THE Cross Keys, in Norton Fitzwarren, 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 pub, which is part of the Chef & Brewer group, has announced the initiative after discovering that, since lockdown lifted, 34 per cent 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.

Most importantly, nearly half of all Brits said they would happily make up an excuse as a reason to 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.

Timothy Ackland, general manager at the Cross Keys, said: “Somerset 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, August 4, 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, August 4.

The 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.