Saturday, 2 January 2010

Faith in the future

Well, maybe, as suggested in the comments here, it was a bit of a limited poll, but it’s ended anyway. The question was “Will we see closed pubs reopening in significant numbers during 2010?” and the 48 responses were a fairly overwhelming:

Yes: 2 (4%)
No: 46 (96%)

Clearly even the most diehard pub enthusiasts see the tidal wave of closures of the past two and a half years as an irreversible process. The next year may see a few flashes in the doldrums as struggling pub company outlets are sold off to more enterprising free trade owners, but I honestly doubt whether we will see much respite in the overall pace of closures. It even seems to have got to Stockport at last, with the Olde Woolpack and Town Hall Tavern having been boarded up in recent weeks, and a number of town centre pubs giving the impression of being very shaky.

I have been accused of tailoring polls to the anti-smoking-ban lobby (which is NOT the same as "pro-smokers") but I assure you that the latest one on where you tend to drink was motivated by comments on Tandleman’s blog about too many beer bloggers being mainly at-home drinkers. “Most (but by no means all) bloggers are home drinkers and really need to get out more”, he says.

I also have to say that a few of the anti-ban comments that have appeared on this blog border on the ridiculous. If you genuinely feel that your enjoyment of pubs has been hugely eroded by the smoking ban and you rarely visit them any more, then fair enough, I respect and sympathise with that point of view. If you assert that you NEVER visit pubs because they now offer NOTHING for you then I have to conclude you are a bit of a ranting loon. One commenter said that after the ban he never visited pubs or restaurants at all. It must be a rather limited life if you have to eat all your meals at home.


  1. I'm afraid the smoking ban co-joined with the cold weather has stopped me going to the local. It's preferable to be able to drink and smoke in the comfort of my own home, where I make the rules.

  2. I used to do 7 nights a week,5
    with my wife for the 30 years upto
    July 07. My wife now stays in and I
    chance the odd night luckily being
    able to withstand any kind of weather My wife ,a pensioner and her female friends have a simple
    message for the so called "MEN" who
    still frequent the cafes they like to call pubs.
    What cowardly,spineless,chicken hearted,yellow streaked "men" regulariy
    patronise venues which make old women,old soldiers,cripples stand in car parks and back yards.
    Just what kind of low life lets their wife ,their sister,their mother,their grandmother be treated like vermin
    Hardly surprising that real men have deserted the pubs,who wants
    to drink with the White Feather

    One of the few

  3. Banning smoking in restaurants would have been perfectly understandable. In fact, the 2005 Labour manifesto pledge (the one we voted on) was acceptable too.

    Yes, the decadent time-honoured delight in enjoying a cigar, after a rich meal, with one's chosen liqueur would be lost forever, but if it quells the shrill voice, then fine.

    I have to say, though, as a pubgoer for nearly 30 years, and having run one or two, that post-2007 pubs really do offer me nothing anymore that I can't get at home.

    I've got a bank account, a fridge, and can invite friends around here. Not much else needed. The only difference is that pubs are now supposed to serve food, and I have a pretty decent oven, hob and grill too. I'd cook it myself if I required that, but that's not why I used to go to pubs.

    The ban has made me realise that I really didn't need pubs at all prior to 2007, I just thought I did.

    In that, it has been a huge success and has saved me a fortune. Still think it's shite though. ;-)

  4. As a rantin loon,I agree with the 3 prevous comments.I miss having A drink with friends and family in the local.It`s the lies and exagerations about shs that really hurt,When I run passed the local bingo hall and see maybe 100 women standing outside in the cold or the old men standing outside the pub that hurt turns to anger and I think any place that allows this will never see A penny of my money.

  5. Well, it's your choice - if you want to persuade others to change things, you have to argue your case in a way that will convince them.

    However, if all you want to do is cut off your own nose to spite your face, go ahead, be a ranting loon.

  6. I'll say this Mudgie, debates about the smoking ban certainly bring out the crazies.

  7. It could well have been me who said he had never visited pubs or restaurants since the smoking ban. I tried but got no enjoyment from it. I miss cafes most of all and do still patronise them in summer when I can sit outside. If everyone who objected to the smoking ban boycotted pubs for just a month, it would be overturned. I don't have much sympathathy for publicans who, with a few exceptions, put up no resistance to the ban.

  8. Nice sweeping ad hom, John Clarke. I know yours is the non-committal kneejerk that has come to be expected, but have you seriously nothing more to add than that? A thought-provoking rebuttal, perhaps?


  9. "The ban has made me realise that I really didn't need pubs at all prior to 2007, I just thought I did.

    In that, it has been a huge success and has saved me a fortune."

    Having friends over and being invited
    to get togethers took away most of the negative impact of being pub free.
    Saving money is a big bonus.
    Forced to stand outside made the choice easy.
    Mixing with strangers is the part I am missing the most, but adapting to be pub free is more pleasant than I thought it would be.


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