Iconic Pubs

Pubs are more than just places to grab a drink; they’re an integral part of British culture, acting as social hubs, meeting places, and historical landmarks. From the picturesque countryside to bustling city centres, the United Kingdom is home to a plethora of iconic and beloved pubs that have stood the test of time. Here, we dive into some of the UK’s most popular and historic pubs, each with its own unique charm and character.

  1. The Eagle and Child, Oxford: Although this famous pub has been shut for more than three years, we’ve heard that the process of finding new management to run it, is about to be completed. Nestled in the historic city of Oxford, The Eagle and Child pub has earned its place in literary history. It was the regular meeting spot for the famed “Inklings” group, which included literary giants like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The pub’s cozy atmosphere and rich literary heritage make it a must-visit for both book enthusiasts and history buffs.
  2. The George Inn, London: Dating back to the 17th century, The George Inn stands as one of London’s oldest surviving coaching inns. Located near London Bridge, this National Trust-owned pub exudes traditional charm with its timber beams, cobbled courtyard, and historical significance. It’s a perfect spot to experience a slice of London’s past while enjoying a pint.
  3. The Anchor Inn, Seatown: For those seeking a coastal retreat, The Anchor Inn in Seatown offers stunning views of the Jurassic Coastline. With its thatched roof and quaint interiors, this pub embodies the essence of a quintessential British seaside escape. Visitors can savor local seafood and ales while gazing out at the breathtaking scenery.
  4. The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast: In the heart of Belfast, The Crown Liquor Saloon is a visual masterpiece. Known for its ornate Victorian architecture, stained glass windows, and intricate tiles, this pub transports patrons to a bygone era. Its opulent interiors and unique history provide a one-of-a-kind pub experience.
  5. The Jolly Judge, Edinburgh: Tucked away on a historic close in Edinburgh’s Old Town, The Jolly Judge is a hidden gem loved by locals and visitors alike. Its low ceilings, exposed stone walls, and cozy nooks create an intimate and welcoming atmosphere. With a wide range of whiskies and local beers, it’s the perfect place to unwind after exploring the city.
  6. Ye Olde Mitre, London: Nestled in a hidden alleyway near Hatton Garden, The Olde Mitre is a true London treasure. Dating back to 1546, this pub boasts a rich history and is known for its traditional wooden interior and historical artifacts. It’s a great spot to escape the bustle of the city and enjoy a pint in a unique setting.

From literary havens to coastal retreats, the UK pubs are steeped in history, charm, and character. These establishments provide not only a taste of the country’s finest ales but also a window into its vibrant cultural tapestry. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a fan of great literature, or simply someone seeking an authentic British experience, these iconic pubs are sure to leave a lasting impression.

See all 6 Iconic Pubs on a map.

Weekly Newsletter from PROOF Insight

PROOF’s Moderating Consumer Report; Poor weather dampens on-trade; Takeaway pints continue

Research news

Waitrose expands no/low range as moderation ramps up

Waitrose has partnered with Diageo to highlight the supermarket’s 70-SKU no-low offering. The partnership will see 60% more space dedicated to no/low in time for the December peak in sales and comes off the back of Waitrose reporting 20% growth in no/low sales in the past year.

PROOF’s Intelligence Report – The Moderating Consumer – revealed that 19.1 million UK adults are permanently moderating or avoiding alcohol, with 51% planning to further moderate their alcohol intake in the future. Despite the growth in moderation, no/low remains small – only 5% of moderating consumers (the main target audience) regularly drink alcohol-free spirits and 9% regularly drink alcohol-free beer. Furthermore, no/low beer currently makes up around 2% of beer volume in the UK off-trade and already accounts for more than 2% of beer shelf space.

Drinking soft drinks (31%) and simply drinking fewer drinks (27%) proved to be more popular moderation techniques than drinking no/low, so there is some risk behind dedicating even more shelf space to the category. However, the off-trade is the best place for it, with 49% of consumers looking to supermarkets and shops for new drink inspiration, compared to 25% in pubs and bars. Furthermore, Diageo’s portfolio of no/low versions of well-known brands will help, as consumers are more likely to purchase recognised brands.

Sources: PROOF Intelligence – The Moderating Consumer, Drinks Business

The Moderating Consumer Report

Industry news

July weather dampens the on-trade, but benefits English wine

Weekly sales in managed venues in the week to Saturday 5th August were down 6% compared to last year. This includes a fall of 16% on Sunday at the end of the wettest July on record, whereas 2022 saw weather of high 20s Celsius. Cider and spirits saw the biggest declines of 15% and 11% respectively, whilst wine saw a 1% increase in sales. This isn’t the only good news for wine, English growers are expecting record yields after a dry June and wet July.

Sources: The Drinks Business, The Morning Advertiser

Pubs allowed to sell takeaway pints, but new duty rules provide a barrier

Lockdown rules allowing pubs to sell takeaway drinks were set to expire, meaning venues would have to apply for permission from their local council. Despite a consultation receiving just 174 responses, Rishi Sunak personally stepped in to allow the regulation to continue. Bodies including NTIA, UKHospitality and CAMRA support the decision, although new tax rules may prove a barrier to takeaway sales of draught beer and cider, as these would need to be purchased separately at a higher rate of duty than those sold to be drunk on-trade.

Sources: Morning Advertiser, Sky News

Strange brews & news

Roast Dinner Brown Ale… how far can craft beer go?

Northern Monk have further pushed the boundaries of bizarre craft beers with their collaboration with Aunt Bessie’s. The two Northern companies have produced a series of four beers based on traditional British cuisine – including a Roast Dinner Brown Ale, Jam Roly Poly Pale, Apple Crumble Pale and Sticky Toffee Pud Porter. Consumers will be able to find the bizarre creations in Morrisons from Wednesday.

Sources: JOE.co.uk

Investments, acquisition and openings

  • Baileys’ owner Diageo is investing £26m in its expansion of the Irish cream liqueur factory
  • Trust Inns purchases three pubs from Dundas Heritable
  • Bob Bob Ricard to open rotisserie chicken concept in Soho
  • Hertfordshire concept Chez Burton is set to open a second site
  • Vinoteca is in discussions to find new backing after filing a court notice of intention to appoint administrators
  • Immersive experience company The Everywhere Group is crowdfunding to support the opening of ten new sites
  • Vegan pizza concept Purezza vies to raise £5m funding to aid London expansion
  • Grays & Feather are set to open two new London wine bars, in Brixton and Leadenhall Market

Sources: Propel, Spirits Business

Product launches and campaigns

  • Haig Club and David Beckham have ended their partnership after 9 years, the ex-footballer is said to launch his own spirits brand
  • Greene King releases limited-edition cask ale, a double dry hopped IPA, called Mischief Maker
  • Captain Morgan releases a Black Spiced Rum, designed to be served neat, mixed with ginger or cola, or in cocktails such as the Old Fashioned
  • Britvic has launched three new mixers that allow bartenders to easily create cocktails: Mojito, Pina Colada and Strawberry
  • Beavertown Brewery has rereleased its Tropigamma 5.4% tropical IPA
  • Scotch whisky brand Smokehead has released a Twisted Stout single malt, finished in stout casks
  • Double Dutch adds Elderflower Tonic Water to range
  • Healthy eating concept Farm Girl reimagines customer loyalty programmes, launching one using NFTs

Sources: Morning Advertiser, The Spirits Business, Propel

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The Grapes in Melksham reopens after major investment

The Grapes on Bank Street in Melksham, re-opened on Thursday 10th August following a major investment of £238,000.

The pub is part of the Proper Pubs division at Admiral Taverns and has undergone a complete transformation to create a brand-new look with fresh décor to appeal to the local community. Inside, the pub has been completely transformed, featuring a brand-new bar, flooring, and furniture throughout. Outside, the terrace garden has been completely renovated with new lighting, heaters, and a canopy to create an inviting experience all year round.

For opening night, customers enjoyed live music followed by an action-packed weekend, including live sporting events.

Operator of The Grapes, Antoni Pearce, said: “Opening night was fantastic, it was amazing to see all our customers, old and new, coming to see what the pub has to offer!

The feedback we received from our community was amazing, and we can’t wait to see them again soon!”

MP Michelle Donelan said: “Following huge investment and major refurbishment, supported by Admiral Taverns, the Grapes has reopened in Melksham. Great to see another local business thriving in our town and I look forward to popping into the pub for a drink over the summer.”

The Grapes provides a wide range of drink offers, including cocktails, wine, and fizz promotions, as well as a full sports package of Sky Sports and Horse Racing. The pub also hosts an annual schedule of events for the community to enjoy such as regular quiz and karaoke nights. Additionally, the pub will be raising money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance and to have a lifesaving defibrillator installed at the Grapes.

Matthew Gurney, Operations Director for Proper Pubs, said: “The refurbishment at The Grapes looks fantastic – the team have worked really hard to ensure it is a success for the local community.

On behalf of the Proper Pubs team, we would like to wish our community hero, Antoni, every success for the future in making The Grapes a fantastic hub of the community.”

Proper Pubs is always supporting its communities through an array of events and charity fundraising initiatives, from Christmas selection box collections to local food bank donations. Proper Pubs recently installed its 104th defibrillator across its estate through the help of fundraising from its locals.

The Grapes is located on 33 Bank Street, Melksham, SN12 6LE

Britain’s Most Popular Pubs

We all love a great pub, and great pubs are always popular pubs. So, it stands to reason, that if you can find the country’s most popular pubs, you’ll also be sure to have found the country’s greatest pubs too.

Here at useyourlocal, we encourage all our visitors to join us, and follow all their favourite pubs. That way, no one will ever forget their own personal favourite pubs, we’ll make sure everyone is the first to know what’s happening in and around their favourite locals, and we’ll all get a clear picture of what the country’s most popular, and therefore best pubs are. Simple.

With over 250,000 pub followers, we can also be sure that the results are pretty accurate too.

So, according to the popularity of every single pub in the UK here on useyourlocal, these are Britain’s Top 5 favourite pubs.

  1. Crown & Thistle, Rockcliffe, CA6
  2. Hamilton Russell Arms, Thorpe Thewles, TS21
  3. How Do You Do, Tynemouth, NE30
  4. Hengist, Aylesford, ME20
  5. Pelton Arms, London, SE10

Want to see all 46,000 in order? Sure you do…..


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