Neil Taylor reports on the Guild’s March social evening:
Staying in a pub seems such an obvious thing to do that it is amazing, as Guild members discovered at our function on March 16, that the website www.stayinapub.co.uk was only registered two years ago when the Company started.
We were hosted that evening at The Clerk and Well, situated of course in Clerkenwell Road which is just one of 1500 pubs now in the scheme. The catering showed us at once how broadly pubs can now differ from one another. The spicy Thai dishes that were offered in profusion were a welcome long distance away from what we might have expected.
The beer too was markedly different. “Difference” in fact is a theme that the company would stress in describing its products. We met in a pub that during the week has regular business clients needing to be close to the City; however they want to avoid the blandness and cost of the standard hotel offerings nearby. At the weekend come the tourists, probably for the same reason, but also because Clerkenwell now offers liveliness seven days a week.
Of the remaining 1499 ‘Stay in a Pub’ pubs, some are in similar city-centre locations, some in villages and some in total isolation. Quite a number welcome families and pets, an incentive for some and a deterrent for others, but an instance of what has been normal continental practice for decades finally coming to Britain.
Where perhaps the Stay in a Pub app is particularly helpful is in locating pubs near towns such as Bath or Cambridge which are notorious for high prices. Barton Duxford or Frome are villages unlikely to be known to potential visitors but this site gives them appropriate exposure and the chance to host tourists who otherwise might well give up the idea when they see the normal hotel rates for these towns.
Inevitably prices vary enormously according to season and location. Early booking tends to get the best rates, although a gambler ringing up at the last minute may be rewarded with a discount of what would otherwise be an empty room.
Our host for the evening was the company’s founder Paul Nunny whose background is in brewing. He owns Sambrook’s Brewery in Battersea and generous quantities of his beer were offered all evening. Ros Shiel of ShielPorter Communications firstname.lastname@example.org 07841 694137 would be happy to provide further information to Guild members, although the website is remarkably detailed.