For example, we have lost the Reddish Vale in Reddish, the Bromale in Bramhall, the Cotton Tree in Withington, the Fallowfield in Fallowfield and the Sylvan Inn in Timperley (illustrated). No doubt you can think of plenty more in and around your local area. Places like Edgeley and Hazel Grove have seen the closure of pubs in the backstreets like the Hollywood, the Gardeners Arms and the Royal Oak, while they continue in business in significant numbers on their main streets. For each individual pub you might say that it wasn’t well run, or didn’t receive any investment, or the area went downhill, or the ethnic mix changed, but across the board there’s a consistent pattern.
I’ve written in the past that coming home from work, having your tea and then going out to the local has never been quite such a universal pattern of pubgoing as often imagined. And, while I make no claim for this poll being scientific, the respondents seemed to favour after-work drinking which doesn’t tend to take place in residential locals. Even if people are going out for a drink later in the evening, they will often favour village and town centres where there is a choice of venues and a bit of a buzz. How many of the drinkers in the Crown and the Magnet in Stockport will have passed numerous pubs nearer to their houses to get there? All the cluster of new bars in Chorlton are on the main shopping streets, not tucked away in isolation in backwoods shopping parades.
Plenty of people will still see ease of access as a good reason for visiting a pub, but it has to have something else going for it as well. If your local pub actually is good, then why not? But if the only reason you’re going there is because it’s on your doorstep, then it’s already lost the battle. In some cases, pubs of this type that are situated on main roads have been able to survive by adding a substantial food trade to their mix, but that doesn’t work for all and is very much dependent on the area. But it should not be underestimated how much sheer visibility adds to a pub’s prospects – the simple act of regularly passing it in a car, or on a bus, makes it much more likely you will consider visiting it on another occasion.