Grab a beer-to-go at Britain's first motorway pub

2014-01-22 12:15
London -  Britain's first motorway pub started serving pints on Tuesday, with opponents warning that drivers risked giving in to temptation.  

The Hope and Champion, run by pub chain J D Wetherspoon, is on the M40 motorway linking London and Britain's second city Birmingham.

It is open from 04:00 to 01:00 seven days a week, with alcohol served from 09:00. The pub-cum-restaurant located near the town of Beaconsfield, west of London, serves traditional British ale as well as non-alcoholic and hot drinks.

The BBC said most early morning motorists Tuesday had a traditional English cooked breakfast and a cup of tea, though one man bought a pint of beer just after 09:00. Manager Steve Baldwin said the pub primarily serves motorway users, "but its facilities are also available to the surrounding community".

Cans and bottles of alcoholic drinks can already be bought in shops at motorway services but The Hope and Champion is the first dedicated bar at a service stop.

Road safety groups said it was a worrying development. "The opening of a pub on a motorway is deeply concerning, and presents a potentially deadly temptation to drivers," warned Ellie Pearson of campaign group Brake.

The RAC roadside breakdown service said a survey of 2 000 people showed that only 12% supported putting pubs into motorway service stations.

"The public appear to be very much against the introduction of motorway pubs," said RAC spokesman Pete Williams. "This decision seems to be at odds with common sense. In our view this is a risky and frankly unnecessary move.

"Of all the places to open a pub, why choose a motorway service station? The temptation to drink and drive can only be increased by easier access to alcohol."

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