What’s the big deal with Wetherspoons?

Wetherspoons, or as we all might know it more as ‘Spoons’, has without a doubt caused a huge effect on typical bars and pubs with their different style of service and cheap costs. But while the huge chain begins to stake a further claim in the Irish food and drink economy, are they really better than the way we know pubs and bars?

The first-ever Wetherspoons opened on December 9th, 1979, in North London and was originally called Martin’s Free House. Thirty-five years later, Wetherspoons came to Ireland as The Three Tun Tavern in Blackrock. Five months later, The Forty Foot opened up in Dun Laoighre which quickly became a hot spot for summer evenings and a pint overlooking the harbour.

Until 2017, ordering food and drink at Wetherspoons was done like a normal bar, with barmen and waiting staff. But during that year, the chain rolled out a new system which has since become a phenomenon in itself. Now when we visit ‘Spoons’, we download the Wetherspoons app and use the table number, to order directly to our table. 

Being able to order from the app as soon as you pick a table cuts down on the time it takes trying to get the attention of a busy waiter. And with the app, you can also easily avail of different deals that they have such as 3 for €10 on shots like apple sours. It also simplifies getting through the chains huge menu of food, with the app splitting them up into different categories like breakfasts, pizzas, sandwiches and so on and so forth.

Another huge benefit that Spoons has to offer is just how unbelievably cheap it can be. With deals of a pizza and a pint for around €10, and a drink costing typically less than a fiver, it’s a huge bonus for our pockets especially for those of us who are students and a bit strapped for cash.

While this relieves the problem of having to disappear from your group of friends or worse, a date, to spend time trying to order from a crowded bar, it has created some problems too.

Jordan Buckley, a second-year student in the National College of Ireland said that Wetherspoons is great because “everything is cheap,” but that a big downside he found was that the “food quality isn’t great.”

“You get what you pay for,” he said simply.

And this might be true. The food served in the restaurant is rather cheap and while this might not always mean that it’s bad, don’t expect a five-star worthy meal when you step in the front door. If you’re more neurotic about what you eat, keep it simple with some pizza or chicken tenders and chips. 

While it can be understandable that the food might not be top-notch because of how cheap it is, there’s more than one downside when it comes to Spoons. They have over 200 seats but despite this, there is a guarantee that if you walk into the place on a Friday or Saturday night, you’ll find yourself having major trouble getting a seat straight away.

This in itself is a huge issue as most people have to do laps of the place just to catch a table with a bit of luck. The cheap eats and drinks are more than likely the root problem of this, but it’s unlikely anyone in their right mind would protest this in order to get a better chance of nabbing a table. If you pop in on a weekday evening though, you’ll have an easier shot of being able to sit down to drink your pint.

Everyone has their own personal preference as to what they prefer when it comes to food and drink. Wetherspoons has undoubtedly caused an effect since it arrived in Ireland just a few short years ago with their new way of ordering and how cheap they sell their food and drink. But with every good thing comes a compromise, and it seems with Wetherspoons it may be the quality. Still, Spoons have something good to offer for everyone.