The term "gastropub" was coined in 1991, when David Eyre and Mike Belben took over The Eagle pub in Clerkenwell, London. Traditionally, British pubs were drinking establishments and little emphasis was placed on the serving of food. If pubs served meals they were usually basic cold dishes such as a ploughman's lunch.
The concept of a restaurant in a pub reinvigorated both pub culture and British dining, though it has occasionally attracted criticism for potentially removing the character of traditional pubs. "Pub grub" expanded to include British food items such as steak and ale pie, shepherd's pie, fish and chips, bangers and mash, Sunday roast, ploughman's lunch, and pasties. In addition, dishes such as hamburgers, chips, lasagne and chili con carne are now often served.
In 1984, Spinnakers Brew Pub opened in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It was the first ever custom-built brewpub in Canada, and was part of a new wave of brewpubs and craft breweries in British Columbia that followed a major deregulation of the brewing industry in that province. Spinnakers also included inventive cuisine, and is claimed as world's oldest gastropub by Joseph Blake of Eat magazine.
The gastropub phenomenon took off in the United States in the early 1990s at gastropubs such as Dhillons by Chef Matt Dhillon in Las Vegas. Later, there were such places as Dev Dugal's The Redwood Bar in downtown Los Angeles; Red Table in Huntington Beach, California; and restaurateur and chef Sang Yoon's Father's Office, which had what Esquire magazine called one of the best burgers in the world. Other gastropubs include Ford's Filling Station in Culver City, a gastropub run by actor Harrison Ford's son Ben Ford; Brickyard; The Spotted Pig in Manhattan; The Wobbly Olive in Long Island, New York; Serena Sicilian-influenced Gastropub in Durham, North Carolina; and The Monk's Kettle in San Francisco.