Several pubs in my area have been taken over by pub/restaurant chains, which has actually changed (for the better) the amount and frequency that we use them.
Many of these chains are family-friendly, with children not only well catered for on the menu, but also often provided with indoor/outdoor play areas and mini TV screens showing children’s programmes.
But what I’ve particularly noticed is that many of us now think of popping into these pubs just for a coffee. My favourite chain for a coffee break is Wetherspoons, as it offers reasonably priced tea, coffee (including cappuccino and latte) and hot chocolate (topped with whipped cream). The surroundings tend to be comfortable and friendly, with many customers enjoying just a hot drink or a snack, as opposed to an alcoholic drink or a full meal.
With coffee prices much lower than in coffee shops such as Costa and Starbucks, high street branches of Wetherspoons make a handy coffee stop on a shopping trip, or somewhere to pause for refreshment on a family outing – my son loves to have one of their ice cream sundaes while we enjoy a coffee.
To my mind, pubs really are becoming the new coffee shops.
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