A website tracking my attempt to publish my own book, "Brighton's Best Pubs". This is a locally produced guide to every pubs and bar in Brighton, the book is a comprehensive guide covering an amazing 300 pubs and bars within the city, utilising a unique pub rating system. Atmosphere, Beer, Barstaff, Food, Entertainment, Decor/Garden and Talent are all rated for each pub/bar. It also features maps, a Club guide and suggested pub crawls.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Pub Rating System

The aim is to provide a fair, balanced and objective assessment of every pub in the city using a standard system so that bars that appear remarkably different in themselves can be compared on a level playing field.

Pub jurors are the key to the system – the more the merrier! They pay unannounced rating visits to pubs and score the unsuspecting hostelry against six different factors.

At the time of going to press there are seven pub jurors spanning a twenty year age range and including a CAMRA member, a cider drinker, a rocker and one woman! This eclectic mix generates a remarkably balanced scoring system. Six of these are Brighton residents, with one living in a nearby village. All of them have lived in the area for at least ten years.

So what are the factors to rate a pub against? Well…..

1. Atmosphere

This is actually the hardest factor to define. It describes that quality about a place that makes you feel happy there. It might be that it’s kicking or that it’s a good place to go with a group of friends. It could be the other people there, or the lack of them. It’s the feel of a pub rather than anything concrete. Mostly these pubs will be comfortably full with a good crowd of people who are enjoying themselves.

  1. Barstaff

Good barstaff are quick to serve the right person with the right drink for the right price. They will chat to you or leave you alone – as you like. They’ll go out of their way to make your drinking experience a pleasant one.

  1. Beer

This is not just beer, but all drinks. To get a good score a pub will serve a good range of high quality drinks for reasonable prices. Obviously there is a heavy focus on beer here, so expect a pub that just serves expensive bottled lager to fare poorly.

  1. D├ęcor/Garden

This is about how a place looks and how comfortable it is. Sunny, well-tended beer gardens, nice art or well-stocked wooden bookcases are a good way to score well, while worn carpets with plastic chairs will have jurors headed for the door.

  1. Entertainment

Encompassing a wide range of diversions from live music, DJs and quizzes through pool, darts, pinball round to newspapers, boardgames and machines. Some Brighton pubs even have cabaret, cinema or saunas!

  1. Food

Obviously this covers the quality of food that a pub serves, with range and price also important elements of the score.

Jurors rank the factors in order of importance to them. The combination of all the jurors’ rankings is used to create a weighting for each factor. These weightings are used to combine the individual scores to create the overall rating for each pub. At the moment by far the most important ratings are, predictably, Atmosphere and Beer. Food is the least important factor in the overall pub rating.

Each juror scores each pub they visit from 0-4 on each factor. All the jurors’ scores are then averaged to produce a reliable group assessment for each pub.

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