There's a good – if somewhat elegiac – article here in the Times by Melanie Reid.
Pubs have been around since the 11th century but unstoppable 21st-century social forces - drink-driving legislation, the smoking ban, the internet, cheap supermarket booze - are killing them. Drinking, instead of being a public, moderate thing, is being done to extreme at home - and more people are dying of cirrhosis as a result. (At least when you drink yourself to death in a pub, you have a few laughs and lots of people come to your funeral.)But the point must be made that the decline of pubs is due to a multiplicity of social changes and they cannot simply be legislated back into rude health. Even if the price of off-trade booze was doubled overnight, I doubt whether it would save more than a handful of pubs.
In tidying up society, making it neater, shinier, healthier and safer, something has been lost. I think it's called soul. Pubs are repositories of character and contact: messy, funny, traditional, politically incorrect places, which beat Facebook and YouTube for entertainment every time.