The death of the pub

How are your local ones doing?

800 a year closing at the minute, apparently. Very sad. Especially as breweries just buy them and pump out shite beer.

I think there’s enough evidence that lots of good pubs are doing well and bad pubs…aren’t, but most still have a civic value and I think we forget that sometimes. Course, people are feeling the pinch, but they still want a good pint and the camaraderie.

The country is changing quite quickly as well. Young people are drinking a lot less, more and more people don’t drink for a variety of reasons, and coupled with the squeeze on low earners and the costs of supermarket beer it’s just a very unstable time, especially factoring in the unique situation with energy prices, which I’d imagine has been the biggest single factor on more shutting their doors.

Makes me sad, though. Don’t think people quite realise how devastated lots of communities have become. People only really talk about gentrification when it effects their own rent, but the country has turned its back on swathes of working class people, and whilst the government should bear the brunt of the blame for that, there are other factors.


Where my family is from is a massive council estate there used to be loads of pubs there, they were the hubs of the community, obv they had issues with drugs and violence but there is zero pubs there now.

20,000 people live there


(theres way, way too many pubs)
I do like them though so why not have more, obviously doomed mind

It feels like Liverpool is bucking the trend, not just because lots of stag and hen do-oriented bars keep opening (and the really do) but also as a result of the efforts of a pub entrepreneur called Rob Gutmann, who was responsible for the refurbishment of The Vines on Lime Street. It’s a stunner, probably even more impressive than the famous Philharmonic, and seems to keep the CAMRA lot happy with lots of real ale. His firm also founded The Red Lion, a genuine new proper pub in a formerly derelict Georgian townhouse on Slater St. It’s a pleasant alternative to the seedy, student-oriented bars nearby.

It is of course a bit weird that this one man has such a strong grip on a particular type of nightlife in the city, but it’s the way it’s been going for years tbh with companies like JSM owning nearly the entirety of the Ropewalks area.

Go outside the city centre though and things are very different, especially on former pub havens like Scotty Road. It’s so centralised atm.


I’m teetotal (always have been) and still love pubs for that very reason.


Problem is it’s the best pubs and the ones that cater to the most people that are going to suffer most. Expensive posh places where it’s £15 for a glass of wine and £40 for a steak will be fine cause people that go there can still afford to, and their trade is made up more of one-off customers rather than repeat ones. Also the really cheap chains and social clubs that can afford to charge £2.50 a pint will be ok, cause more and more customers will go there because a) money is tighter and b) there are few other options. So it’s the places in the middle, traditional pubs mainly where you can still get dinner and a pint for £20 or so, that have large groups of regular customers that are starting to lose out and mostly the ones that are closing or being bought by bigger pubcos and chains.

At my work our customers are mainly doing ok but then we’re in a very touristy area where (some) residents and holidaymakers are possibly more affluent than the national average. What we are seeing though, especially this summer, is a big shift towards people staying in and drinking at home rather than going to the pub. The percentage split between the on and off license trade has closed dramatically and we get a lot more orders for cask beer for parties etc where people would have traditionally gone to the pub instead.

Pubs are great, go to them whenever you can.


Hate drinking at home unless we’ve got pals over. But also pubs are pricey. Doesn’t stop me going. Although I should probably stop going on school nights.

(There are many pubs around here)

Question for people who have been abroad:

You know how in the England pubs are the place you are allowed to be chill and talk to strangers and people’s behaviours soften a bit and are modified? What happens in countries that don’t have pubs? Does that energy get transferred to a different specific place or is it just dissipated generally throughout life?

the high street in my town is holding on quite well, all the old pubs are still going and there’s a few new craft type places, but almost all the pubs that aren’t on the main stretch have gone now.

used to have two or three on all the estates, my local is half a mile away now. terrible

Pub culture isn’t much of a thing in Sweden - people go round to each others’ places a lot more, and there’s a bit more of a cafe and restaurant culture I think.


That’s cool. Do people chat to strangers in a cafe? I feel like here cafes are just for chatting to your pre-cafe entering group

My local - The Traf - actually just reopened. It had been community-owned since I moved to the area 10 years ago, but closed during lockdown. The plot was auctioned off but the buyer couldn’t get the council to agree to let him change the use of the site. So he leased it back to the previous owner, and it’s back! Happy days, although I am astounded that it happened. It seems like property developers always get their way when it comes to knocking down pubs.

My part of London is weird for pubs. You basically have either enormous places owned by ‘breweries’ like Young’s selling pints of lager for £7 and are primarily venues for a night out with no discernable regulars, or more community-oriented places like my local which offer a pint for £3.60, but whose regulars are pretty old and starting to dwindle in numbers. Lots of the people who use the former won’t use the latter which I think is a real shame, although I get it - pubs full of 60-70 y/o (mostly) men, that don’t serve food, may not be that welcoming of kids etc etc aren’t exactly inviting. But I wish we could all meet halfway somehow, because once those places go it’s incredibly rare for them to come back.

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Not really no, but small talk or chatting to strangers isn’t really much of a Swedish cultural thing.

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Before contributing too much, Brighton is a bit of an outlier when it comes to pubs - it’s got one of the highest densities of pubs in the country, and I imagine it’s relationship with alcohol is quite different to a lot of other places too. So when I reply and talk about how things are here, I fully appreciate that the rest of the country may well be experiencing thing differently

From what I can see here, it’s the opposite that’s the case. The ones that have closed are the ones who have problem customers that management haven’t been able to address (or in some cases have encouraged). Off the top of my head, the ones that have closed recently here have been where drug dealing has been openly happening in the pubs and either they’ve been closed down because of it, or the drugs have resulted in an incident which has led to closure

The other closures here have been where there’s been a big change in demographic, areas which would have had people coming to drink who now wouldn’t, or where big pub chains have come in thinking that they can just plonk themselves into a pub only to find actually a good pub needs a good manager and attention to the customers - in the past six months Hove lost it’s big Wetherspoons, and a pub called the Green Dragon - which had got taken back by it’s pub co and turned into something generic - went under

That’s a completely different thing to pubs closing cause of financial difficulties though. Pubs have always been closed down cause of illegal activity, it’s a separate issue to what I was talking about.

Yeah this is a good point, a lot of problems with pubs are due to poor staffing in superior positions, which again can lead back to poor wages offered, poor treatment of staff etc too.

Having been to many countries, it seems quite common in the warmer ones where there is no real 'drinking culture ’ that men (and it usually is men) often just sit together in cafes or public squares for an hour or so in the early evening to shoot the shit before going home to their homes.


Yeah, I’d agree with this. There are loads of pubs near me (I live in a fairly central studenty part of town) and a handful have closed, but those that have just didn’t really work for whatever reason (remember walking into one and knowing instantly that it wouldn’t last - it’s now a yoga studio).

Think a spate of closures over the next few years wouldn’t surprise me at all given that a lot of landlords got their rent reduced over Covid in exchange for signing longer leases. Now those agreements are coming to an end I think a lot of landlords who have wanted to pack it in for a while might give up, and a lot more probably won’t be able to cope with costs going up yet again.

the problem is that the shitter pubs that are closing still had capacity

the good pubs will get even busier - which means they’re less good

particularly if (like me) you hate busy pubs 99% of the time

The problem is that not enough pubs have Landlord on tap