Save our pub!

Will the British pub to become a thing of the past?

Hardly a week goes by when there isn’t a story in the news about the beleaguered state of the pub industry - the last figures we heard suggest 30 a week are closing in the UK. It’s certainly safe to say that pubs are having a pretty tough time at the moment. The pressures on landlords and publicans are numerous - increasing taxation, competition from supermarkets and the smoking ban have all taken their toll in recent years. Various measures to tackle alcohol related illnesses and binge drinking, while laudable, also create negative connotations towards this most British of institutions.

The Nell Gwynne, Covent GardenFor every successful pub, there are others who are struggling and the recession is making things even harder. The business model of large pub companies hasn’t helped; when property prices were rising, pubs were sold off for redevelopment into flats. Now, as the value of their property portfolios falls and profits are down, large numbers of pubs are being sold off to balance the books. Many will remain empty for some time to come. Often the first indication that a pub is under threat is when the shutters come down over the windows and the doors are locked.

One thing is for sure: the demographics of drinking in pubs is changing. Other leisure activities such as the rise of satellite TV have given the humble pub a run for it’s money. City centre pubs will always attract the after-work crowd and the weekend drinkers, so it’s the back-street local’s pub which can suffer the most.

All of this doesn’t mean that the local pub can’t play a important part in people’s social lives. Pubs which are under threat from closure and redevelopment often have campaigns from loyal regulars to try and save them. Indeed, there are numerous examples where people power can have a positive outcome. We can all play a part in protecting this cornerstone of British life and that is why we at Fancyapint? are supporting these campaigns by giving them additional publicity on our site. If you know of any pub under threat or are currently running a campaign of your own, drop us an e-mail at  editor@fancyapint.com.