History of the Gastropub

11th April 2019


The term 'Gastropub' was coined in 1991 and refers to a restaurant and bar that serves both high quality beer and food. Although the term was thought up as late as this, there were certainly brew pubs that had been running like a gastropub throughout the 1980's.

Traditionally, little emphasis was put on the serving of food in pubs. If there was food, it was normally a basic cold meal, such as a Ploughman's Lunch. It is widely accepted that the 1984 opening of Spinnakers Brew Pub in Victoria, British Columbia gave rise to this tradition of venues. It was the first ever custom-built brewpub in Canada, and paved the way for an uprising of brewpubs and craft breweries. As Spinnakers included a more elaborate food menu, some people consider this to be the World's oldest gastropub.

The purchase of The Eagle Pub in Clerkenwell, London, by David Eyre and Mike Belben was the catalyst for the term 'Gastropub' to arise. This kicked off an early 90's revolution with many venues taking up this style and the term 'pub grub' began to include everything from steak and ale pie to a Sunday roast and pasties to shepherd's pie. As the 90's went on, they started to include an even wider variety of foods, with burgers, lasagne and chili con carne becoming more common place.

This phenomenon has spread across the UK and US and even to Norway. In 2012, the term 'Gastropub' was added to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. This was also the year that The Hand & Flowers became the first, and remains the only, gastropub to receive two Michelin stars.

Gastropubs are widely credited with creating a more welcoming atmosphere within pubs, especially to women and the wider society. Instead of mourning a past tradition that no longer exists, we should celebrate the increased variety that gastropubs offer us over their predecessors!

While you're here, why not check out our Gastropub Pinterest board for some inspiration?