The best and worst Wetherspoon pubs in County Durham have been revealed - but would you agree?

Wetherspoons has nine pubs in County Durham - from a seaside town tavern to historic towns and the city of Durham. 

The affordable food and drink options remain a popular choice for many - from a pre-match pint to a cheap night out.

Thousands of you have been sharing your experiences of the pub chain, good and bad, on TripAdvisor.

And if you dive into the reviews of 'Spoons' visits based on food, service, value and atmosphere, it certainly makes some interesting reading.

Here's the best and worst Wetherspoons across the region  - based on the percentage of 'excellent' and 'very good' reviews.

A guide to Wetherspoons in County Durham - ranked from best to worst

The Five Quarter, Peterlee

Tripadvisor rating: 4

More than 400 happy customers shared their experiences on Tripadvisor - meaning 71 per cent of customers left very good or excellent reviews.

There's lots of love for the breakfast menu at The Five Quarter.

'The best breakfast in Peterlee'

One reviewer said: "Amazing value and even at full price this is by far the best breakfast in Peterlee / Spoons really have this nailed."

Another said: "Amazing definitely recommend the breakfast totally delicious and filling set me up for the whole day manager is amazing too."

The Northern Echo: "Another great meal," comments Dave_Catleugh. Photo credit: Dave_Catleugh/Tripadvisor."Another great meal," comments Dave_Catleugh. Photo credit: Dave_Catleugh/Tripadvisor.

But not everyone is so keen - from comments on reopening after local restrictions earlier in 2021 to some odd descriptions of tomatoes.

'The peas were like bullets'

One man said: "Popped in for a bite to eat and a pint after finishing work. Utilising the 'Wetherspoons' App, I ordered from the table a pint of Fosters and the 'new' sirloin steak meal cooked medium, peas, chips, mushroom, tomato, chips and the Jack Daniels Honey Glaze sauce.

"The tomato was raw and may as well have been in a salad, the peas were like bullets and cold, the chips were cold, the so called sirloin looked like it had been filleted and overcooked to the point of dehydration!

"Quite literally the worst steak dinner I've ever had!"

The Hat and Feathers, Seaham

Tripadvisor rating: 4

The Hat and Feathers is another JD Wetherspoons branch with a strong set of reviews from customers.

70 per cent of customers left excellent or very good reviews on Tripadvisor with high praise from one Durham resident.

He started off his review by describing the pub as "pleasant and serene".


The man told Tripadvisor: "Arrived before opening in this very quiet little seaside town of Seaham. Upon doors opening and welcomed by Duty Manager Kirsty, I admire the historic atmosphere of time gone shops combined into one to make a lovely serene and pleasant pub.

"Greeted by smiling bar person Ashley, placed my order and sat awaiting. Not even seven minutes a piping hot vegan breakfast. Scrumptious."

It was difficult to find a bad review for this pub overall - but one customer offered feedback on two specific burgers.

'Dripping in grease'

This person told Tripadvisor: "We ordered a buttermilk chicken burger and a chicken Tennessee burger, which we have enjoyed at other Wetherspoons chain. However, today's food has put me off for life!

"The buttermilk burger was dripping in grease, so much so that part of the bun it was served in fell off saturated when I picked it up. The Tennessee chicken burger was actually a beef burger!"

The Bishops’ Mill, Durham

Tripadvisor rating: 3.5

While this pub comes third on our Tripadvisor list, it is a popular branch with 68 per cent of reviews rated as excellent or very good. 

'Never disappoints'

One Wetherspoons fan said: "I’ve visited the Bishops Mill on numerous occasions and it never disappoints.

"Always kept pretty clean and the clutter is cleared away pretty quickly. Very competitive prices for food and drink and numerous screens for showing live sport. Nothing not to like."

However, some people are calling for improvements on Tripadvisor.

'It does not take 30 seconds to wipe down tables'

One reviewer had quite a lot to say.

He told Tripadvisor: "Upon arrival, we knew we were going to have a meal and drinks so we looked for a larger table to the square ones and having found table 7 empty, and no others vacant we sat down. There was rubbish and glasses still on here with the table being sticky, presumably from the previous guests.

"Ordered 2 drinks via the app which took the best part of 10-15 mins to arrive. 

"Looked at ordering food to find alot of choice was out of stock.

"Ordered the mixed grill and the meat was barely cooked. Asked for no peas or mushroom and guess what, they came. It came with 12 small chips.

"It does not take 30 seconds to wipe down tables as staff float around."

Another recent review reads: "Sat at a table which was just being cleared. The girl didn’t even wipe the table. Just took the glasses and walked off."

The Horse Shoe Inn, Crook

Tripadvisor rating: 3.5

This pub could be described as a mixed bag on Tripadvisor's review section.

But overall 66 per cent of customers have shared excellent or very good reviews.

One happy customer said: "Our waitress Rachael was very attentive to our needs of food and drinks. We all had the breakfast brunch which was very tasty and hot. We also had hot drinks later, again served to us at the table.

"The interior of the pub is very attractive."

'Bad attitude'

Some would like better customer service, according to Tripadvisor.

One said: "Terrible service, waitress was very rude not polite at all, had a bad attitude would not serve us when we wanted.. not going back again."

Another recently added: "Visited yesterday to be greeted with miserable unhelpful staff. Service [with] no smile."

The Wicket Gate, Chester-Le-Street

Tripadvisor rating: 3.5

63 per cent of customers leave excellent or very good reviews for The Wicket Gate on social media.

'Lovely roof terrace'

One person recently said: "Hadn't been here since the first lockdown. It's been refurbished with a lovely roof terrace. Staff were quick and friendly, food and beer good and typical Wetherspoons prices."

'Takes ages to get served'

One customer wasn't too pleased with the wait after ordering your drinks.

They said: "Nicely done out but pity about service takes ages to get served loads of people waiting for drinks very bad system plenty staff doing very little."

The Grand Electric Hall, Spennymoor

Tripadvisor rating: 3.5

With more than half of their customers happy, the Grand Electric Hall has excellent or very good reviews 58 per cent of the time.

'Really impressive'

One reviewer said: "The food was fantastic, me and my mam popped in for some light lunch and the chicken and halloumi in the wraps were cooked spot on. Chips were lovely and salad fresh.

"Really impressed with the food, wait times and the prices, much cheaper than Newcastle where I live and do take advantage of the deals with drinks! The toilets were also very well kept."

'One of the coldest pubs'

One man from Durham said: "One of the coldest pubs you've ever been to. I don't like being too hot, but this place is unreal. Icy air con blasting down on you. It's usually warmer outside, and this is the North East of England.

"They ran out of sweet chilli dip (to accompany the halloumi fries) about two years ago and have never replenished. They don't tell you until after they give you the halloumi fries though."

The Company Row, Consett

Tripadvisor rating: 3.5

Out of all the Tripadvisor reviews, 57 per cent are rated excellent or very good at The Company Row.

The Northern Echo: The 2015 Cider Festival at The Company Row, Consett. Photo credit: Tripadvisor/management.The 2015 Cider Festival at The Company Row, Consett. Photo credit: Tripadvisor/management.

Let's dive into some reviews.

'Plenty of sauces'

One customer said: "My Mum had scampi and chips and I got Fried Chicken and chips which me and my Mum both shared. The waitress gave us plenty of sauces, salt and Vinegar. The atmosphere was nice. The waitress and waiter were nice. Both Scampi and Fried Chicken was nice."

'Key ingredient missing'

This man had a lot to say about ingredients: "Rocket!"

He said: "This is my local, so it’s painful to say. However after having raised this myself to management and staff various times and no improvement it needs to be said. I have had the same meal about 11/12 times and every time there is a key ingredient missing.

"They have no interest in fixing this which is a massive shame as otherwise it’s great. It’s clearly for a cost saving reason. I have even told them to remove it from the menu or when getting 'we ran out' again tell people before buying."

The Water House, Durham

Tripadvisor rating: 3.5

This pub may be further down on our list but 57 per cent of customers rate their experience as excellent or very good.

One customer told Tripadvisor: "It was very lively when we visited here and as we were only staying for a few minute's we ordered a single rum and coke a really refreshing drink served iced cold and well priced for the drink we had.

"This is a superb Wetherspoon pub and well worth visiting as it's in a great location."

Another said: "It’s a pleasant pub with a bit of character. Standard Wetherspoons concept with good prices. The pub is well managed."

But some customers say the service and waiting times at The Water House can be slow.

'Snail like service'

Despite handing out a four star rating, one customer said: "Only wanted to change our cups for a fresh cup of coffee but staff were more concerned with getting their own drink rather than serving customers waiting at the bar!!"

The Stanley Jefferson, Bishop Auckland

Tripadvisor rating: 3

While this pub may fall in ninth place, 46 per cent of customers have shared excellent or very good experiences on Tripadvisor.

One customer recently handed out a five star review.

He said: "Popped in for lunch with my mam after work! Sat in the area which was app only as we love the app! Very quick service and lovely food. We got a main meal each with extra sides and drinks!"

It's the quality of food taking the hit on Tripadvisor's review section.

'Thinnest fish ever'

One customer said: "Breakfast looked great but baked beans stone cold, everything else [luke]warm."

Another said: "It's Friday, so of course fish n chips, ok you only get what you pay for, but this was well below par, half the fish was the thinnest fish ever with rock hard batter, so essentially a small fish, chips were undercooked and a tad hard."

There was harsh criticism from another customer who described the pub's offering as "dismal".

He told Tripadvisor: "Cold tasteless food. Hot food on cold plates. Was better here when it was a bank."