Our January issue asks the question “what is a pub in 2017?” – so to throw wood on the debate, here are 10 pubs offering something rather quirkier than a pint and a packet of cheese & onion.
1. A zoo or a pub?
Punters can say they’re taking the kids to the zoo and actually go to the pub - and they are not even lying. Home to racoons, meerkats and monkeys - the Fenn Bell Inn, Rochester in Kent has a small menagerie and is waiting on a full zoo license. You can watch a whole video about the pub zoo here.
2. Church or pub?
Rev Graeme Dutton has moved his congregation to the pub. As Minister of the Bradford South Methodist Circuit, he started a church in Bradford Brewery’s Brewfactory. Every Monday he acts as the pub chaplain, plus he holds regular hymn & beer services.
3. Library or pub?
Bookworms and beer-lovers unite at the Railway pub in Streatham Common, London. It has linked up with the local library so customers can loan books directly from the pub tearoom (yep, there’s a tearoom too).
4. Hair salon or pub?
A pint of bitter and a short back and sides please! Punters at the Gallaghers Pub & Barbers in Birkenhead, Liverpool, can get a professional haircut for a tenner. A one-stop shop for a trim, a pint and a good natter.
5. Museum or pub?
Your long-term regulars might be fossilising at the bar... but this pub has the real deal. The Square & Compass in Worth Matravers, Dorset on the Jurassic coast, has an impressive collection of natural history from the surrounding area.
6. Chippy or pub?
In a plaice like a pub? The Spanish Galleon in Greenwich has a proper fish & chip takeaway shop complete with wooden forks and paper wrapping. Obviously, the Shepherd Neame pub offers beer battered fish too.
7. Post Office or pub?
Rumour has it that Postman Pat is trying to make a quick transfer to this branch. Licensees at The Cellar House in Eaton, Norwich saw an opportunity when the local Post Office was in danger of closing and now runs it within the pub.
8. Delicatessen or pub?
Selling locally produced items, including meat, vegetables and cheese, Ye Old Sun Inn, Tadcaster is home to Ye Old Deli, where landlord Ashley McCathy even sells his own homemade chocolates. Willy Wonka, watch out. (Ashley is also speaking at our Next Generation event in Liverpool, read this.)
9. Cinema or pub?
The nearest cinema is 20 miles away, so it’s no wonder Cinema Club at the Golden Lion in Denbighshire, Wales is a blockbuster. Licensee Helen Garner supplies popcorn and takes film requests so locals can bunk-up with a bevvy and enjoy a night at the big screen.
10. Cave or pub?
The Marsden Grotto, South Shields was dug into Marsden Bay cliff face when smugglers roamed the shores. It has a real cave (with a bar in like all the best caves) and legend has it that the ghost of smuggler John the Jibber haunts its walls.
Keep an eye on the Inapub website this week for more features, blogs and debate about what really defines a pub these days.