Wednesday 29 December 2010

Pubs can still work

The prolonged holiday between Christmas and New Year always seems to tempt a few people out to visit pubs who might not normally do so, and produces some encouraging scenes of pubs doing a good trade. One was in a well-known pub on the edge of the Stockport built-up area, which had been ticking over nicely at lunchtime, and where it was good to see at about 1.45 pm a party of five youngish people come in, settle themselves around a table near the fire and enquire whether food was still being served (it was). Not a pint between them, and no cask beer either, but even so it was a new generation rediscovering what pubs are about.

I also called in Sam Smiths’ Boar’s Head on Stockport Market Place, where the experience was a carbon copy of two years ago. Absolutely heaving, with hardly a seat to be had, the clientele still predominantly male, working class and over 40. It’s rare now to see a pub with so many pint glasses on tables. The day being a bank holiday, I don’t think they were serving any food either. Of course, Old Brewery Bitter at £1.43 a pint does help, but its success is down to far more than just cheap beer.

But, on the other hand, I went in a Good Beer Guide listed pub, to my eye a very pleasant, cosy establishment with a real fire, less than five miles from the centre of a big town, and I was the only customer at one o’clock. No doubt some will say “it’s not a lunchtime type of pub”, but who ever said that twenty years ago, and back then I’m sure there would have been a good buzz of custom.


  1. I've not been in a 'heaving 'pub for years. Last night I went out and visited 3 pubs, about 12 people in total. Often I'm the only person in some pubs and even then I have to wait for a pint!
    I think 2011 will see the demise of hundreds of more pubs as I'm afraid the only saviour in my neck of the woods would be a relaxing of the smoking ban and I don't believe in fairy's.

  2. I don't dispute the point that the general trade of pubs has greatly declined, and the smoking ban has been a significant factor.

    But I have just returned from a pub - the Plough on Heaton Moor, Stockport - that was standing room only from 8 pm to closing time.

    And if you went in the Boar's Head in Stockport on any Saturday at around 3 pm, it would be similar.

    It may not happen as often as it once did, but it still does sometimes.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. Unregistered comments will generally be rejected unless I recognise the author. If you want to comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.