The term gastropub (derived from gastronomy) was coined in 1991, when David Eyre and Mike Belben took over The Eagle pub in Clerkenwell, London. Traditionally, British pubs were drinking establishments and little emphasis was placed on the serving of food. If pubs served meals they were usually basic cold dishes such as a ploughman's lunch.
The concept of gastropubs largely redefined both pub culture and British dining, and has occasionally attracted criticism for potentially removing the character of traditional pubs. "Pub grub" expanded to include British food items such as steak and ale pie, shepherd's pie, fish and chips, bangers and mash, Sunday roast, ploughman's lunch, and pasties. In addition, dishes such as hamburgers, chips, lasagne and chili con carne are now often served.
In August 2012, gastropub was added to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.
In 1984 Spinnakers Brew Pub opened in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The first ever custom-built brewpub in Canada, it heralded a new wave of brewpubs and craft breweries in British Columbia that followed a major deregulation of the brewing industry in that province. Spinnakers served inventive cuisine, and Joseph Blake of Eat magazine claims it as the world's oldest gastropub. Difford's Guide credited David Eyre and Mike Belben with introducing the first gastropub to the UK, when they took over the Eagle in Clerkenwell in 1991 and upgraded the standard food options to "restaurant quality."
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