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1 July 2019

Britain’s perfect pub revealed: it’s 1.8 miles away from your house, serves scampi and chips and closes at midnight, according to new research from John Smith’s

  • Following a survey of 1,500 Brits, friendly bar staff, a good pint and being able to order food ranked highly in the top ten requirements of the perfect pub, according to John Smith’s the nation’s favourite classic ale[1]
  • 93% of Brits considered the Great British Pub to be an institution, with 65% commenting that the local was at the centre of their community
  • John Smith’s has released a series of films showing what would happen if a pub removed some of our favourite pub staples, watch here

A much-loved institution, the Great British Pub has long been considered at the heart of our community – the scene of reunions with friends and family, tense penalty shoot-outs on TV and, of course, that great British ritual – the Sunday roast.

A recent survey by John Smith’s sought to reveal the recipe for the perfect local according to the nation’s pub-goers and discover the reason why our British pubs continue to hold that special place in our hearts.

Top of the list of requirements was friendly bar staff, with 55% of respondents commenting that this affects their decision when it comes to choosing their local. Good food and a large beer garden were also cited as being important factors with a 53% and 40% share respectively.

Having your pals being there (40%), a roaring fire (30%), ample seating (38%) and dishing up a first-class Sunday roast (37%) also made the list.

John Smith’s nationwide survey revealed that beer is, of course, still a key component for pub lovers with 39% demanding a decent pint, while a good selection of classic British ales is essential for one in five pub goers. When asked how many varieties the perfect pub would serve, the 1,500 respondents chose seven on average. 

When it came to food, 69% said that tried and tested pub grub such as scampi and chips, or a pie were their preferred options and when it came to the quality of dishes served, women found this more important (58%) compared to just 46% of men.

In terms of entertainment, classics such as juke boxes (26%), quiz nights (21%) or showing a big match were most popular (20%).  The research also found that 39% of Brits said the ideal pub closing time was midnight, 30% opted for 11pm, but a dedicated 5% would like to stay until 3am.

John Smith’s believes in a good honest pint, for good honest people and has been a supporter of the great British local and the community since its birth in 1758.

Richard Barnes, Marketing Manager for John Smith’s commented: “This survey has revealed the special place that the Great British Pub continues to hold in the hearts of the nation’s pub-goers and the staples that make up our dream pub. Friendly bar staff, a great pint and having your mates around you – all simple pleasures that have been the cornerstone of the local for generations. John Smith’s[2], is one of these classics – consistent in quality, unassuming in nature, but dear to our hearts and a staple of the Great British Pub.

“There’s nowhere quite like the pub – they’re the place where we socialise with mates, enjoy a pint or two and make memories – from winning the pub quiz to belting out a tune on the karaoke.  They’re central to British culture – long live the great British pub!

At the other end of the scale, pub goers would be put off by terrible food (51%) and unappetising new bar snacks, pubs that lacked atmosphere (47%) and venues that had removed classic entertainment such as sports on TV and the popular pool table.

But would Brits complain? In typical British fashion the survey found that only 17% would want to make a fuss and complain, with 57% much preferring to sneak off and find a better boozer.

Seven in ten Brits have a local and on average go to the pub twice a week. The research shows that the people of Birmingham are the biggest pub goers – visiting on average 2.4 times a week. The people of Glasgow were prepared to travel furthest – going at least 2.6 miles to the pub, whereas people in Sheffield would prefer it to be just half that distance (1.3 miles) away.

The study revealed that men and women want different things from their local, with 30% of men saying they prefer to drink a pint in peace, compared to just 20% of women. The quality of food is a consideration for 58% of women, compared to just 46% of men.

With Brits clearly holding the Great British pub in such high regard, John Smith’s has created a series of humorous videos, dramatising the effects the removal of classic pub staples has on local pub goers. You can check out the videos here.