Wetherspoons raise (or lower) themselves to match the neighborhood, in my experience.
In an airport, they'll be a typical airport bar. They up their game in a busy/posh area; when they're the only pub around, they try to be everything to everyone i.e. lowest common denominator.
'spoons in Ireland will very much match their individual locations, I predict.
My first experience in Spoons was the Diamond in the Derry on 11th July (first night of a long bank holiday week-end), I was very dubious as I had heard poor reports here and elsewhere.
What I found was yeah they did have large open areas with pine tables and sticky carpet and parts resembled more like a bookies with big TV screens than a pub, however what I was really pleasantly surprised about was apart from the standard Macro stuff, there were 3 cask ales and a further 3 micro draught beers on the go, they also had 4 bag in box ciders in the fridge to celebrate a cider festival that they were conducting.
Apart from 2 ciders I tried them all and was really pleasantly surprised.
The price, yes, was interesting but that wasn't my main driver. I didn't order any food as like the 4 horse burgers for a quid debate, personally I believe when it comes to cheap food merchants cut corners. (I also worked in 2 UK carvery chains for a couple of years as a student)
In spite of the fact that the pub was mad busy I saw 2 guys refused service because they were drunk and a third because he was banned.
In summary would I go in again yep and I look forward to the day these folks open their doors, and if they can convince the current publicans up and down the country to take a closer step to cask and ignore the threats of the reps from the macros then I'm all for it.
Just wondering, have Wetherspoons said they will be selling cask in ROI?[/quote:lj29lwdy]Stephanos and I were talking to the manager of The Bridge House in Belfast yesterday who is also the regional manager (I think: Steve will correct me if not). He says that they will be doing cask in the south. There was no reason to do cask in Northern Ireland when they opened there, but they still did it -- it's what they do.
Whether there'll be local cask will depend on the brewers, but that'll be the intention. Once they have the red tape sorted they'll have a regular supply line for beer between the UK and the Republic, in both directions. He said that local pubs don't have much discretion on what they sell on draught, but are allowed more freedom with bottles. The Bridge House is doing a big push on Northern Irish beer and cider at the moment, dealing directly with the producers.
So, of course it's wait-and-see, and a long wait too as they don't expect Blackrock to open until the summer, but the signs look good to me.