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WhatPub goes live

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted October 10, 2013
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem: One of many pubs featured on the new website. (Check bottom for credit)

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has unveiled a new website that details nearly 36,000 different real ale pubs across the UK.

CAMRA, an organisation we here at the Rake & Herald fully support, has launched, a new online pub guide "dedicated to helping the public find the best pubs to suit their needs across Britain".

The website, so a Campaign press release states, is the product of "an extensive two-year project by thousands of CAMRA volunteers" and lists some 47,000 pubs, approximately 35,800 of which serve real ale, "making the site the most definitive online guide to real ale in the UK".

Moreover, WhatPub, which "has been designed to automatically optimise for use on laptops, tablets and mobile devices", offers more than 30 different search options, ranging from dog-friendly pubs to those that offer newspapers or live music.

As yet, though, there is no field for 'Do I get barred if I sick on the barmaid?'

However, to make up for this, around 22,000 of the real ale pub entries include details of the real ales served, so "taking the guess work out of a visit for real ale lovers".

The answer, by the way, is probably yes.

"CAMRA has developed WhatPub to be the ultimate online pub guide for all pub-goers," explains CAMRA director Andy Shaw.

"It may even help encourage people who have stopped using pubs regularly since WhatPub will help them find the ideal pub to suit their needs."

the Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds
Gets a bit crowded: The Nutshell. (Check bottom for credit)

All WhatPub entries are written by local CAMRA members and then approved by dedicated branch volunteers, with a full entry including a description and pictures of the pub; its address and opening hours; who owns it; the regular real ales stocked and whether the pub also offers guest beers; highlights of the pub's main features, such as the availability of food, etc; a map showing where the pub is located; sat nav and Ordnance Survey (OS) references; and applicable public transport connections.

Furthermore, the website also lists nearby boozers, which is pretty darn handy if you fancy a bit of a crawl.

And if you're a CAMRA member, you can also rate the quality of the real ales available thus helping the Campaign select entries for various local and national publications.

"WhatPub differs from many other pub websites which are based on details provided by the person who owns the pub, who may be a little biased," Shaw observes.

"I would like to thank the thousands of CAMRA volunteers for their time and effort in submitting these entries."

"It is this process that makes WhatPub totally independent."

"WhatPub has plenty more future planned developments but we are very proud of the website and CAMRA hopes everybody will enjoy using it."

And now to whet your appetite, here are few examples of some of pubs covered by the website and what it has to say about them.

The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds, the UK's smallest pub.

"One of the claimants to the title 'England's smallest pub', with an interior measuring only 15 by 7 feet [4.6 m x 2.1 m] and is listed by the Guinness Book of Records. Main drinking area is crowded if more than six people are in the bar at any time. The record for the number of people crammed into the pub is said to be 102 (plus a dog called Blob). Contains various curios, including a mummified cat and old halberd. Function room upstairs. The building dates from the mid-19th century.

The Baltasound Hotel, Shetland, the UK's most northerly pub.

The capital of Shetland, Lerwick, is 70 miles [112.7 km] and two ferry rides away from the most northerly hotel in Britain with 25 guest rooms. At midsummer an almost perpetual daylight exists, known locally as 'Simmer Dim'. The Keen of Hamar nature reserve, home to some unique local species of flora, is within walking distance. Three regular real ales are served.

The Baum, Rochdale, CAMRA National Pub of The Year 2013

A hidden gem within a conservation area, the Baum occupies part of the same building as the Pioneer Museum on an isolated part of Toad Lane, just south of the By-Pass (St Mary's Gate). A split-level inn with old world charm, the conservatory at the rear overlooks a large beer garden. Friendly staff serve ever changing real ales from eight hand pulls – one dedicated to cider, a large choice of worldwide bottled beers and continental lagers on draught. Good, reasonably priced fresh food served daily until 9.00 pm (6.00 pm Sunday). Outside is a covered smoking area. CAMRA branch Pub of the Year 2009 and National Pub of the Year 2013.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham, reputedly the oldest pub in the UK

This famous historic pub is hewn out of the rock on which Nottingham Castle stands. Previously known as the Pilgrim, no one knows for sure how long an inn has stood on this site. There are four bars and sitting rooms downstairs and two further rooms upstairs. One of these, the Rock Lounge, has a case containing the infamous Cursed Galleon; a number of people are reputed to have died after trying to clean it! The Museum room has a tapestry depicting the history of Nottingham. The pub can get crowded as it is very popular with tourists. For those feeling peckish, the pub serves breakfast in the morning and a large selection of starters, main meals and desserts until 8 pm. Outside, there is a courtyard and a seated pavement area. The unusual game of 'ring the bull' is in the front bar.

But are we just making it all up?

Why not check out WhatPub this very minute and decide for yourself?

Go on.

I dare you.

We reckon it's pretty bloody good.

See also Brewing keeps blooming in Blighty, posted 18/9/13.

Picture credit

Top and thumb: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in 2005 by Necrothesp.

Bottom: The Nutshell in 2003 by Keith Evans.

For licensing information click the above links.

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