Scream (formerly known as It's A Scream) is a student-oriented pub chain in the United Kingdom owned by the Stonegate Pub Company. There are 49 pubs in the chain which began in October 1995.
The pub chain was set up by brewers Bass, who called it It's a Scream. The pubs were all within relatively short walking distance of a university.
Bass's retail arm became Mitchells & Butlers in April 2003.
Scream was disposed of by Mitchells and Butlers on 20 August 2010, along with around 300 other Mitchells and Butlers pubs for £373m. Stonegate is owned by TDR Capital.
In June 2011, Stonegate merged with the Town & City Pub Company.
Scream pubs are aimed at the student market, and mostly found near to universities. They claim to be 'the number one choice of students'. Its chief competitor is Varsity, owned by the Barracuda Group, although Varsity has a more mainstream market – often concentrating on football matches on Sky Sports and located closer to town centres.
The original name came from the 1893 painting The Scream, by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, which is a popular poster image with many students. The painting was formerly shown on some pub signs of the former It's A Scream chain.
The pubs each have individual items, for example a giant monkey mural (Horn in Hand), a talking moose's head (White Harte, Bristol), an aadvark costume (The Aadvark, Coventry) or a large painting of a Phoenix (The Phoenix, Coventry) and their own sign relating to their name. Some go further, such as the Dry Dock in Leeds and Leicester which are built inside of an old grounded ship.
Scream pubs have a loyalty card scheme known as The Yellow Card. It is available to students annually for £1 and entitles them to discounts on selected food and drink. As of November 2006, however, selected Scream Pubs have been chosen to run a trial wherein they did not sell Yellow Cards.
With the introduction of the new Scottish Licensing Laws on 1 September 2009, Yellow Cards purchased in Scream pubs in Scotland will not be valid until 72 hours after purchase.
Since summer 2010, Scream have introduced the "Yellow Card For Life" – costing £5, with the promise that it will never expire.
The new owners are the Stonegate Pub Company, based off the A1081 near junction 10a of the M1 in Luton.
There are 48 Scream pubs spread around the UK with the vast majority being in towns and cities with a significant student population.
One of the first scream bars to close was "The India Arms" in Portsmouth during the early 2000s, the pub was sold to Enterprise Inns where it currently trades as "The Italian Bar and Grill". Another scream bar in Portsmouth, The Registry closed at the end of March 2010. It was renamed The Kraken Wakes as part of an ongoing partnership between independent pub operator Fiveeightzero and the owner, Mitchells & Butlers. It opened at the end of April 2010 following a refurbishment. The new name was short lived, as the establishment reverted to the original name of The Registry as of March 2011. However, it has not returned to the Scream stable of pubs and closed on 1 June 2014 and is being converted into student halls of residence.
'The Queen of Hearts' and 'The Cheshire Cat' in Fallowfield, Manchester, were never sold by Mitchells and Butlers in late 2010. They still operated as Scream Pub, but all branding had to be removed. As of 15 April 2011, The pub has been sold to Hydes Pub Company, and is now a Hydes pub.
'Robinskis' in Fallowfield was taken over by Stonegate in late 2010. Due to various disputes within the company regarding profits and poor management has been for Sale since Day one of ownership. As of 6 May 2011 the pub has been sold to an independent owner. Robinskis is now operating as a private pub; all instances of Scream have been removed and the pub will operate as normally.
Scream had 67 pubs under its name at the time of Sale. Stonegate bought 62 of these pubs. The other five stayed under Michells and Butlers until they were sold on to other buyers. Since Stonegate have taken over, the following 14 pubs have been sold by Stonegate:The Junction in Harrow
The Kinston Mill in Kingston upon Thames
The Robbins Well in Leamington Spa
The Quayside in Lincoln
The Park in Luton
Robinskis in Manchester
The Phoenix in Manchester
The Queen of Hearts and The Cheshire Cat in Manchester
The Lot in Richmond
Starting with the Southfeild, Stonegate has begun converting existing Scream sites to a new 'Common Room' brand, rather than branding each site as a uniform segment, instead brands each site individually. The sites focus more on casual dining and an emerging interest in craft beer among the 20- to 26-year-old male demographic. Typically sites having converted to the new brand saw an increase in sales of roughly 60%, with success based on a change to multiple visits by customers during the day. Other sites currently operating under the Common Room brand include the Cavendish in Sheffield, The Library in Leeds, The Bristol Pear and Gosta Green in Birmingham, and The Triple Kirks and The Bobbin in Aberdeen.