Scream Pubs

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IndustryHospitality industry
GenrePub chain
Area served
ProductsStudent-themed pubs
OwnerStonegate Pub Company
WebsiteScream Pubs

Scream (formerly known as It's A Scream) was a student-oriented pub chain in the United Kingdom owned by the Stonegate Pub Company. The chain began in October 1995.


The pub chain was set up by brewers Bass, who called it It's a Scream. The pubs were all within relatively short walking distance of a university.

Bass's retail arm became Mitchells & Butlers in April 2003.

Scream was disposed of by Mitchells and Butlers on 20 August 2010, along with around 300 other Mitchells and Butlers pubs for £373m to Stonegate (owned by TDR Capital).[1][2]


Scream pubs were aimed at the student market, and mostly found near to universities. They claimed to be 'the number one choice of students'. Its chief competitor was Varsity, owned at the time by the Barracuda Group, although Varsity had a more mainstream market – often concentrating on football matches on Sky Sports and located closer to town centres. Varsity became part of Stonegate in 2013.[3]

The original name came from the 1893 painting The Scream, by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, which is a popular poster image with many students. The painting was formerly shown on some pub signs of the former It's A Scream chain.

The pubs each had individual items, for example a giant monkey mural (Horn in Hand), a talking moose's head (White Harte, Bristol), an aardvark costume (The Aardvark, Coventry) or a large painting of a Phoenix (The Phoenix, Coventry) and their own sign relating to their name. Some went further, such as the Dry Dock in Leeds and Leicester which were built inside of an old grounded ship.

Scream pubs had a loyalty card scheme known as The Yellow Card. It was available to students annually for £1 (originally free) and entitled them to discounts on selected food and drink. In November 2006, selected Scream Pubs had been chosen to run a trial wherein they did not sell Yellow Cards.

With the introduction of the new Scottish Licensing Laws on 1 September 2009, Yellow Cards purchased in Scream pubs in Scotland would not be valid until 72 hours after purchase.

In the Summer of 2003, Scream introduced the "Yellow Card For Life" – costing £5, with the promise that it will never expire.

Former locations[edit]

There were 50 Scream pubs spread around the UK when Stonegate took over the chain, with the vast majority being in towns and cities with a significant student population.

The Bobbin in Aberdeen
The Bobbin
The Nether Inn
The Ark
The Hall
The Keystones at Monk Bar in York
The Southfield
The Camel's Hump
The Crown
Haworth Arms on Beverley Road near the University of Hull
The Warehouse
Piper Club
The Haworth Arms
The Dry Dock
The Library
The Cavendish
The Globe
The Keystones
The Adelphi near the University of Central Lancashire in Preston
The Friary
The Brookhouse
The Hope and Anchor
The Footage
The Pub/Zoo
Roper Hall
The Adelphi
Horn in Hand (former site of Nottingham Playhouse before 1963) near Nottingham Trent University
East Midlands
The Friary
The Dry Dock
The Loaded Dog
Soar Point
The Phantom
The Penny Whistle
The Horn in Hand
The Royal London near the University of Wolverhampton
West Midlands
The Bristol Pear
The Gosta Green
The Hare of the Dog
The Aardvark
The Phoenix
Robbins Well
The Royal London
The Alex in Southend on Sea
East of England
The Alex
  • London (1)
The Auctioneer
The Penny Theatre
The City Arms
Pavlovs Dog
Upin Arms
The Roundabout at Drakes Circus, Plymouth
The Avondale
The Cider Press (previously The Rising Sun)
The White Harte
The Inferno
The Roundabout
The Woodville in Cardiff
The Old Glan
The Royal George
The Woodville
Gassy Jacks


One of the first scream bars to close was "The India Arms" in Portsmouth during the early 2000s, the pub was sold to Enterprise Inns where it currently trades as "The Italian Bar and Grill". Another scream bar in Portsmouth, The Registry closed at the end of March 2010. It was renamed The Kraken Wakes as part of an ongoing partnership between independent pub operator Fiveeightzero and the owner, Mitchells & Butlers. It opened at the end of April 2010 following a refurbishment.[4] The new name was short lived, as the establishment reverted to the original name of The Registry in March 2011. However, It closed once again on 1 June 2014 and was converted into student halls of residence, which opened in September 2015.

'The Queen of Hearts' and 'The Cheshire Cat' in Fallowfield, Manchester, were never sold by Mitchells and Butlers in late 2010. They still operated as Scream Pub, but all branding had to be removed. As of 15 April 2011, The pub has been sold to Hydes Pub Company, and is now a Hydes pub.

'Robinskis' in Fallowfield was taken over by Stonegate in late 2010. Due to various disputes within the company regarding profits and poor management has been for Sale since Day one of ownership. As of 6 May 2011 the pub has been sold to an independent owner. Robinskis is now operating as a private pub; all instances of Scream have been removed and the pub will operate as normally.

Scream had 67 pubs under its name at the time of Sale. Stonegate bought 62 of these pubs. The other five stayed under Michells and Butlers until they were sold on to other buyers. Since Stonegate have taken over, the following 14 pubs have been sold by Stonegate:

The Rocket in Euston
  • The Junction in Harrow
  • The Kinston Mill in Kingston upon Thames
  • The Robbins Well in Leamington Spa
  • The Quayside in Lincoln
  • The Park in Luton
  • Robinskis in Manchester
  • The Phoenix in Manchester
  • The Queen of Hearts and The Cheshire Cat in Manchester
  • The Lot in Richmond

Common Room[edit]

Starting with the Southfield, Stonegate began converting existing Scream sites to a new 'Common Room' brand, rather than branding each site as a uniform segment, instead brands each site individually.[5] The sites focus more on casual dining and an emerging interest in craft beer. Typically sites having converted to the new brand saw an increase in sales of roughly 60%, with success based on a change to multiple visits by customers during the day.


  1. ^ TDR Capital
  2. ^ Stonegate sale August 2010
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Fiveeightzero opens three pubs with M&B". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  5. ^

External links[edit]