On the Line / Bar & Nightclub / What is a Gastropub?

What is a Gastropub?

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1. What is a gastropub?

A gastropub is a full-service restaurant focusing on unique craft beer and well-executed comfort food. The name is a portmanteau of “gastronomy” and pub. Here, the culinary experience is just as important as the beer. 

Though the quintessential dish is the burger, most gastropubs have ambitious menus that venture far beyond typical bar fare. Artisanal ingredients, innovative techniques, and international twists on comfort food are all hallmarks of a gastropub menu. 

The beers can be equally exciting, many with a rotating selection of seasonal cask and draft ales. A gastropub might brew beer on-site, and the metal brewhouses and cellar tanks may be visible to customers as part of the décor. Gastropubs are warm, friendly, and above all, delicious: both a community gathering space and a culinary destination.

2. What is the history of gastropubs?

Beer historians say the first gastropub was The Eagle, which debuted in London in 1991. Eschewing the typical drab fare served in English pubs, The Eagle took cooking up a notch with higher-quality food and drink. 

Gastropubs were enjoyed throughout England and Europe in the 1990s, finally arriving on U.S. shores as “foodie” culture emerged in the early aughts. Places like The Spotted Pig in New York and Father’s Office in Los Angeles kicked off a nationwide trend for these bar-slash restaurants offering a unique beer and food experience. Now you can find gastropubs in cities all across the country.

3. What is typically on a gastropub menu?

You can expect a curated and thoughtful variety of seasonal beers, either brewed locally or imported. Stouts, IPAs, lagers, ciders, ales, and hefeweizen all show up at gastropubs, each with its own flavor profile and alcoholic content. Servers are well-versed in beer and guide customers through myriad selections. Tasting notes and ABV (alcohol by volume) are usually listed next to each beer’s name on menus. 

Food consists of elevated comfort dishes that go well with beer. Think gourmet burgers with truffle fries, grilled sausages made in-house, pulled pork sandwiches, decadent desserts, and more. Chefs employ various cooking methods like smoking, grilling, roasting, sous vide, and even dehydrating. In addition to beer, gastropubs often have a full bar with a wide selection of spirits and a curated wine list.

4. How do you start a gastropub?

The main requirements for gastropub owners are a thorough understanding of the beer landscape and a passion for high-quality food. 

Though there are gastropubs with Michelin-starred chefs behind the stoves, you don’t need to be a culinary wizard to start one. In fact, many successful operators come from non-food backgrounds. 

Managing a business, particularly the costs of a constantly changing inventory, is the most critical skill. Owners will need to focus on staff training and product knowledge.

5. How much does it cost to start a gastropub?

The amount to open a gastropub will likely fall into the average range of $450 per square foot, which includes all expenses like location, utilities, food costs, and equipment. 

Unlike other types of full-service restaurants, gastropubs are relatively inexpensive to launch. Gastropubs have comfortable, rustic atmospheres, which may cut down on design costs. 

From an equipment standpoint, the setup is similar to an upscale casual restaurant, though the more innovative kitchens may require induction cooktops and other specialty equipment. The actual cost will vary depending on many factors.

6. Most popular types of gastropubs

The most popular gastropubs balance high-end chef-driven food and a super chill setting. Whether a sprawling light-filled space or a cozy English-inspired drinking den, a comfortable atmosphere is a must. 

Seasonal changing menus for both beer and food keep people intrigued and coming back. Customers want an exciting, dynamic environment, and many gastropubs incorporate games into the décor, such as retro arcade games, old-school bean bag tosses, and cornhole. 

Gastropubs are always in demand, and the trend shows no signs of slowing. High-quality, innovative food and expanded beer offerings will help your gastropub stand out.

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