This is how you can claim a free meal and drinks at a Crawley pub - but you better have a good excuse

A West Sussex pub is offering hundreds of pounds worth of complimentary meals and drinks to locals this summer, but there’s just one catch – you need to give the best excuse you’ve used to justify a trip to the pub.

The Gatwick Manor on London Road, which is part of the Chef & Brewer collection of welcoming British country pubs, has announced the initiative after discovering that, since lockdown lifted, 34% of Brits are making increasingly elaborate excuses to justify their trips to the pub, which are up on pre-pandemic levels.

‘I need to get out of the house’ topped the list of most commonly-used excuses for a trip to their local (31%), closely followed by ‘I deserve it’ (27%) and the classic ‘It’s hot’ (21%). Many also highlighted the pub’s atmosphere (20%), a freshly poured pint (16%) and the fact that food tastes better when someone else cooks it (16%) as their reasons for visiting.

However, many respondents admitted to using some creative license when making up an excuse, with 18% saying they were meeting a distant acquaintance such as their cousin’s next-door neighbour’s uncle, 13% celebrating a non-conventional anniversary such as a half-birthday, and 4% marking the dog’s birthday.

Have you got a good enough excuse to claim a free meal?

Most importantly, nearly half of all Brits said they would happily make up an excuse as a reason see friends and family at their local pub.

Following the findings, the pub is giving away complimentary meals to locals with the most original excuses for visiting. Glen Mills, general manager at the Gatwick Manor Chef & Brewer pub, said: “West Sussex locals are wanting to come to the pub more than they have in years in order to see friends, have a family meal or a night out with their partner – but it’s been so long since they’ve been able to socialise properly, some feel like they need a reason to justify it to themselves.

“As a team, we’ve loved seeing our guests find any possible reason to make up for lost time with their loved ones - which is why we’ve decided to have a bit of fun with it. Between now and Wednesday 4th August, people giving the most entertaining excuses for visiting will be rewarded with money towards a meal and drink so they can live out their excuse again with their loved ones.

“Perhaps you’ve lost your keys, the dog ate your dinner, or you’re simply making up for lost time by making special occasions extra special this year – tell us your entertaining, heartwarming or even most outlandish reasons for visiting, and we’ll reward the best! Whatever the reason, a warm welcome will await you and your loved ones.”

To be in with a chance of winning one of 10 £100 gift cards, locals simply need to submit their excuses at by Wednesday 4th August.

Full terms and conditions can be found at of charm and character, Chef and Brewer collection pubs are a collection of unique country-style pubs set in beautiful locations across the country. The relaxed settings offer friendly staff, beautifully decorated interiors, good, honest pub food and a wide selection of fine wines, hand selected by award-winning wine buyers, cask ales and gins from across the UK. To find your nearest Chef & Brewer collection pub, visit top 20 excuses for visiting the pub were as follows:

1. To get out of the house

2. I deserve it

3. It’s hot

4. To make up for lost time

5. Can’t beat the atmosphere

6. Can’t be bothered to cook

7. To see an acquaintance / distant relative

8. Can’t beat a freshly poured pint

9. It’s a Friday (or any other day of the week)

10. To support my local pub

11. I’m British!

12. To celebrate a non-conventional anniversary

13. Food tastes better when someone else cooks it

14. There’s nothing else to do

15. I need company

16. To catch up with the bar/waiting staff

17. To celebrate a good day at work

18. My house is too much of a mess to have people round

19. There’s nothing in the fridge

20. It’s the dog’s (or any other pet’s) birthday