Wetherspoon’s – The Ultimate Social Network?



I spend quite a bit of time in different branches of Wetherspoon’s, the pub chain. Ah, before you go rushing to conclusions, let me tell you why. There are two reasons.

The first is that I travel a lot, and I tend to do it on a budget to keep costs down. I stay in a lot of cheap hotels, and, to be frank, the quality of breakfasts in some of them leaves a lot to be desired. And some don’t offer breakfast at all. And I am vegetarian, which further complicates matters. If they can actually cope with the request for a meat-free breakfast, it is often the case that the eggs, mushrooms, etc. are cooked in the same pan as the sausages and bacon. So, as there are a lot of Wetherspoons around the country, and they serve vegetarian breakfasts, I tend to seek them out for breakfast when I am travelling.

The second reason is the 99p coffee. What, you don’t know you can get coffee with unlimited refills for 99p up to 2pm in Wetherspoons? So, even if I am not in there for breakfast, I often find myself working in a Wetherspoons and filling up on very cheap coffee at other times of the day. Yes, it’s great to work in hipster coffee shops, but, as I only drink black coffee, I am not really bothered about the quest for evermore outlandish caffeine-laden drinks. And, the other thing about Wetherspoons is that all its branches have free wifi (via The Cloud) which usually works pretty well.

And I have noticed something about Wetherspoons. Even early in the morning, when I am eating breakfast, there are nearly always several, solitary, older men in there, usually supping pints. I say solitary, because they will nearly always be sat at separate tables, not engaging with each other.

So, I have long thought that this may be an opportunity. If you are looking to engage with older men and get them involved in social activities, maybe Wetherspoons could be your starting point?

And here’s a video I made about Working in Wetherspoons. Why not try it and make me a bit less solitary in using the #workinginwetherspoons hashtag?

Amendment:  Just an addendum to say that I’ve done breakfast in Wetherspoon’s in Scotland and am aware that the Scottish licensing laws do not permit the sale of alcohol before 10am. They do, however, permit Wetherspoon’s to sell breakfast and coffee, and it is interesting that their branches in Scotland (at least the one’s in Glasgow and Edinburgh that I have visited) open for breakfast notwithstanding.

3 thoughts on “Wetherspoon’s – The Ultimate Social Network?

  1. Yes John I also use them a lot (for the same reasons as you and also whilst waiting for the cheaper off peak train tickets after meetings) What struck me on a visit to a ‘Spoons in Barry Island last year was how much they are the new community hubs. It was 8pm and the place wasn’t full of drunken youths on the £2.39 beer, but I saw a group of older ladies who had met for a coffee & cake & a group of men having some sort of event planning meeting. It was the ‘go to’ place in the heart of the community. If anyone from Whetherspoons is reading this, I’m sure we could run a great digital friends project with them John!

  2. My local Wetherspoons *is* the perfect social network. Not only does it serve a good variety of real ale at the cheapest prices (in London at least), it serves reasonable food at cheap prices, and has free wifi.

    I ignore the giant tv screens, sound off but subtitles on, as it’s not my thing. I put up with the overly bright lighting. I sometimes forget it’s a pub, as it feels more like a community centre. We don’t have single old boys sitting on their own, except at the very quietest of times. I see tables occupied by groups of old boys – each with a mix of Asian, Black, Irish, and your standard ‘white Londoner’ who wouldn’t have a clue as to what their heritage before actually is.

    Early evenings and weekends you see the respective old girls joining them for tea/supper or Sunday lunch. Then there’s the parents with kids, amply provided for with colouring sheets and pens, and a kids menu. In the evening come the builders, taxi driver and solicitors; and the groups of young people and couples. Everyone. Hanging out together, intermingling.

    It’s not a pub, it’s a community centre, with decent ale and affordable food. If your grandparents are dead you can fill the gap by sparking up a convo with an older custmer, or else have a bit of friendly banter with some youth who you thought looked threatening on the street outside, but just looks underage inside.

    A modern community centre. A huge melting pot. A true social network.

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