What Are Gastropubs: The Classic Pub Trend

Marketing 15 minute read 7th July 2023

What are gastropubs? It is a popular question. Gastropubs mark a specific sort of restaurant business. Not just a pub and not quite a restaurant, a gastropub is a unique halfway point. It looks and functions as a pub but serves restaurant-quality food. According to hospitality legends, the classic pub trend became an official ‘thing’ way back in 1991. David Eyre and Mike Belben transformed The Eagle pub in London for the first time focusing on high-quality food while running a drinking establishment.

Pioneering a gastro experience is one of the most exciting ways to push your pub business. There are gastrobars available too, for a more upscale experience. It is all down to you and what drinking establishment you wish to transform. A gastro venue is one of the most fun types of restaurants in the US to run. You can be fixing menu prices and planning seasonal ingredients alongside a focus on craft beer and house brews.

Are you ready to learn more about the industry? Learning how to open any restaurant is hard, but gastropubs are an exciting way to approach this challenge. This guide will prepare you for everything you need to know.

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What Are Gastropubs: The Ultimate Definition of a Gastropub

So, let’s get super clear on this. What are gastropubs exactly? The definition of a gastropub is, in short, a pub with a food focus. Rather than just serving bar snacks or sandwiches, this venue type takes food seriously. It serves elaborate meals with seasonal ingredients prepared by an executive chef—not just bartenders scrambling for bags of chips. It is somewhere that you can go for a drink but also go for a dining experience.

For many venues, they physically divide the areas for drinking and dining. By dividing them, this helps to create a more clear cut balance between its two services. You can often expect table restaurants adjoining the ‘pub’ rooms, creating areas for formal dining. You’ll enjoy highly decorative dining areas. And the business can take extra steps to distinguish it, like white tablecloths and silver cutlery.

At some gastro venues, general drinkers aren’t allowed to enter this area without a table reservation for food. This adds to the exclusive atmosphere. It also proves that the pub is taking its restaurant counterpart service seriously.

To summarize, gastropubs are a blend of a pub and restaurant. This restaurant type takes food service very seriously yet still offers a pub environment for those just wanting a drink. It is a fun and flexible restaurant business and very popular amongst customers.

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What Food and Drinks Are Served in Gastropubs: What Are Gastropubs Serving

Now that you know the exact answer to the question of ‘what are gastropubs,’ let’s look at some finer details. What can you expect from gastropubs? And more specifically, what food and drink are served in gastropubs?

Starting with drinks, you can typically expect a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. Pubs usually have the largest selection of beers, occasionally offering house brews. The beers come in bottles or kegs on tap. You order at the bar - using the tap signs to decide if you aren’t familiar with the options.

Some pubs take things one step further and specialize in craft beer. So keep your eye out for unusual choices. And as a business owner, consider how to make your beer range more exciting while still catering to the classics.

These venues serve bottles of cider, wine, and, very occasionally, basic cocktails. As a general rule of thumb, pubs aren’t the place for fancy mixology. Try your luck at a gastrobar if you want a fancy cocktail drink. They also serve soft drinks on tap and in the bar fridges.

In terms of food, it massively depends on the venue and country. In the UK, they tend to elaborate on basic English pub food dishes. For instance, serving fish and chips alongside seasonal vegetables and some slightly posher tartare sauce. In the US, these venues have comfort dishes like mac and cheese and steak. Think pub food but glam. Dish presentation alone is one of the defining differences.

The hybrid pub and restaurant theme means most gastro venue dishes are adaptations of comfort food and cultural classics. The most profitable gastropubs get this balance perfectly. Like upscale versions of your favorite dish in childhood. And for dessert, you can expect classics, too, like sticky toffee puddings and apple pie. Or a cheese board with sherry or port wine if you’d prefer.

What Are Gastropubs Known For, and Who Do They Attract

What are gastropubs known for? Comfort food with a slightly luxurious twist. And they attract a large crowd because of it. They have a reputation for providing adaptation dishes - dishes that you know and are familiar with yet have unique twists.

Everyone knows what a cottage pie is, but a gastropub might add local seasonal ingredients. Or present it in an extra special way. They are a great place to stop by for a treat. Especially if you fancy a home-cooked meal without the hassle of cooking at home.

In terms of a general customer demographic, gastropubs are tricky to narrow down to attracting just one group of people. They are fit for everyone. They are more casual than most restaurants, so they are suitable for families nervous about dining out with children. Usually traditional in decor, they attract an older crowd looking for a classic haunt. You are also likely to stumble across these venues on hiking routes and busy streets. Pubs are in spots of high demand, right?

They’re also known for being somewhere warm to escape the outdoors and dry off or warm up. Because they cling to this original association, it makes them extra special. They have more of a welcoming feel than most restaurants. This is great for getting people over the threshold. People can just sit at a bar and grab one drink with minimal commitment to a full menu.

Similarly, gastropubs have the advantage over standard pubs because they convey a different caliber. Because of the more formal dining experience, they convey more authority and a trustworthy approach to food.

Gastropubs are welcoming and trustworthy. They serve dishes just familiar enough to tempt you. Yet they add enough of a luxury spin to justify spending on a dining experience.

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Top 6 Benefits of Gastropubs: What Are Gastropubs Allure for Start-Ups

What are gastropubs’ allure? What are the benefits of running them compared to running any other business in the hospitality industry? Gastropubs are special for many reasons, and they massively benefit both the customer and business owner. We’ll take a look at the top 6 benefits of gastropubs.

1. Low Upfront Investment

One massive benefit of choosing to run a gastropub is that they have a low, upfront investment. Restaurants require a lot of decor, extensive menus, and dish tastings. This venue type thrives off of rustic interior design. You can open one after minimal adjustments to the building’s interior. And since you don’t need a huge rotating menu, you won’t need as much menu design and dish tastings.

Gastropubs are much simpler and more casual, meaning a lower upfront investment.

2. Easy to Flip

A huge benefit of choosing to run this type of venue is that you can easily choose to flip them. You can quickly turn a standard pub into a gastro venue. And if the business goes downhill, nothing stops you from turning your new venue back into a pub. It is a great halfway step up the ladder for anyone running a pub and looking to expand the business.

This easy flip between restaurant, pub, and gastropub is a minimal commitment approach to the hospitality industry.

3. Not Demanding of Experience

Hey, a Michelin star here and there helps, but it won’t be necessary. This venue type is somewhere that beginners can learn and earn their stripes. While there is an expectation for good food, there’s not sky high standards. This means that a major benefit of running this venue type is that it isn’t demanding of experience.

4. Allows You To Capitalize on Delivery Apps

If you open a gastropub, you can capitalize on delivery apps and access other customers. Delivery apps target those not wanting to eat out and instead wanting to tuck up in bed with a movie. You get double the sales and improve restaurant sales - great right? It is a huge benefit when you can sell food in different ways. You can also optimize an alcohol delivery service.

5. What Are Gastropubs’ Ultimate Advantage? They Make Your Business More Competitive Than Other Local Pubs

Our final benefit of gastropubs is that they make you more competitive than other local pubs. Your customers won’t have to leave your pub when they get hungry - you offer a solution on-site. This appeals more than a pub nearby offering no food and making customers walk in the rain to a takeout. Convenience sells, and convenience will give you the competitive edge to succeed in your area.

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What Are Gastropubs’ Importance in the Hospitality Industry?

Gastropubs are worth a lot in the hospitality industry. What are gastropubs important for? A lot. Gastropubs meet a unique need for a social place and a respectable dining option. Instead of choosing one or the other or organize traveling between two venues, these venues meet both needs. Restaurant owners attract double the number of restaurant and pub customers. While customers get the ultimate level of flexibility.

Gastropubs are casual spaces that provide a low key environment for certain customers, like families with young children. Yet also an upscale enough venue to conjure up authority as a food venue. This authority is essential as it encourages people to take the food menu seriously. This means that they view dining at the gastropub business as a treat and indulgence - justifying higher food costs. They are massively important, treading a careful line in the hospitality industry.

Do you want some extra help with establishing and marketing a gastropub? The question of ‘what are gastropubs’ is a good one, but we can help you develop your knowledge further. At Beambox, we are always happy to assist you with marketing your hospitality venture. As experts in WiFi marketing and hospitality businesses like gastropubs, we can help you in your journey to success.

Beambox offers the best all-in-one WiFi marketing platform. We utilize a dynamic approach to connect, attract, and keep customers happy. Start your Beambox free trial today, and let us help you maximize your gastropub’s potential.

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