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NY Times: "Saving an Endangered British Species: The Pub"

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by spoony, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. spoony

    spoony Champion (770) Colorado Aug 1, 2012 Beer Trader

    Sad to see the pub on the decline:

    Any British BAs care to weigh in?
  2. zid

    zid Advocate (715) New York Feb 15, 2010 Beer Trader

    "asset of community value" <-- love that
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
    djl9701 and cello like this.
  3. michman

    michman Savant (335) Illinois Oct 14, 2005

    this makes me cringe. a good british pub is one of the things that makes life worth living.
    HKUSPC40, hopsputin and JuicesFlowing like this.
  4. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poobah (1,065) Wisconsin Nov 16, 2012 Beer Trader

    I noticed this on my last visit to London in 2010, compared to my previous before that in I think 2005. It was pretty noticeable even back then, and it makes sense because of the 2008 financial crisis. Huh.
  5. Ilovelampandbeer

    Ilovelampandbeer Champion (790) New York Aug 25, 2013 Beer Trader

    open the ports! you're welcome here brits :)
    ONovoMexicano likes this.
  6. I'd like to see an authentic British Pub in Boston.
    Ljudsignal and cavedave like this.
  7. smakawhat

    smakawhat Poobah (1,310) Maryland Mar 18, 2008 Subscriber

    Pub culture in UK from what I have read and people who have visited is really struggling... it's been like this for many years... (sounds unfortunate)...
  8. Doubtful. We've already reached the point that one man interviewed in the piece fears:

    "We’re either all going to wander the streets like zombies or stay indoors and not see each other ever again"
  9. Various reasons; many pubs in the wrong place such as opposite a factory or steelworks that isn't there any longer, new roads which bypass old inns,localities which have changed.Add the pubcos which often paid too much for the buildings and want to get their money back , the reduction in disposable income and cheaper supermarket beer.If you can get the same stuff in the supermarket as in the pub but at half the price the pubs will suffer. That's why cask beer is so important as to all intents and purposes you have to go to the pub for it.
    Yet despite all these problems we've seen many struggling pubs revived and flourishing. I just wish that more of our country pubs opened at lunchtime these days.
    russpowell, beerme411, Beezee and 6 others like this.
  10. This is sad to me. As someone that has always dreamed of spending an afternoon/evening/night of drinking session strength bitters and porters at a pub in England, I fear that my opportunities to do so are disappearing and fast.
    quazi and fugazidps like this.
  11. rollom

    rollom Advocate (740) New York Jan 22, 2011 Beer Trader

    It is sad, but I suppose it's also a sign of the times. There's nothing better than a good local, and those that fall on hard times deserve to be supported by the community.

    But.... plenty of bad pubs out there too. Not every pub in the UK is the idyllic sleeping-dog-by-fire-with-friendly-locals-and-great-cask-beer type place that people imagine.

    All I hope is that through a combination of a solid reputation, and evolving with the times, the good examples will be able to keep their doors open, while it's the relics that fall by the wayside.

    Don't get me wrong, on a selfish level level I hope some of my favourite pubs remain unchanged. But I'd rather they stayed open following a bit of tasteful modernising, rather than closing. We can't stay in the mid 20th century forever.

    Having said all that - a pub evolving is one thing, but some of these gastropubs popping up out of nowhere is something else. I was back in Edinburgh for Christmas, and went to a place called the Scran and Scallie. Admittedly it was in Stockbridge so my expectations should have been at a certain level, but still I really disliked it. It wasn't even in a pre-existing pub space (was an Italian restaurant when I lived there), but had been decked out to look like "ye old pub that has been here for centuries". Difference between this place and a real old pub though: 4.50GBP pints, 15.50GBP steak pies (under the "yer mains" section of the menu - puke), and table service. The place was twee and overpriced. Something I'd expect to see in NYC (think spotted pig) rather than Edinburgh.

    Lastly - villages/countryside will hopefully remain a bastion for good pubs for a while to come. I would of thought this issue is confined more to cities.
    fugazidps, VonZipper and Tut like this.
  12. We should start one in Cambridge!
    Providence likes this.
  13. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Advocate (635) New Jersey Mar 6, 2008 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Everybody changes even the British, it just takes them longer.
  14. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Poobah (1,265) New Mexico Jun 14, 2012 Subscriber Beer Trader

    When I read the article, I kept hoping there'd be mention of Brewdog, since my understand they're popping up everywhere. I feel that should have been part of the story, at least to contrast in the form of new development. In the same vein, there should have been discussion about whether the UK is experiencing their own craft boom with new breweries popping up and if that in some ways offsets and negates the disappearance of locals.
  15. Our own craft boom has been going for several decades now (it probably began here).We have around 1200 breweries which in a population of 60 million is quite healthy (though nothing like the 30 000 in Victorian times!) and there are still 40 000 or so pubs.There are still pubs being created, it's not all negative.Wetherspoons commonly converts places like banks or even churches into successful pubs as well as turning round struggling ones.
  16. StuartCarter

    StuartCarter Savant (495) Alabama Apr 25, 2006

    rollom likes this.
  17. Just let all of this be an object lesson to us all to support the "real" places amongst us. I know where mine are!
  18. Thads324

    Thads324 Savant (410) Connecticut Jan 21, 2010

    I feel like half the issue is patronage. If locals make a place and mold it to what they desire that's what you'll get. Times are changing sure. But everything comes back around, just like leg warmers and neon, the original pub will come back with a vengeance...just give it time and support the ones that are still rockin hard and proper.
    djl9701 likes this.
  19. AlienSwineFlu

    AlienSwineFlu Advocate (605) Ohio Dec 14, 2012 Beer Trader

    30,000? That's astonishing. Do you have a source for that? Very interesting.
  20. The big problem is when a rural pub closes.In a city there is always another one just round the corner; if the only pub in a village closes that's a tragedy.
    My neighbouring village was in danger of being lost when the owner died;the locals found the £400 000 (around $650 000) necessary to keep it.The photo in the article is a little old.
    this is a shot I took a year or two back;what an improvement!
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  21. AlienSwineFlu likes this.
  22. Hmmm. Privatizing/deregulation turning a cherished institution over to a corporate oligopoly that is slowly selling it off to the highest bidder, communities or public will be damned. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned there?
  23. Tut

    Tut Savant (495) New York Sep 23, 2004

    It's impossible to have an "authentic" British pub outside of Britain. Even the best are just Disney World caricatures of the real thing.
    jesskidden and rollom like this.
  24. Tut

    Tut Savant (495) New York Sep 23, 2004

    Relax. It's a very real problem, but there's an alarmist element to the story as well. I travel there often, with my most recent visit last summer. I always have plenty of choices of good cask ale pubs to enjoy wherever I am. Many are historic gems. If I'm in a city of any size, my only problem is not having nearly enough time to visit them all.
    herrburgess likes this.
  25. That's certainly encouraging, however given the fact that I may not make it to England for many years, I am still concerned with this trend. Obviously I don't think they'll be extinct, especially given what you and others have said, but even if they are not as ubiquitous as they once were, it's still a shame.
    Tut likes this.
  26. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Advocate (635) New Jersey Mar 6, 2008 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Expect for the cask Ale what is so great about a British pub?
  27. Tut

    Tut Savant (495) New York Sep 23, 2004

    I love Edinburgh and it's many wonderful pubs. Bennett's Bar and Leslie's among many great ones.
    Zimbo and rollom like this.
  28. Tut

    Tut Savant (495) New York Sep 23, 2004

    Only someone who has never experienced one would ask that. I can't effectively explain it. A combination of history, tradition, architecture, atmosphere, culture, and craic. Go there and find out. It can't be exported.
  29. steveh

    steveh Champion (970) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Though I do expect it too... Except for cask ale? Camaraderie, ambiance, relaxation, fellowship -- many of the same things we used to have at corner taverns here in the U.S. Of course, there's also good pub food at the spots that serve -- I certainly had no qualms at enjoying the food as a good cask ale balance.

    Spending an afternoon in an English pub -- large or small, is something all BAs should experience.

    @Providence -- this means you! Get yourself over to London for a long weekend and wander around -- you're much closer than I. Book a room at the Tavistock and hike around the corner to the Friend at Hand and say hello for me. First English pub I ever visited and I'll never forget.
    StuartCarter, chinochino, Tut and 2 others like this.
  30. steveh

    steveh Champion (970) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Oh man -- flirting with cross-cultural trouble there! ;) But the English must have a word for it too...

    Well said.
    russpowell and Tut like this.
  31. rollom

    rollom Advocate (740) New York Jan 22, 2011 Beer Trader

  32. The experience. Having a hand-pulled pint in a centuries old stone building, complete with low archways and weird little rooms branching off the main is an exprience I'll never forget, and certainly one that can't be replicated in the U.S.
    StuartCarter likes this.
  33. steveh

    steveh Champion (970) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Eh... Craic is more than banter, it's equivalent to the German Gemütlichkeit in that the definition is more of a feeling than just words.

    But I see that Craic has origins in Northern England and Southern Scotland too, so I suppose use in traditional English pub explanation is acceptable.
    Tut likes this.
  34. Tut

    Tut Savant (495) New York Sep 23, 2004

    There's craic in a good English pub - it's just more reserved and proper. ;)
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  35. steveh

    steveh Champion (970) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Salisbury, The Haunch of Venison.
  36. steveh

    steveh Champion (970) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    You obviously haven't been to some of the English pubs I visited... or the Irish pubs! :D
    Tut likes this.
  37. rollom

    rollom Advocate (740) New York Jan 22, 2011 Beer Trader

    hey man - was just trying to come up with something
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  38. steveh

    steveh Champion (970) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    And it's obvious you've been there to do that, to which I say again: Spending an afternoon in an English pub -- large or small, is something all BAs should experience.
    Tut and rollom like this.
  39. Tut

    Tut Savant (495) New York Sep 23, 2004

    An evening session is always better.
  40. Not the typical English pub but being only six miles from my home I know it well :)

    The first 55 seconds or so are not really relevant
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
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