Thousands download new ‘Neverspoons’ app that helps them find local independent pubs

A view of JD Wetherspoon's Royal Victoria Pavillion in Ramsgate, Kent; Gareth Fuller

A view of JD Wetherspoon's Royal Victoria Pavillion in Ramsgate, Kent; Gareth Fuller - Credit: PA

An app that was designed to steer people away from Wetherspoons is proving a hit among drinkers.

Neverspoons - named after the Twitter hashtag that slammed Wetherspoons founder Tim Martin for his attitudes towards staff during the lockdown - is helping independent pubs put bums on seats.

Well, beer stools, to be precise.

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The app works by showing the users where the nearest Wetherspoons is and then showing the independent venues near by.

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The programme has been downloaded 18,000 times, which although small, has beaten its creator's expectations already.

MORE: Campaigners launch #NeverSpoons hashtag as pubs plan July re-opening

Shane Jones built Neverspoons, which shows over 3,000 independent pubs across the UK, in his spare time.

'The whole premise is, Wetherspoons is a massive chain and they don't need as much help,' he explained to the BBC.

Jones admitted that a 'handful' pub chains had made it on the app but he is working hard to 'weed' them out, including one from the Slug and Lettuce chain and a few Greene King and Firkin chains.

'It's not easy to manually vet thousands of pubs,' he said.

The young web developer has teamed up with a friend to speed up the vetting process, which Jones is unable to do because of a health condition which means he must shield.

'It's just a little side-project - I'm a web developer, not an app developer,' he said before explaining he has made around £200 in income from donations.

Neverspoons is free to download on Android phones and can be found on Google Play.

Wetherspoons founder Tim Martin sparked controversy at the start of the lockdown when he refused to contribute to staff wages while pubs remained shut.

At the start of the lockdown, he claimed it was 'over the top' to shut pubs down, arguing that 'hardly any' transmissions occurred there.

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