Ever-increasing energy bills have been one of the dominant stories in the news for weeks if not months. And anyone with a passing interest in pubs will be well aware that many are struggling against a tide of rising costs and competitive pressures. So it comes as something of a surprise to find so many pubs where the owners can afford to heat them, not just to be comfortably warm, but to be oppressively hot. It’s not all or most pubs, but certainly a significant minority, and in my experience the overheated pub in winter is considerably more common than the chilly one. Indeed I pointed this out fifteen years ago.
It’s sometimes claimed this is a trick to encourage people to drink faster, but in reality most pub customers have a ration that they stick to and some may even be prompted to move elsewhere if they feel uncomfortable. And, while there may be a need to replace heat lost by the frequent opening and closing of doors, that doesn’t mean you need to turn cosy areas well away from the main entrance into saunas.
It seems to stem from the same mentality that leads people to whinge about fuel poverty while still expecting to be able to sit around the house wearing a T-shirt in the middle of winter. Perhaps if pub operators were a little bit more careful in controlling their costs they wouldn’t find themselves in such financial straits. And if they say “we can’t make it pay”, maybe it needs to be questioned where they chose to set their thermostat.