Calling Time on the Great British Pub?

Discussion in 'Europe' started by NileGuide, Feb 28, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Popping into a local British pub for a pint of ale is much more than just a beer in a bar. While the quaint factor lures many visitors into pubs with clever names & signage, low ceilings and cosy fires, it’s the cultural experience which keeps them until closing. In Britain pubs are as integral to tourism as the royal family.
    The pub is often considered the heart of the community. Brits visit pubs regularly not only for a drink, but more importantly they gather to socialize, relax and for conversation.
    Yet these favored establishments are closing at a distressing rate of 29 each week. A disproportionate amount of those folding are village pubs.
    London's Ye Old Watling
    Pub landlords chalk up their losses to the current economic climate, the smoking ban instituted in 2006 and continual beer tax increases.
    According to the British Beer and Pub Association cheap supermarket beer is a major culprit. In 1979 95% of all beer transactions occurred in a pub, today that figure has dramatically dropped to 50%.
    Gimmicky theme pubs, sports bars crammed with televisions and “gastropubs” (pubs with an emphasis on chef-prepared food) are moving in. Carol Brundle owned The Coyote in Grove Park, a west London suburb, for 8 years before selling in 2008. “People’s tastes in general have changed over the past 20 years. The reason many of the ‘traditional’ pubs are closing is because they are not offering what customers want. The pubs who have adapted with changing menus and decor are the ones still thriving”.
    But the traditional pub still has its supporters. Action groups such as Pub is the Hub and Use Your Local recognize the traditional pubs’ valuable contribution to society and help communities support their pubs. The influential Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is also encouraging citizens to join their ‘Save Our Pubs’ crusade and is fighting tax increases on beer in pubs.
    Thankfully a good number of Brits still appreciate a proper pint and have the upmost respect for the pub tradition. The prospect of our pubs truly vanishing may not be imminent, though changes are inevitable. Go on and do your part, visit a traditional British pub. Just in case you need some inspiration, we’ve selected 10 of the best for you, 5 in London and 5 in Edinburgh. Cheers!
    photo: Jim Linwood / flickr

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