The most important aspect of most people’s ideal pub is not great beer but the fact that it serves meals, a new YouGov survey shows.

In the survey of more than 2,100 people last month, the next most important elements of the fantasy boozer were: a beer garden; fireplace; staff knowing regular customers and taking an interest in eveyone; and snacks.

yougovLess essential pub features, according to the survey, were serving real ale (37%), hosting live music and having background music (both 35%) and hosting pub quizzes (34%). The one-armed bandit was the least essential component of the ideal pub, with just 5% of Brits saying that fruit machines would appear in their perfect venue.

The results also highlight how different men and women’s ideal pubs would be. For instance, women are more likely than men to want their ideal pub to serve meals (74% v 60%). When it comes to drinks, men are much more likely to say that their ideal pub would serve real ale (46% v 28% for women), while women are more likely to want it to serve cocktails (31% v 14% for men).

When it comes to appearance and ambience, women are also more likely to appreciate the presence of a fireplace (58% v 45% of men) and background music (39% v 30%), while men prefer televisions on the walls (22% v 13% of women).

More men want both televised and pub sports in their ideal boozer. They are more likely than women to want it to show football/sports (27% v 9% of women), and also have a snooker/pool table (29% v 19%) and dart board (21 v 13%).

Ben Glanville, head of UK Omnibus at YouGov, said: “What makes an ideal pub is a question that has been debated for years, but our Omnibus research shows a good amount of agreement on several fronts, as well as nods to many traditional features.

“With pubs under pressure to attract punters and to stand out from the competition, making sure they cater to customers’ favourite pub characteristics is more important than ever.”