We went to the brand new Wetherspoons next to UCL and here’s how it went

UCL Students rejoice!

What’s one thing a UCL student is deprived of in their university experience? A study space? A timely response to an email? A seat in the Print Room Cafe? Well, yes. But ALSO a hungover brekkie at Spoons.

An integral establishment in UK student life, UCL students have previously had to trek a mile for that poorly poured pint of Stella.

Now, students will be overjoyed to know that the newly opened Captain Flinders is only a seven minute walk away from campus – if you fancy a (minor) step-up from Phineas. We went to its “grand” opening night, and here’s what we think.

After a long, arduous day of studying, we were simply itching for a drink to soothe our dissertation sorrows. The only thought running through our minds was what cider, beer or jug of mystery mix would be our refreshment of choice.

That is, until we actually arrived.

The first disappointment: It took over 10 minutes of waiting for two seats to open up. (Low) quality sells, we guess, and you can’t fault a Wetherspoons for being a little on the small side in Central London. 

The waiting period presented an opportunity to really soak up the interior decor. Considering its sordid history as a seedy strip club, the building was pretty impressively transformed in classic Wetherspoons style into looking like a 50-year-old, garish, living-room style pub.

Unfortunately, we failed to note the carpet, which was apparently uniquely designed and woven on old fashioned loom, costing around £30,000 – a standard for all Wetherspoons locations.

As we were finally seated, we were disconcerted to find our table completely free of mysterious sticky substances – were we really in a Spoons? 

We were met with further doubts when we opened the menu. Perhaps anticipating the desperation of London commuters, a Guinness at The Captain Flinders will set you back a criminal £5.91. A pint of Worthington’s Creamflow Ale will also cost you a pretty penny at £4.03, and at 3.4 per cent ABV, it’s just not worth it.

One upside was that the waiting times here certainly beat the snail’s pace service often experienced at Camden’s Ice Wharf. In what was perhaps only a reflection of the surplus of staff on opening night, our four drinks took a quick four minutes and 17 seconds to arrive, with food being similarly speedy, at a mere seven minutes and 44 seconds. Maybe this is why Tim Martin received his knighthood?

Also a reflection on the staff – who were also pleasantly friendly and chatty by London standards – our pints seemed pretty expertly poured, and cocktails exquisitely balanced (for the price). 10/10 to you guys, we know many of you might be studying too. 

However, before we could get too excited at the prospect of an actually decent Spoons, we were brought harshly, sharply, violently back down to earth.

Pub chips present one of the best aspects of a trip to your local boozer, so when our generous 36 – yes, we counted – golden fingers of fun made an appearance, our mouths were rightfully watering at the prospect.

So imagine our horror upon realising that these were oven chips. Half cooked ones, at that. We knew there was something suspicious about that seven minute turnaround time. 

But in a pleasing turn of events, the singular fried egg we had ordered did come appropriately cooked. And yes, the correct answer is with a runny yolk – the redeeming factor that prevented the deduction of every point earned. 

Despite a couple of minor shortcomings, the overall Spoons experience was, well, Spoons-y. Exactly what is needed after a long day of studying.

Really, any aspects of mediocrity only added to the ambience of being in a Wetherspoons. Unless you’ve been desperately craving pub chips all day – if that’s what you want, make the trek to Kings Cross, Camden or Holborn.

When the time came for us to depart and begin our voyages across the freezing London streets, we were left feeling moderately satisfied, slightly tipsy, and terribly nostalgic for our hometown Spoons.

Spoons therapy had done its job – we were momentarily freed from dissertation drudgery and the dread of tomorrow’s 9AM. 

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