UK's grottiest nightspots MAPPED: Interactive tool reveals 1,000 pubs, bars and clubs with zero or one-star hygiene ratings – is YOUR local listed?

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:7 min(s) read

  • More than 1,000 bars and clubs in the UK have poor food standards
  • Some 47 firms have received the lowest zero rating and require urgent action  

More than 1,000 bars and nightclubs have received substandard food safety ratings according to data held by a powerful watchdog. 

The Food Standards Agency collates and publishes results of inspections by local authority environmental health officers. 

Across England and Wales, there are 47 businesses who have received a Food Hygiene Rating of zero, meaning ‘urgent improvement necessary’. 

One of the most recent venues to receive a zero rating was The Unicorn Inn in Knowsley, which was inspected on June 29, 2023. 

Knowsley Council inspectors found improvement was necessary concerning hygienic handling of food and the cleanliness and conditions of facilities and the building. The management of food safety required urgent improvement. 

HOW TO USE THE MAP: Click on a dot to see details of an individual bar. You can also zoom into areas where there are several bars in close proximity. There is a link to the Food Standards Agency website where you can check out the latest information 

The Unicorn Inn in Knowsley, pictured, received a zero rating following an inspection in June

The Unicorn Inn in Knowsley, pictured, received a zero rating following an inspection in June

The Red Lion on Leytonstone High Road as inspected on February 21, 2023, where it also received a zero rating. While environmental health officers said food handing was generally satisfactory, major improvement was needed with the cleanliness and condition of facilities and building. Urgent improvement was needed in the management of food safety. 

Waltham Forest have since re-inspected the pub, with the results of that visit expected to be published shortly.  

Businesses are graded on a sliding scale from 5 to 0 ranging from Very Good to Urgent Improvement Necessary. 

Health inspectors can prosecute business which fail to improve their standards. In the most severe cases, firms can be ordered to close until minimum safety standards are achieved.

Though, health inspectors can also prosecute private individuals. Last October, a vegan pensioner was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,395 over her failure to deal with a mouse infestation at her home in St Osyth, Essex. 

Margaret Manzoni claimed she was feeding the mice and refused to kill them as it was against her ‘ethical beliefs’. 

In May 2022, pub boss Richard Maley, from Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan was fined £3,000 after food inspectors found mouldy meat pies at his bar in 2016. He is no longer associated with the venue 

The Glasshouse in New Malden, pictured, needed major improvement across all areas

The Glasshouse in New Malden, pictured, needed major improvement across all areas

On June 20, 2023, inspectors visited Bottomleys Arms in Calderdale and handed it a zero rating

On June 20, 2023, inspectors visited Bottomleys Arms in Calderdale and handed it a zero rating

The Stonemasons Inn in Petworth, West Sussex was visited by inspectors on June 19 and management were told that major improvement was needed across the board

The Stonemasons Inn in Petworth, West Sussex was visited by inspectors on June 19 and management were told that major improvement was needed across the board

Kingston-upon-Thames council visited The Glasshouse on June 27, where they found major improvement was necessary across all sections. 

Bottomleys Arms in Calderdale, outside Halifax was judged to need improvement in two of the three areas while urgent improvement was necessary on food safety management. 

The Stonemasons Inn in Petworth, West Sussex was visited by inspectors on June 19 and management were told that major improvement was needed across the board. 

READ MORE: Are these Britain’s dirtiest takeaways?

In some areas of the UK 20 per cent of the takeaways fail to meet food hygiene standards , a report suggests (pictured: a huge cockroach infestation at an Enfield takeaway)

In some areas of the UK 20 per cent of the takeaways fail to meet food hygiene standards , a report suggests (pictured: a huge cockroach infestation at an Enfield takeaway)

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In Scotland, more than 200 bars and nightclubs have substandard food safety ratings. The Scottish system offers a binary choice of Pass or Improvement Required. 

Almost 45,000 bars and clubs in England and Wales have ratings of between 3 to 5 which ranges between Generally Satisfactory to Very Good. 

Recent research by ProCompliance has used wider data to determine where in England and Wales has the worst night time hygiene. 

Using FSA data, they compared the ratings of bars, clubs, nightclubs, restaurants and takeaways.

According to the research, Bath, with a population of 192,423, has 36 per cent of late night venues with a FSA rating of between 0-3. Salford, Swansea, Liverpool and Manchester make up the remainder of the bottom five.  

Researchers found that Gloucester has England and Wales’ most hygienic nightlife. Winchester is the best location for 4* and 5* rated takeaways. 

Alex Wilkins, Director of ProCompliance said: ‘While many may overlook the importance of nightlife hygiene, our research highlights the need for businesses to improve their food safety and hygiene standards.

‘To reach the coveted 5-star hygiene rating from the Food Standards Agency, businesses need to be providing thorough staff training on the ins and outs of food handling, preparation, and storage. 

‘Encouraging staff to practise proper hand washing and providing hand sanitisers can make a real difference. Regular sanitisation of surfaces, equipment, and facilities go a long way in preventing the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses.

‘By being proactive and conducting routine checks, businesses can identify any potential issues and nip them in the bud before they become bigger problems.’

  • Hygiene information published by the Food Standards Agency. Data correct as of September 8, 2023 

What are the Food Standards Ratings? 

The scheme gives businesses a rating from 5 to 0 which is displayed at their premises and online so you can make more informed choices about where to buy and eat food.

5 – hygiene standards are very good

4 – hygiene standards are good

3 – hygiene standards are generally satisfactory

2 – some improvement is necessary

1 – major improvement is necessary

0 – urgent improvement is required

The scheme is set out in law in Wales and Northern Ireland but display of the rating sticker is voluntary in England. 

Ratings are a snapshot of the standards of food hygiene found at the time of inspection. It is the responsibility of the business to comply with food hygiene law at all times.

This includes:

  • handling of food
  • how food is stored
  • how food is prepared
  • cleanliness of facilities
  • how food safety is managed

The food hygiene rating scheme does not provide information on the following factors:

  • quality of the food
  • customer service
  • culinary skill
  • presentation
  • comfort

The rating shows how well the business is doing overall, based on standards found at the time of inspection. The ratings can be found online and on stickers which are displayed at business premises. The back of the sticker and the online rating will also show the date of the inspection by the local authority’s food safety officer.

Ratings are typically given to places where food is supplied, sold or consumed, such as:

  • restaurants, pubs and cafes
  • takeaways, food vans and stalls
  • canteens and hotels
  • supermarkets and other food shops
  • schools, hospitals and care homes

A food safety officer from the local authority inspects a business to check that it follows food hygiene law so that the food is safe to eat.

At the inspection, the officer will check the following three elements:

  • how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
  • the physical condition of the business –including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, pest control and other facilities
  • how the business manages ways of keeping food safe, looking at processes, training and systems to ensure good hygiene is maintained. The officer can then assess the level of confidence in standards being maintained in the future

Source: Food Standards Agency 




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