Saturday and tends to fill up fast, so be sure to book in advance!

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The Kentish Belle, Bexleyheath

Having sold nearly 1000 pints on its opening day, it’s safe to say that The Kentish Belle has been a welcome addition to Blexleyheath. The art-deco micropub offers a fantastic selection of real ales and often hosts Tap Takeovers, showcasing creations from various breweries across their 12 pumps. There is also a good range of craft gins, wines and 8 real ciders – a drink aficionado’s dream.

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L’Atelier Du Vin, Brighton

This speak-easy style cocktail and wine bar brings a bit of old-school glamour to the pub and bar scene of Brighton. The impressive drinks menu offers more than 500 wines and 300 spirits alongside a food pairing menu that features a selection of charcuterie and cheeses, and steak from a local farm. The bar is hand-built, made from vintage drawers with a surface covering of two-pence pieces. If spending your Saturday nights being transported to the prohibition-era is your thing then this is definitely the bootlegger bar for you!

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If you know of a pub opening that you would like us to feature in our blog, do let us know! You can email us at [email protected] or leave your suggestion in the comments.

Netherlands v England

We’re entering the final stretch ahead of the World Cup 2018 with preparations continuing this evening as the Lions travel to Amsterdam for a friendly against the Netherlands.

England will be without their top striker Harry Kane, while the Netherlands have named Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk as their captain. The Dutchman’s fellow club team-mate, Jordan Henderson, will captain the visitors.

The potential starting XIs are:

England: Pickford; Walker, Dier, Stones, Maguire, Young; Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Alli, Vardy, Sterling

Netherlands: Cillessen; Fosu-Mensah, De Vrij, Van Dijk, Ake, Van Aanholt; Wijnaldum, Propper, Strootman; Memphis, Dost

Coverage starts at 7:30pm with kick-off slated for 7:45pm – Click here to find pubs and bars near you that will be showing the game live.

Confirmed World Cup Warm-Up Squads:

Netherlands squad: Marco Bizot, Jasper Cillessen, Jeroen Zoet, Patrick van Aanholt, Nathan Ake, Virgil van Dijk, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Hans Hateboer, Matthijs de Ligt, Kenny Tete, Stefan de Vrij, Donny van de Beek, Davy Proepper, Marten de Roon , Kevin Strootman, Guus Til, Tonny Vilhena, Georginio Wijnaldum, Ryan Babel, Steven Berghuis, Memphis Depay, Bas Dost, Justin Kluivert, Quincy Promes, Wout Weghorst

England squad: Joe Hart, Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland, Nick Pope, Kyle Walker, Kieran Tripper, Ryan Bertrand, Danny Rose, John Stones, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson, Joe Gomez, Harry Maguire, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Jake Livermore, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Lewis Cook, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford

Spring Statement 2018

The Chancellor released his Spring Statement this week, and as you can probably guess from the lack of furore following it, there wasn’t a great deal of anything useful added to what we already know from the Autumn Budget.

Therefore, in the spirit of Her Majesty’s Treasury, we too shall keep it short and sweet – you’re welcome.

So, the main points of the Spring Statement affecting UK pubs are:

  • Ideas for “fairer” taxation of multinational digital businesses – A welcome idea, however it is the disparity in business rates between the high street operators and online businesses which must be urgently addressed. Pubs are currently paying five times more in rates than their share of rateable business turnover. Obscene in its own right, but even more so when compared with that of online companies. Speaking of business rates…
  • Next revaluation of business rates to be brought forward by one year to 2021 – All well and good in the long term, not so much for anyone currently struggling following the disastrous 7 year revaluation of 2017.
  • A call for evidence on the impact of VAT on the hospitality and tourism sector in Northern IrelandTourism contributes greatly to the Northern Ireland economy, however high rates of VAT pose a significant barrier to growth, so these discussions are good news for them. It has also given hope to industry leaders that any steps taken as a result will open the door to talks on UK-wide VAT reform for tourism and hospitality businesses. Fun fact – under current rates of VAT, a third of the cost of a pint in the pub goes to the taxman.
  • Consultation on tax changes to discourage use of single-use plastic – The pub industry has already been particularly pro-active in their approach to tackling our plastic problem, but as Kate Nicholls of UKHospitality stated, “Change must come via positive voluntary action, rather than punitive legislation that penalises and burdens businesses without solving the problem.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves, so we won’t.

All in all, lots of ‘ideas’ and ‘expectations’ flying around, but nothing particularly decisive to write home about, so it’s very much just wait and see at this point. Actions, after all, speak louder than words – watch this space.

The Wetherspoon Wanderers

Everyone has something they’d like to do before they die; swim with dolphins…skydive over a volcano…visit every Wetherspoons in Britain?

Yes, Gary and Denise Barnes have discovered such an appreciation for JD Wetherspoon’s establishments that they have made it their mission to visit every single one – that’s all 900+ of them.

Having had their interested sparked after visiting The Winter Gardens Wetherspoons in Harrogate, the couple have now conquered 167 venues, covering more than 20,000 miles of the UK so far.

In explaining the reason for their venture, Gary told The Yorkshire Post: “It gets us out of the house. The buildings are all really interesting, we like finding out about them all. There’s nothing pretentious about Wetherspoons, you know what you’re getting there.”

Other than the value for money and quirky surroundings, one thing they particularly enjoy about the tour is that they get to travel to places they say they would otherwise not have thought of to visit.

And with a portfolio of pubs spanning the entirety of the UK, from the far north of Scotland right down to the South West coast of England, not to mention everywhere in between – they have plenty of new places to choose from.

The couple have set up a Facebook page to document their ‘Spoons Story’, updating it every time they reach a new destination. In case you were wondering – number 167 was The Crown Inn, Knaresborough.

And if you’re feeling inspired to start your own tour; here’s a list of all the Wetherspoon bars near you to get you on your way!

It’s good to have life goals…

London Beer Week 2018

Beer lovers, rejoice – London Beer Week has returned for its forth year. Hurrah! The 7-day festival will see a diverse range of events taking place throughout the city between the 12th and 18th March, celebrating the capital’s thriving brewing scene.

75 pubs, taprooms and breweries have also created bespoke £5 tasting flights of three unique beers, exclusively for Festival Pass holders – each promoting a unique aspect of brewing, be it certain styles, ingredients or heritage.

To get involved, all you need to do is purchase your £10 digital pass – available here – to qualify for unlimited £5 tasting flights, boilermakers and even some sip and snack options, as well as first look access to pop-ups and parties.

And in other good news, passes will no longer need to be collected in the form of a wristband. Instead they will live in your your mobile phone, accessed via either the free DrinkUp.London app (on Apple or Android) or by logging into the DrinkUp.London website.

Click here to view participating London Beer Week 2018 bars.