The ‘Substantial Meals’ Tier 3 Pubs Are Selling to Avoid Shutting Down

The “let's chuck something on a plate so we can stay open” initiative of England's bars and pubs has resulted in some deeply cursed meals.
Tier 3 Bar Food in England
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I’m sure that when the government came up with England’s tiered lockdown system they never expected so much uproar over what constitutes a “substantial meal”. But as the new rules state that pubs and bars in Tier 3 areas must close unless they sell said “substantial meals”, it’s no surprise everybody’s kicked off.

Many bar and pub owners in Tier 3 hotspots have scrambled to pull together a menu that is “substantial” enough to stay open, with some paying very little attention as to whether or not the food contained within that menu is also “revolting”. On the flip side, a number of restaurants and street food venues have reached out to their neighbourhood pubs and bars to provide the meals that will help them to stay open.


It’s a commendable display of camaraderie in the face of total government chaos, but that does not change the fact that some of the offerings being dished up alongside your voddy and Red Bull are hilariously shit. I’ve gone ahead and rated the worst offenders below – out of love, of course.

Chicago Town Pizza with Micro Chips

Before Tier 3 lockdown went into full effect, photos were flying around Twitter of a proposed menu by Manchester’s G-A-Y bar: substantial meals of kebabs, chicken burgers and pizzas. Patron of the bar, Jacob Joseph Leech, tells me that the pizza and chips he was served was “literally Chicago Town pizza and Micro Chips straight from the box”. He knows this because his friends work at this northern branch of G-A-Y.

As one of the first bars in Manchester to announce a new food menu – and to implement it with the least possible amount of effort – G-A-Y deserve their props for spearheading the “let’s chuck something on a plate so we can stay open” initiative. Lee revealed that for what his microwave pizza lacked in flair, it was still “pure banging” and “took the G-A-Y experience to a whole new level”.

This substantial food serving gets an 8/10 for being proper nice, and a proper bargain as well.

A Platter of Onion Rings and Chicken Wings

Twitter user Iain Murray shared this substantial meal, saying it was sure to last him a few hours. And fair play: it absolutely would, if you’re alright with room temperature onion rings and congealed wings. But join me for one moment to consider: if this counts as a substantial meal alongside several drinks, why does a packet of pork scratchings not suffice for a solitary pint?


Granted, that isn’t this place’s fault, but because I’m now mad this attempt at dodging a Tier 3 closure gets a 3/10.

English Breakfast Tasting Menu: 10/10

Koffee Pot Manchester breakfast tasting menu

Photo: Koffee Pot, Manchester

This one started as a joke, but having DM’d them, the people behind Manchester’s Koffee Pot breakfast spot told me they might actually release this inspired Tier 3 mitigation meal.

Served over eight hours, each part of the quintessential English breakfast is presented one plate at a time, “paired with the finest beer, wine and cocktails, to create the ultimate breakfast and boozing experience”.

Although the solo egg on a white plate is disconcerting to look at, putting that – and a dry black pudding – into your mouth would be totally worth it if it allowed you to get pissed without having to buy an 18-inch pizza with every pint.

10/10 for creativity.

Half a Roast Dinner: 1/10

at andyklfc.jpg

Image via Twitter user @andyklfc

As the owner of a pub that had to shut down because of its lack of food options, Andy Kelly angrily tweeted the above meal to Liverpool’s mayor Joe Anderson, asking why pubs can serve something “so poor” and stay open. Personally, I think the man has a point: this looks shite.

If you’re feeling brave, zoom in on the Smart Price Yorkshire pudding and you’ll spot what can only be described as a sausage meat sculpture in the image of my ex boyfriend’s penis. There’s something especially sinister about how perfectly spherical that disk of gravy is, made worse by imagining the paper plate it’s on absorbing half of the Bisto before you can even tuck into the actually alright-looking mashed potato.

Still, regardless of how semi-appetising the spuds look, this piss poor plate gets a 1/10.