As an American, living in England I’ve learned to enjoy one of the best parts of their culture, The Pub. Nothing beats sitting in one of these traditional public houses with friends chatting away and sipping wine as the day goes by. With the world financial crisis stripping everyone’s spare cash down to the minimum, Pubs have sadly seen a sharp decline in business. Recently, it was announced that over the coming year, nearly 4000 pubs across Britain could face closure. The announcement has brought a wide range of reactions from across the country. Some applaud the decision while other community members are scrambling to get their establishments listed and protected from closure and destruction. So why the need to close so many pubs? The reasons are as mixed and varied as the establishments at risk.
Although the closures spell bad news for pub workers, there are many that applaud the decision. Many of the pubs that are set for the cull are doing poor trade due to being outdated. Many have outdated decor, serve marginal food and offer a very limited selection of drinks. People spend their hard earned money in these establishments. When funds are limited many would rather spend an evening at home than in a place where the atmosphere is shabby and behind the times.
Money Magazine states that the average price for a pint of ale in the UK is £3.50. With high prices and a slow economy even good pubs are struggling to get people through the door. With money tight, many opt for having friends over rather than meeting at a pub. Supermarket prices for alcohol come in far lower than pub prices. Plus, you have free access to television and a place to sleep if needed to avoid driving.
In recent years, standards for pubs have been raised, according to Money Magazine. Staff are offered training and now can even earn vocational certificates in hospitality. Good pubs work to insure high quality products and services. With highly trained wait and cooking staff the pub business is becoming more competitive. Those that lag behind will likely soon see their doors closing.
As an American who has adopted England as home I find it sad that so many establishments are at risk of closing. Still the news isn’t all bad. Although up to 4000 are at risk of closing another 1000 are set to re-open under new licensees. Some of these new pubs will open in old, abandoned establishments to give them a new lease on life. With the threat of closure looming, some of the 4000 may also find its time to get out of the past and move with the times.