KAMera- Eye on the Ontrade 109

Afternoon all,

We hear over and over again how “food” is the saviour of the pub industry, but there are still many successful pubs/bars who DON’T have a food offer and are still succeeding. This week I’ve been out and about visiting pubs in the Lancashire area. One particular venue really challenges that current food-focused view of the British Pub industry.

The John O’ Gaunt in Lancaster is a great example of a wet-led pub that doesn’t do food at all, and doesn’t need to because it has it’s own USP.

The pub is the number one place on Trip Advisor for nightlife in Lancaster; and their USP is music; they have live music every night of the week and all day through til close on Saturdays and Sundays. This pub is about the experience, the character and, indeed, the characters. Characters? I hear you ask?

Yes, turns out that the pub has hosted all sorts of characters, from Jim Bowen to Prince Charles; and Oliver Reed drank there regularly. He used to go the gents and lean his head on the wall to stay upright, whilst he spent a penny. So they made him a head rest. And now there’s a plaque commemorating the great man himself- picture below.


The John O’ Gaunt recently took part in the Lancaster Music Festival, which saw 60,000 people come to the city and their takings tripled in that one week.

There are lots of reasons that the pub is popular, but one of them is this, straight from the Manager’s mouth; “We stick with what we are good at, there’s no point in us hosting a quiz night or the like; there are other pubs around here that do that far better than us, so we focus on music. Our success is down to the fact that we all love our jobs, we all love music and in fact, a lot of the staff here are also musicians, so that helps with the atmosphere of the pub as it means that we can all relate to the people who are in here- they’re music lovers, and so are we.”

Recent KAM-run research tells us that , on average, a pub that has live music on a weekend will see an increase in profits of 23%, and that, for Millennials, Thursday is a favourite night for music to be hosted in their local.

This weekend I’m spending some time down in Surrey with friends at a gig on Saturday and a pub lunch on Sunday. A calm one in preparation for a busy week ahead that includes a lot of pre-Christmas drinks with some exceptionally alcoholic friends and taking my eldest little angel to see the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. He’s 17, and it’s his birthday present from me, I think his willingness to go with his Stepmother to a rock gig means he thinks I’m cool, right…?

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to keep sending in your pictures and examples of best in class pubs and bars!



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