At long last Preston, in the shape of the Twelve Tellers in Church Street, has got a posh Wetherspoons.
It has been irksome this past decade-odd to rove the UK and see the decent job this troublesome PubCo has done giving often long-dead but grand buildings a new lease on life.
In the process they pulled off a modern day miracle, creating stylish, comfortable, sociable booze barns.
Yes, Wetherspoons have somehow given booze barns – that great folk demon of binge Britain – a civilised face.
Only the scale of operation (and related economies) remain, the featureless, stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap, tattily appointed warehouse mentality of old a distant memory.
In common with all the more recent Wetherspoons the Twelve Tellers is a joy to behold and to be in.
The restored facade has given the city back a building of which it can be proud, and over the threshold are all the things – decent quality fixtures and fittings, pleasing period detail – of which Wetherspoons themselves can be proud.
The troublesome Weatherspoons, that is.
Why troublesome? Well, it is easy, say, to slag off some multi-national takeaway brands. They strangle local takeaways) and the food they serve is not great.
Wetherspoons are a trickier proposition.
That they are, for example, good news for breweries, particularly the smaller ones, seems obvious.
A trip through the gigantic cask and craft beer offer on my visit Saturday would have been followed by a ride to A&E and possibly a simple but dignified service a week or so later.
Great for punters too. The prices are, not to put too fine a point on it, impossible for any smaller endeavour to match or even get close, on both drink and food (your basic no frills pub fodder, only 25 per cent less than you pay for a similar standard elsewhere).
A different story for pubs in the vicinity, of course. I would expect as a matter of course that one or two doors will close as a result of these doors opening before too long.
And much as I like a good pint in a pub so smart as this, is always good to know there is somewhere else to go for your next, and the one after that.
As I say, troublesome.
No trouble with the ale though, and a pair from the Coach House Brewing Company of Cheshire (a Blueberry and a ‘Bank Job’ – brewed specially for the Twelve Tellers) were fresh and fair flew away.
Plus points for the outdoor/smoking area too, with its striking views of the Guild Hall.
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