Come on then, what’s the absolute lairiest Wetherspoons in the country?
Like a fist fight in a pub car park, there can only be one winner
A few days ago, the world as we know it was set ablaze by a video of a mass brawl in a rural Wetherspoons.
The culprit, The Albany Palace in Trowbridge, isn’t alone: this unique brand of chain pubs have a long and glorious history as pits of depravity. Like the Mos Eisley cantina come to life, you will never find a more wretched hive of villainy than your local ‘spoons – and you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here, we present to you a celebration of the most gloriously loose Wetherspoons in the UK. Vote for the lairiest below.
The Albany Palace, Trowbridge
You’ve seen it by now, right? The visual poetry in which around 100 punters at The Albany Bridge started beating the shit out of each other for no discernible reason. It’s, in a word, beautiful.
This is the moment more than 100 people started fighting in Trowbridge Wetherspoons
Posted by The Tab on Monday, February 13, 2017
Tommy Arkle, who filmed the video, said: “Afterwards when I was looking at the video I realised it was a really big fight, even though it didn’t feel like that at the time.
“I’ve seen fights before but definitely not to that extent.”
The Asparagus, Battersea
“Ah, the Asparagus, that sounds like a nice pub,” you think as you stroll up Battersea High Street. After all, a more middle class name for a spoons there has never been.
But by the way you have to pick your way around the vomit as you stroll past every Saturday and Sunday morning, you know it’s all a lie.
The Bridge House, Belfast
If you want to see sad fat Irish men with dubious facial scars drunk before midday, then you’re in luck! The Bridge House in Belfast is your mecca.
There’s no atmosphere other than “keep your fucking head down” – you don’t need music when all you can hear is hoarse screaming in Belfast accents. The bar staff stare straight ahead, dead-eyed and unseeing. You drink there when you’re skint before going out out, but only before darkness falls. Then you fucking run, and even the round the clock bouncers look at you enviously when you leave.
You’re not supposed to wear football tops in there, which seems excessive, but I once saw a group of blokes (Poland and Northern Ireland fans respectively) knocking the fuck out of each other on the street outside the bar so maybe that’s justified. Here’s how lairy The Bridge House is: I asked my dad, the only person I ever met who likes drinking in it, to describe why he’d call it his treasured local.
His text back said: “It’s a fucking dive. It’s full of cunts. Smells like vomit. I wouldn’t piss on the carpet.”
And he’s one of the nice customers.
The Crockerton, Cardiff
Ever wanted to bump into every single person you went to high school with? Head to The Crockerton. By day it’s your standard spoons but by night it’s a sweaty, packed out club.
Everyone you see is holding at least two pitchers and fully bypassing a glass in favour of straws. By the time midnight hits you’re either pulling or you’re fighting with a stray member of a hen party. There’s no in between.
The Diamond Tap, Newbury
The DT isn’t particularly lairy Monday-Thursday. Come Friday however when Pitbull and Skepta drop it’s a fucking madhouse. With the VKs selling out basically every weekend, the mix of hyper teens and older locals looking for a wild night out can only be bad news.
The Golden Bee, Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon isn’t what most would view as traditionally lairy. Aside from the piss-soaked-regulars frittering away their pension on Ruddles and a few High School kids in with a cut passport and communal driver’s license, there’s not a lot going on.
But consider the potential violence contained in Roger’s ham fist, the soon-to-boil-over pubescent rage filling the Year 13 trying to learn how to use the fruity. Imagine them coming together. All the regional xenophobia and repressed sexuality exploding in one beautiful frenzied expression. That would be lairy.
The Great Central, Fallowfield
A man in a bike helmet once tried to fight me in here. That is all.
The Hope & Champion, Beaconsfield
It’s a Wetherspoons, in a motorway service station, and that’s just something that was allowed to happen.
The Last Post, Loughton
Didn’t get into Nu Bar? Not got the right shoes on for Luxe? No bother. There’s always the Last Post.
Sure there’s paintings on the walls and old people in every corner, but this place gets loose. It’s smaller, allowing more room for the kids who didn’t like each other at school to elbow their pint out of their hand on the way past.
Lloyds Bar, Nottingham
Bouncers from 2pm gives you a solid indication that this is actually a spoons. All Lloyds bars are owned by Wetherspoons, but this one is more like the pub than others and mainly for its clientele. More people are kicked out than are queueing up by 10pm, after all.
The Lord High Constable of England, Gloucester
Despite its lofty-sounding name and its relative newness (it opened in 2015), The Lord High Constable of England at Gloucester Docks is as rough-and-ready as they come.
Take this story from Gloucestershire Live, for example, which tells of late-night revellers drinking, fighting and, yes, throwing bottles of beer at boats – which is probably the most dockside Wetherspoons thing to have ever taken place, ever.
The Narrows, Abingdon
Abingdon is known for being a quaint little town full of extortionately priced pubs – we’re talking £5-a-pint on average. But there remains one beacon of hope for cheap boozing – the Narrows.
As the only affordable place in the entire town, it’s naturally the lairiest with the masses flocking for endless Jagerbombs, dragging Abingdon’s precious reputation to the ground. There’s even a one-in-one-out system on Christmas Eve – an unheard of phenomenon in Abingdon until the Narrows was born.
A normal night can swiftly descend into a messy one as the clientele is a mixture of deranged locals and everyone you went to school with, meaning a renaissance of year 11 beef can be expected on each visit.
The Prince of Wales, Cardiff
Right, yeah, there’s this game, yeah, called rugby and which basically at it’s core, right, is just fat dads running into each other.
So when these two teams called England and Wales play each other at “rugby,” all the dads in the vicinity that weren’t good enough to be in the starting XV, they go to the Prince of Wales and run into each other there.
The Rodboro Buildings, Guildford
First thing to note, literally no one calls it the Rodboro buildings. It’s spoons, it’s lairy and it’s opposite that troubling traffic island where girls from Casino hand you flyers like you have a choice of where you’ll end up.
Spoons in Guildford will always guarantee you a few key experiences. 1. You will go there at Christmas and see everyone you avoided at school 2. There will be a hen party aggressively pre-drinking before Flares 3. You will do shots 4. You will see a lot of people vaping in the smoking area. 4. You will leave as soon as you can.
Sawyers Arms, Maesteg
It’s actually quite nice for a spoons but that’s what you’d expect when it only arrived in 2015. Whether you’re in need for somewhere to carry on you pre-drinks before the sesh or just a cheeky catch up with the girls, it’s a fairly decent place to go. The bar is big enough and has enough bar staff to make sure you’re not waiting there for hours, even on a bank holiday.
One of the downsides though is the probability of seeing your boyfriends’ ex girlfriend and all of her friends or someone that you kind of hate, the joy of living in a small village. After you do, one of two things will probably happen: someone will kick off, or you will do your very best to avoid all of them (only after your best friend tells you it’s not worth it).
But at least you can go and hide out in the toilets and take selfies in the wonderful outfit length mirror they’ve supplied us.
The Square Peg, Birmingham
The owner of the longest bar in Europe until a few years ago (unless that’s as much of a bullshit urban myth as it sounds), the Figure of Eight is home to some… interesting characters.
Seriously, you’re not a real Brummie unless you’ve had a chat with one of the punters propping up the bar in there at 10am. One once lifted up his shirt and showed me a scar running all the way down his torso. He claimed it was from when he got into a fight with his neighbour’s cat.
The Tally Ho, Finchley
The Tally Ho can’t really be that lairy with such a posh twat name, but it’s lowkey lairy tbh. You can’t move for 18-year-olds and shit eyebrows in the smoking area, and the night is always perfectly seasoned with the smell of piss from that one guy who’s always drinking Strongbow and can’t blow his nose properly.
You’ve got to get there before 8pm on Christmas eve to even get the slightest chance to get in before the one-in-one-out system, and there’ll inevitably be a fight between those two guys who always beefed in secondary school and clearly aren’t over it.
The Tumble Inn, Pontypridd
What’s more regional Welsh spoons than an all-out brawl between the pub’s bouncers and the local rugby team?
That’s what happened at The Tumble Inn, where three Pontypridd players were prosecuted for fighting with the door staff after one was escorted out for his “behaviour on the dancefloor.”
“The prosecution can see how matters in that short space of time in that confined space quickly became out of control,” the prosecutor explained in court. “They are all rugby players and well-built and big men, as are the door staff.”
So bad it didn’t even get its own name, the Wetherspoons in Leeds train station is everything grey, bleak and angry that the brand has come to represent. Lacking any of the cheap and cheerful charm of Beckett’s Bank or the Cuthbert Broderick in the town centre, the station spoons is a soulless haunt filled with missed trains and crushed dreams.
Your friends whisper it’s “the most violent spoons in the country,” even though they have absolutely no evidence to suggest so. Still, puffing a cigarette on the miserable “terrace” while hen parties wail and footie fans scream, it’s not hard to see red.
The Wyndham Arms, Bridgend
Stereotypically linked to the elder generation who like to drink, smoke and socialise all day and all night, I’d say that the Wyndham Arms does pull a decent crowd on an average Friday/Saturday night out in Bridgend – even if you do have to walk past them and a massive cloud of smoke to get to the front door.
With drinks being at decent prices, it’s one of the go-to places if you’re in need of somewhere to get the gang together before you move on to the slightly better clubs around. But if you’re unfortunate and the first to arrive and don’t bag one of the very few booths at the back of the pub, everyone else that’s coming along will not let you live it down for the rest of the night.
Contributors: Oli Dugmore, Tom Jenkin, Daisy Bernard, Roisin Lanigan, Bella Eckert, Niamh Reese, Lucy Woodham, Lowri Herbert, Ellie Rice, Laura Bell, Marisa Dervish and Josh Kaplan
Think your local spoons should be in the running? Tell us why in 200 words at firstname.lastname@example.org