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We went on a trip to every Spoons in Bournemouth to find out which is best

Spoiler: It’s not the one on Winton High Street


Need a break from writing the dreaded dissertation? Or are you a student who has just started the semester with too much time on their hands?

Either way, there’s only one place for many students to kick back and let off some steam: Spoons.

With its notoriously cheap, good-value food and drinks, plus lively atmosphere, there’s almost no problem that can’t be solved by a Spoons session with all your mates.

Now, if you asked most BU students how many Wetherspoons actually exist in Bournemouth, I venture that many would answer two or maybe three. Little do they know, there is in fact four of them all competing for your hard-earned (or not) leisure time.

On a mission to find out which is best, myself and a couple of friends headed out to experience them all and compare notes, whilst having interesting academic discussions… such as whether you can take paracetamol with alcohol.

The Moon in the Square

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A classic pres before a night out

This is perhaps the best-known Spoons in Bournemouth as it is right slap-bang in the middle of the town centre, next to Halo and opposite the BH2 complex.

Its prime location makes it perfect for pres or for a light meal before heading to the nearby Odeon.

It is by far the biggest in Bournemouth with lots of seating areas on its main floor but also an upstairs and even an outside section.

Also, they are on a mission to differentiate itself from other Spoons in the area – a former employee told me that they want it to be the best in the area and more fancy than what you expect a normal Wetherspoons to be.

This was certainly evident by the mass cleanliness as every surface sparkled, while our food was served almost instantly – piping hot.

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Hangover cure even before you start drinking

The atmosphere was quite lively with loads of discussions going on around us. However, it tended to be mostly locals rather than students.

The interior was nice with lots of paintings on the wall showing old photos of Bournemouth Square in 1922 and a classic Spoons carpet.

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Calling all history students – old pics of Spoons' historic legendary

However, blessings can turn into a curse and during prime time – due to its popular location in the middle of Bournemouth Square and despite its vastness – getting a seat can become difficult, sometimes forcing you to move along to another of the Spoons in the area… as we did next.

Verdict: 8/10 – lived up to its billing as the cleanest, fanciest Spoons in the area but too popular for its own good when it comes to finding a place to sit and enjoy it all.

The Mary Shelley

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Basically a club in a pub

Potentially the most under-the-radar of all the Spoons in Bournemouth, you’ll find the Mary Shelley tucked away in a little corner of the high street next to the Superdry store.

Walking in, it was immediately clear that there were more students here and there is certainly one key reason for this: the student discount.

With an A-list card, you can get 20% off food and drink, giving you all the reason to spend your time there. And even better, on Saturday evenings it turns into a nightclub until 2am – amazing, due to the lack of student nights in Bournemouth on this night.

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Just living it up to be honest

Its location makes it good for freshers living in halls and the hidden away nature of the location means you’ll never struggle to find a seat.

Despite how this sounds, the atmosphere was still rather lively but more of a relaxed, chilled out vibe across the one floor that encompasses the pub. The staff are always friendly and the food was good despite the service time taking a little longer than the Moon in the Square.

It was still pretty spacious and clean with the nicest carpets.

All this and more allowed me to heal the scars that remained of learning that the all-day brunch had been removed from the menu. Devastated is an understatement.

Verdict: 9/10 – A great vibe. Being less busy and allowing you to part with less of your student loan makes the Mary Shelley the perfect Spoons for us hungover students.

The Christopher Creeke

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Where have you been all of your life if you haven't been here????

An absolute freshers fave! This Spoons is located on Holdenhurst Road right next to all of the halls.

It has a lively atmosphere with a slightly bizarre mix of first years and, shall we say, older men.

It has a spacious upstairs, however, this hardly lets any light in through the windows so can feel a bit stuffy. It also contains a beer garden on this level – perfect for cracking open your first Kopparberg summer fruits as soon as the sunshine hits.

The interior was nice and homely with chandelier style lights, but the paintings simply don’t add up to what the other pubs have to offer.

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The way my head turns every time the waiter comes near me with food

The breakfast served here is fantastic, which I experienced virtually every weekend of my first year, and the great news is that you don’t even need to walk more than 5 minutes away from your halls.

This Spoons contained the most students, with topics such as feminism being debated, and for many, this will always be the best Spoons as it brings back memories of your first year (aka, simpler times).

This was before every lecture actually became compulsory, when you had a bus to take you to uni every day and assignments really could be completed in one night.

Verdict: 8/10 – You simply can’t beat a classic. The nostalgia associated with this Spoons will always make it a winner.

The Parkstone and the Heatherlands

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Get a pizza this Wetherspoons

Absolutely unheard of by freshers, this Spoons is located on Winton High Street, next to the student housing area that contains almost all second and third year students (besides Charminster).

It is again perfect for pres and has a welcoming feel with many of the staff being fellow students themselves.

It is the smallest of all the Spoons, quite compact and when we were there, it surprisingly contained more locals than students.

There was quick service, but the big flaw was that the food served was absolutely awful.

The garlic bread barely had any garlic, and the chips were in fact French fries, which apart from not tasting nice, were simply not the traditional Spoons chips we were expecting and get everywhere else…

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Actual heartbreak over the 'skinny chips'

I was told by an employee that this is in fact because Winton doesn’t have a fryer or grill, so everything is oven cooked. This Spoons has so much potential due to its location – however the real world isn’t perfect and neither is this Spoons.

Verdict 6/10 – The fact that the food lags behind the others simply can’t be overcome . But, with a fryer, this could be up for re-evaluation. For now: stick to purely drinks here!

And the winner is…The Mary Shelley.

Its discount, added nightclub and less crowded areas simply could not be outfought by anything the other Spoons has to offer.

Honourable mentions do go to the Christopher Creeke and the Moon in the Square, however, if rent and Cameo are hitting you hard, the Mary Shelley is the one place to go for me.

Soz, Winton.