35 Slightly Surprising Facts About Wetherspoon's
Anyone fancy a Wetherspoon's wedding?
1. The first pub opened in Colney Hatch Lane, Muswell Hill, north London, on 9 December 1979. It was called Martin's Free House for the first month, but then changed to Wetherspoon's.
2. J.D. Wetherspoon doesn't exist and is a name invented by the chain's founder, Tim Martin.
3. The J.D. bit comes from J.D. "Boss" Hogg, the sheriff in the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard.
4. Wetherspoon was the name of Martin's old geography teacher, who said the boy would amount to nothing. He was a teetotaller.
5. In 2010 it was reported that Martin was worth £750 million.
6. He is also 6' 6".
7. Martin spends two days a week visiting Wetherspoon's branches around the country unannounced and assessing their quality.
8. There wasn't a Wetherspoon's outside of London until 1993.
9. In July 1998 20 new Wetherspoon's branches opened, including seven in one day, the most ever.
10. In 2001 J.D. Wetherspoon was a multi-award-winner at the Loo of the Year awards.
11. In 2002 Wetherspoon's started the "breakfast revolution", opening all their pubs for breakfast six days a week.
12. Nowadays all Wetherspoon's pubs open six days a week at 7am at the latest.
13. Every year the Opera House, a Wetherspoon's in Tunbridge Wells, closes for three days to return to its original use and put on an opera.
14. The world's largest synchronised wine-tasting event was held at Wetherspoon's in 2008, with a total of 17,540 people attending.
15. More than 35,000 people work at Wetherspoon's.
16. The Oscar-tipped film The Big Short is based on a true story about men making millions of dollars from predicting the 2007 financial crash. One of the men involved in the real-life story was on holiday in Exmouth when he needed to do a deal, so he went to The Powder Monkey, a local Wetherspoon's, to work for four days because it had the most reliable Wi-Fi in town.
17. There is a Tumblr dedicated to all the different Wetherspoon's carpets.
18. All new Wetherspoon's carpets are individually designed.
19. Martin was inspired to open his first pub by George Orwell's description of his perfect pub.
20. Orwell's fictional ideal pub was called The Moon Under Water and there are now 14 Wetherspoon's pubs with that name.
21. No Wetherspoon's plays background music – a detail inspired by Orwell.
22. But J.D. Wetherspoon's Lloyd's No. 1 bars do play music and have regular club nights.
23. Many Wetherspoon's pubs are in listed buildings.
25. In 2013 J.D. Wetherspoon opened its 900th pub. It is now close to having 1,000 branches.
26. There are 40 Wetherspoon's hotels.
27. The first pub in a motorway service station in Britain is a Wetherspoon's that opened in 2014. It is open from 4am to 1am and is licensed to serve alcohol from 9am.
28. The oldest member of staff is 90-year-old kitchen worker Emily Bullers.
29. Wetherspoon's fan Mags Thompson has visited 936 Wetherspoon's pubs and plans to visit them all.
30. She started because she got bored waiting for her husband, a railway enthusiast.
31. The dress code listed on the Wetherspoon's website says: "Customers are requested to remain fully clothed throughout their visit, including wearing shoes."
32. The most calorific item on the Wetherspoon's menu that is not classed as a sharing platter is the Large Mixed Grill at 1,968 cal and 213% of the daily recommended allowance for saturated fat.
33. In January the Highland Burger, which is like a normal burger with haggis and served with a whisky sauce, was served in all Wetherspoon's pubs in the week leading up to Burns Night.
34. Wetherspoon's claims you can briefly see The Knight's Templar pub, Chancery Lane, in The Da Vinci Code.
35. You can get married in The Knight's Templar for £3,000 all in, including a three-course meal for 100 people, a DJ, and table wine. TABLE WINE. The building is the former Union Bank and really pretty, with very nice loos.