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I recently concluded a poll asking the question: “What gives you a positive feeling about a pub?” What I meant was not what leads you to go a particular pub in the first place, but what once you’re there what makes you think “ah, yes, this is all right.” There were 69 responses – not too bad, although well down on the 115 of its negative mirror image, and the results were as follows:

1. Real fires: 57 (82%)
2. Lots of handpulls: 48 (69%)
3. Beer garden: 37 (53%)
4. Sign saying “No children”: 34 (49%)
5. Home-made food: 33 (47%)
6. Small separate rooms: 32 (46%)
7. No piped music: 31 (44%)
8= Attractive bar staff: 28 (40%)
8= Friendly pub cat or dog: 28 (40%)
10. Free newspapers: 27 (39%)
11. Wood panelling: 26 (37%)
12. Free WiFi: 23 (33%)
13= Bar Billiards or other unusual pub games: 20 (28%)
13= Covered, heated smoking area: 20 (28%)
15= Bench type seating: 17 (24%)
15= Live music: 17 (24%)

A wide spread of responses there, with “real fires” not surprisingly topping the poll. Personally I don’t necessarily see “lots of handpulls” as a plus point, as I’ve been in too many pubs where the number of customers is scarcely greater than the number of pumps and you just know you’re going to get a warm, flat one. Interesting that “live music” was joint bottom – I know to many pubgoers this is a major plus point, but equally for the casual customer it is likely to be a turn-off.