Farewell To The Forum

Not a loss to Lincoln but maybe a thorn in the side of Lincoln CAMRA’s 2016 beer festival

J D Wetherspoon has finally let go of its extraneous third Lincoln site. The Forum on Silver Street sold its last “beer and a burger” on Sunday 3rd April and its staff will be moving on to The Ritz, The Square Sail and other nearby Wetherspoon sites.

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Now, riddle me this: will it be missed? Having two Wetherspoon pubs and a Lloyds Bar in such a small city centre already seemed a bit much. Especially as The Forum was largely the same as The Ritz but with slightly fewer art deco features and a more central location.

Tourists and students wanting a cheap and cheerful meal and a reasonable pint can still head to the Brayford Waterfront or down the High Street. Though Wetherspoon does have customers very loyal to its brand, what was a convenient spot for many is now something of a trek across town.

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It will be interesting to see how the loss of The Forum will affect the upcoming Lincoln CAMRA beer festival at the Drill Hall on Thursday 26th – Saturday 28th May. With the side entrance of The Forum a stone’s throw from the Drill Hall it was a perfect spot to grab some food during the festival or a quick pint whilst you waited for the queue to die down.

Steve Renshaw, Lincoln CAMRA Beer Festival Organiser doesn’t think the closure will damage the festival. “I don’t think the closure will affect attendance”, he says “but it will impact on festival-goers and volunteers.”

“Lots of people used to nip across the road for a bit to eat or breakfast before the festival opened. The Drill Hall organise the food during the festival and I doubt whether hey will be putting anything extra on. No doubt other local outlets – such as The Jolly Brewer – will pick up some extra trade.”

Aaron Joyce, Lincoln CAMRA chairman and Volunteers Officer for the festival agrees, “In my opinion it’s going to be missed. The Forum was a handy neighbour to have. We would have our pre-festival breakfast there to set us up for the day.”

“The only negative may be that if we had more food onsite, less people will leave to seek out food so the turnover at the gate may be longer.”

Turnover at the Lincoln beer festival is one of it’s biggest problems and the queue would be considerably more tiresome without the chance to pop into The Forum for a quick pint.

Time for a change of scenery? Aaron says he’d “personally love to have Lincoln Castle as the festival venture but both costs and the need for volunteers would skyrocket”.

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If you fancy volunteering at the 2016 festival head on over to the Lincoln CAMRA website. Free entry and beer tokens for a few hours work? I know I’ll be behind the bar lending a hand.

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In reality we know that J D Wetherspoon itself won’t suffer from this. The monolithic pub company have sold of a couple of dozen pubs recent but they’re still opening more. In just the next few months ten new sites will be opening nationwide.

When you start to approach 1000 different sites it’s probably time for a bit of restructuring and trimming of dead weight.

Fellow pub geeks, will you miss the extra Spoons? Regulars of The Forum, will you switch to The Ritz or The Square Sail or is it time for pastures new? Beer festival goers, will it affect your visit to the festival in May or are you happy so long as you have a nice pint?

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