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.