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Wacky race to build family pubs


The Nag's Head and Rose & Crown are history. The future of English pubs lies in Wacky Warehouses, Jungle Bungles and even Captain Coconuts as "family friendly" outlets received another boost yesterday.

The leisure group Allied Domecq announced a pounds 150m expansion over the next year, including the creation of more than 7,000 jobs and the development of 250 sites. The emphasis will be on family appeal through "Wacky Warehouses" - purpose-built play barns attached to the group's chain of Big Steak pubs.

The managing director of Allied Domecq Leisure, Martin Grant, said that they were meeting consumer demand: "Research has shown that more and more people are going out and eating out as a family.This has been aided by the relaxation of licensing laws which include the introduction of children's certificates for pubs."

The group, which presently runs 30 Wacky Warehouses, is planning another 100 Big Steak pubs, most with the family targeted barns attached. Big Steak pubs tend to take five times as much money as the average managed house.

Allied Domecq are not alone. A spokesman for Greenalls, which runs 20 "Jungle Bungle" and "Captain Coconut" playbarns, said they were planning to act on a customer review.

Whitbread, whose family chain is known as Brewer's Fayre, has 60 "Charlie Chalk's Fun Factories" attached. A spokesman said the 280 Brewers Fayre will rise to 400 by 1997.