Good Pub Guide


35th Anniversary Edition

Edited by Fiona Stapley

TURN IT OFF ….  The 35th  anniversary edition of the pub goers’ bible – THE GOOD PUB GUIDE 2017 –is published this week (Thursday, 8th September) and has a strong message for publicans - turn off the music, it’s driving your customers mad!  After badly behaved children as reported in last year’s Guide, it’s the main source of complaint from readers and has been for years.

According to Fiona Stapley, the editor of the Guide: ‘Piped music, canned music, muzak, lift music, airport music – call it what you will, it’s there and our readers loathe it in any shape or form. It enlists bitter complaints from our readers and has done so ever since we started the Guide 35 years ago. It’s such an issue that we have always asked every Main Entry pub since 1983 whether or not they have it, and then clearly state this in each review.’

Comments include:

‘At best it’s bad manners foisting a random choice of music on you that you have not chosen and do not want to hear, at worst, it interferes with people’s hearing.’

‘Somewhere in the past, someone has persuaded publicans that canned music relaxes customers and encourages them to spend more. It doesn’t. People go to pubs to meet their friends, be sociable, have a drink or a meal and discuss the problems of the world.’

Not surprisingly, publicans have strong views.  While some would never dream of spoiling that special pub atmosphere, an equal number feel that background music plays a large and positive part of their business. But as Fiona Stapley comments, ‘in the end it comes down to the question we’ve been asking for years.  Do good pubs need piped music and do the majority of good pubs’ customers want it?  And hand on heart – of all the thousands of pubs we have visited over the many years of producing The Good Pub Guide, it’s pretty rare for us to feel our pub experience has been heightened by what is being played through the speakers above our heads.  It’s clear our readers agree so surely it’s time for all publicans to take note and turn it off …’


National survey of drink prices:  For the first time, the annual national survey shows a very low increase in the average price of a pint. The price increase is just 1p –from £3.46 to £3.47, compared to 15p for the previous year.  However, there is still a whopping 87p-a-pint difference between Herefordshire the cheapest county at £3.21, and London, the most expensive at £4.08 (last year the price difference was 82p-a-pint).   Another finding of this year’s survey is that Britain’s ever-growing range of pubs brewing their own beer typically costs £2.99 a pint which is 48p less than the national average of a pint of beer.

PUB OF THE YEAR 2016: To compete in the Pub of the Year category a pub has to have unanimous enthusiasm from all readers on all aspects of its business – it has to be top of its game.  Pub of the Year 2017 is awarded to the Horse Guards in Tillington, Sussex. A lovely 300-year-old inn with beams, panelling and open fires in rambling rooms, inventive food, local ales and a charming garden. It’s also a peaceful place to stay in cottagey bedrooms.



THE GOOD PUB GUIDE is a national institution – a bible for pub-goers.  Now in its 35th edition, it’s the UK’s No 1 bestselling guide and as invaluable as ever.  With regular feedback from its loyal and eagle-eyed correspondents who look for real warmth and quality of service, it is the pub-goers’ recommendations, backed up by editor inspections, that determine who’s in and who’s out year on year.

THE GOOD PUB GUIDE 2017 (Ebury Press, £15.99) features over 5000 pubs with friendly and informative descriptions. Organised county by county, each section highlights Main Entries that have been fully inspected and carefully selected to warrant their place.  These are followed by a number of shorter Worth A Visit descriptions where outstanding pubs are clearly starred.  This year the Guide welcomes 78 new entries which cater to all pub tastes but all of which share the stamp of real quality. 



  • THE GOOD PUB GUIDE 2017 is published by Ebury Press on September 8, 2016 at £15.99.
  • Fiona Stapley, editor of the guide, is available for interview.
  • See separate press release announcing National Award Winners including Licensee of the Year, Dining Pub of the Year, New Pub of the Year and Value Pub of the Year.
  • See separate press release announcing County Dining Pub of the Year including a national award for Scotland and Wales.
  • All publicans have been informed of their success and are available for interview.  Contact details given on the separate releases.
  • THE GOOD PUB GUIDE app for iPhone and iPad is one of the bestselling UK pub guides in the App Store and consistently in the Food & Drink Top 20.  The 2017 app will be released simultaneously with the book in September. Needs checking – needs checking
  • In addition to over 5000 listings, the Guide contains contributions on current pub topics from some talented, high-profile people – including Euan Ferguson, Neil Rankin, Gabe Cook, Sasha Wilkins.

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