I hadn’t been to a Wetherspoon pub at 9am since Labor was in power and Nokia cell phones were still pretty much a thing. And though I’ve been a shameless Spoon-ian for years, I had yet to visit the Guildford branch after living here for over a year.
The Rodboro buildings are on the outskirts of downtown and bend around the corner from a busy road. Access was however easy thanks to the two passages in front of the pub.
Reading a sign for Steak Club and Curry Club outside the main entrance brought back many happy Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively. Coming in was like coming home.
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A quick count of the early risers inside and there were 15 spread across the huge room, including two tables of four (a family and a group of engineers, in their T-shirts). The others were, like me, loners.
I’ve always thought Wetherspoon’s interiors are an underrated part of the appeal of their 900+ pubs, and the Rodboro was no different. Exposed brickwork, rafters, pipes and steel beams – what’s not to love?
Okay, the colorful rug looked like someone had brought thirty packs of Skittles. But I’ve seen worse and the dark stained wood flooring was a nice design touch.
The main attraction of Wetherspoon is undoubtedly the cheap food and beer. It cost me £3.40 for an egg and sausage muffin, hash browns and bottomless coffee – where else are you going to get that value in a pub?
Of all the people I saw there, two men were drinking a pint. One actually had two of its own and I left before I knew if it was waiting for a friend to arrive or just saving energy.
Another man lamented the realization that the hot drinks machine had run out of his favorite hot chocolate. This drama unfolded seconds before I heard someone sitting in the corner talking earnestly about business on the phone in full English. Wetherspoon pubs sometimes have an unfair reputation for being depressing – the haunt of downs and outs and dregs. I do not think so.
My trip to this pub reminded me that regardless of location and time, if alcohol is on offer, some people will drink it. And why not drink it in a nice venue with well-priced food and a quiet, relaxed atmosphere? (Unless it’s 10 p.m. on a Friday night, of course.)
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