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British Pubs - why so important?

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British Pubs - why so important?

Old 30th Apr 2021, 16:57
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
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Well said.

A pub used to be a pleasant, comfortable place where people could meet to chat, relax and share news - away from their often cramped domestic arrangements. Owing to the UK's inclement weather, it needed to be somewhere indoors. The local pub was a change of scene, a comfortable "living room" and a haven away from the basic, small homes of many regulars. It also gave the youngsters (of drinking age) an opportunity to learn how to behave as a grown-up and to meet other youngsters and the opposite sex.

All was well. I am lucky - in my previous career, my colleagues and I travelled and stayed throughout the UK as part of our job, and we visited many many pubs. From large noisy London pubs, which were three people deep at the bar, (but you got served quickly and efficiently), to the quiet lovely locals up north with a real fire, two old men and their whippets. And all types of pub in between. But we all knew how to behave. I still proudly remember the landlord of a pub in Nottingham coming over to our table after a couple of hours and saying "I have never seen so many people drink so much ale and be so well behaved". I fondly remember those days, when good pubs were packed full of happy customers, good chat and bonhomie

Then supermarkets were allowed to sell alcohol - big mistake in my view: It killed the Off - Licence trade and some of the pub trade. The corporations and breweries started getting hold of it all and to keep people coming in they started playing music and bloody SKY sports to draw in the "punter", who more often than not was a lout who had money, but did not know how to behave and could not hold their drink. Faced with scenes of football matches where any decision by the referee was met with footballers shouting in the referee's face, these louts took their behaviour cues from there. Doormen were needed, and nice people like us stopped going to those pubs. Prices started climbing to increase short term profits and make up for the drop in customers - they now charge obscene amounts for beer. Especially soft drinks the driver has to have - really stupid prices for bottles of fizzy water and sugar. It is just not worth driving to a pub really, unless there is good food - but that makes it a restaurant.

So they have killed the goose (geese) that laid the golden egg.

Another thing that bugs me these days is when you find a nice quiet pub, but customers show each other You Tube clips on their phones. You find somewhere pleasant for a quiet few pints, but then have to listen to the next table playing football videos or Roy Chubby Brown clips to each other at full volume.
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Old 30th Apr 2021, 16:59
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ATNotts View Post
Mr Mac,

As you will know, the big difference between a German Gasthof, Lokal or Kneipe is that many are family owned through generations whereas in UK even most village and community pubs are corporate and all about the corporate profit and return on investment. I detest the chain pubs with the homogenised decor and rubbish van delivered food.

Add to that the British attitude to / relationship with alcohol I rarely frequent pubs these days.
ATN
Interesting that the pub in the village where we used to live had been in the same family (and still) is since 1950,s so you maybe onto something. As for the cooperate pub no thank you, I prefer individually owned ones and some conversation rather than TV and slot machines. I make exceptions to the the TV during autumn Rugby internationals and 6 Nations (so I am a little two faced about that) though given the times of those matches it tends to be a different crowd in the pub anyway, however I cannot always be present given work commitments. I am soon going to be able to have my own stein in my local here in Munich apparently which are kept under lock and key.

Cheers
Mr Mac
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Old 30th Apr 2021, 17:03
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Uplinker
There should be a like button on here.
Cheers
Mr Mac
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Old 30th Apr 2021, 20:24
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Far too many of these speciality/ cottage industry beers being produced at present in my opinion. They mostly detract from the good old traditional pint.
Was recently invited to a local club for a pint, but at the moment is only serving larger and canned beers. “Yes please” I’ll have a Hobgoblin and sit outside in the yard with a strong easterly blowing freezing my nuts off. Enjoyment- not. And to cap it all the beer was a Gold version ie citrus hops....Yuk, not ale as far I’m concerned.
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Old 30th Apr 2021, 20:35
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Some of these cunning threads do make me laugh.
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Old 30th Apr 2021, 20:40
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Five by Five, Mr. Mac, referencing Uplinker's superb explication of the pub situation. Sad to report the conditions are quite the same here Stateside. I once owned half-interest in a Bar on a resort island off of the coast of the state of Georgia. One day I shall relate the experience to PPRuNe, but as a hint I'll tell you that to drum up business in the off-season [when the "Tourons" (tourist + moron = touron)] had gone home, we offered three-for-one drinks for a total price of $3.50! My partner and I still made money on every bottle and tap in the place. The Good Old Days, what?

Here's to Health, Wealth, and Happiness, and the Time to enjoy them!

- Ed
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Old 30th Apr 2021, 21:02
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Supermarket canned beers believe it or not don't interest me. Well perhaps a couple of Export cans a week. Home is not for getting tanked up even when the Sport is on...
Pubs are for convivial social with friends and family spaced over time with beer wine and a light snack
However when on a away day / weekend with the lads for sport, fishing or golf a couple of extras would be consumed BUT little and occasional is the way forward
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Old 30th Apr 2021, 23:06
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Effluent Man View Post
judging by their clientele I would want paying to drink there. Old fellas with yellow beards drinking at 10am.
A little condescending if you don't mind me saying so.
Yes, Wetherspoons gets a bad press, but they frequently take over old buildings that are rotting away, and give them a new lease of life. Coffee and tea is available for £1 or so, and pensioners, young mums etc can meet up for a chat without being turned out for taking too long over their drink. The food is not gourmet standard, but you do at least know what you are getting. So, in an urban environment, I think Wetherspoons do a good job.
We are fortunate around here to have a few local vilkage pubs that have survived the pandemic, and they are the hub of the local community. A pint will cost around £3.50, and the food will be hot and wholesome. We patronise these pubs as much as we can, and do the same when we travel. It's one of the joy's of driving through the UK, when, around 12:30, you start looking for a pub where you can stop for lunch.
Cafe culture is all well and good, but give me a roaring log fire in winter in a snug, or a beer garden in the summer any day!

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Old 1st May 2021, 01:09
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Chesty Morgan View Post
They generally keep the unemployed oiks of the community off the streets for most of the day.
Not at five quid a pint.
The unemployed will be nursing a couple of cans sat at home not propping up the bar at a local.
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Old 1st May 2021, 01:12
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by wowzz View Post
You've obviously not been to Wetherspoons - don't pay more than £2 a pint around here !
We're talking about British Pubs here not converted cinemas with improbably long stairways to the toilets.
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Old 1st May 2021, 01:23
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Support Independent Pubs.

https://neverspoons.app/

If all you can find in an unfamiliar town is a 'Spoons, have a look on Neverspoons, you may be surprised to find a local gem round the corner.
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Old 1st May 2021, 08:32
  #32 (permalink)  
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I'm a regular coffee drinker/breakfaster in Wetherspoons - in fact I enjoyed coffee and a light breakfast in the garden of one yesterday morning. And I'll happily drink in them too when required.

I prefer "proper" pubs and have days out every now and then with a couple of mates, when we travel somewhere by public transport and visit as many hostelries serving real ale (and a cider for me) as we can reasonably fit in - these days it's mostly halves in deference to our ages and the fact we are all retired! Some are excellent, some are crap, most are perfectly OK.

The big thing now - or perhaps I should say little - is the micro pub. If you haven't come across them, they are set up in small shops and sell a range of mostly local ales and ciders, plus a few other libations for those who prefer wine or whatever. They are great. I've been to quite a few around Kent, Surrey and Sussex and some elsewhere, emphasis is on chat over a pint, usually with the owner and anyone else present. I've not been to one I didn't like. I hope they will all have survived lock down...

The Croydon pub I used to frequent has changed immeasurably in recent years - expensive, brash and catering to a younger clientele who seem to believe everything should adapt to them rather than them adapt to somewhere that to me was almost an extension of my sitting room. Haven't been in more than once in the last two years and I don't think I'll go back. Very few of the regulars I knew were there on that occasion... There are no longer any pubs in central Croydon that really appeal to me - more than half of those that I have drunk in over the last forty years have closed for good.

Another thing that has changed is that I doubt I'll drink on a Friday night anymore, certainly not round here.

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Old 1st May 2021, 08:43
  #33 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by TURIN View Post
https://neverspoons.app/

If all you can find in an unfamiliar town is a 'Spoons, have a look on Neverspoons, you may be surprised to find a local gem round the corner.
Looks a useful app that (there is one! ), thanks!

Better for navigating with than my mate's "notes" which can be slightly wayward...
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Old 1st May 2021, 08:57
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Being ' forced ' to meet my mates a couple of times since beer gardens are allowed it has certainly been welcome. Rather than being in the pub and people can overhear conversations, and fresh air. Beer gardens it is then even when insides are allowed

Ps anyone else catch the Liverpool rave up last night 3000 youngsters dancing tbe night away, tested before and after to gauge if any transmission occurred.

Think when we get back to Theatres, MK in Sept for River dance and Sept BMW at Wentworth will be the way forward
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Old 1st May 2021, 10:00
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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There are many reasons for the general decline in “traditional" pubs, but at the top must come most of the pubco’s. The kind of contracts they offer to people to operate their pubs are akin to a type of indentured servitude. There is a constant stream of bright-eyed recruits who think that this business is a way to fortune and fame, only to leave with their tails between their legs a few years later as they didn’t read the small print, or if they did, they didn’t understand it. The only hope is that the supply of hopefuls may dry up at some point, when they realise that the corporations take everything and leave nothing. Business doing well? Up goes the rent. Selling more beer? Up goes the cost. Accounts need doing? Pubco does them for 10x the going rate. Something broken? You fix it. Needs repainting at the end of term? There goes the deposit. And so on.

A “wet” pub (drinks only) is very difficult to make money from unless you are charging £5+ a pint, as by the time you’ve taken the input cost (especially under a Tie), added VAT, staff costs, rates, rent, heating, lighting, repairs, etc. there is very little left. Only institutions who have serious economies of scale and/or can defray the cost in some way can price less than that. There are successful village pubs with lower priced beer but if you looked behind the scenes you’d probably find that they were being subsidised by the local community in some way, e.g. peppercorn rents, low rates, no profit extraction.
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Old 1st May 2021, 10:09
  #36 (permalink)  
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I remember speaking to the landlord of a large pub on the outskirts of Norwich a few years ago - he said business rates (I think) were crippling as they were based on the size of his pub, not on his turnover which was small compared to tiny town centre boozers that were packed most evenings. I don't know if that is still the case...

Just received this survey if anyone would like to take part:

All Party Parliamentary Group on Pubs
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Old 1st May 2021, 10:22
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by FullWings View Post
There are many reasons for the general decline in “traditional" pubs, but at the top must come most of the pubco’s. The kind of contracts they offer to people to operate their pubs are akin to a type of indentured servitude. There is a constant stream of bright-eyed recruits who think that this business is a way to fortune and fame, only to leave with their tails between their legs a few years later as they didn’t read the small print, or if they did, they didn’t understand it. The only hope is that the supply of hopefuls may dry up at some point, when they realise that the corporations take everything and leave nothing. Business doing well? Up goes the rent. Selling more beer? Up goes the cost. Accounts need doing? Pubco does them for 10x the going rate. Something broken? You fix it. Needs repainting at the end of term? There goes the deposit. And so on.

A “wet” pub (drinks only) is very difficult to make money from unless you are charging £5+ a pint, as by the time you’ve taken the input cost (especially under a Tie), added VAT, staff costs, rates, rent, heating, lighting, repairs, etc. there is very little left. Only institutions who have serious economies of scale and/or can defray the cost in some way can price less than that. There are successful village pubs with lower priced beer but if you looked behind the scenes you’d probably find that they were being subsidised by the local community in some way, e.g. peppercorn rents, low rates, no profit extraction.
A few years ago a couple of the "pubcos" were getting rid of some of their - presumably less profitable - pubs. I was asked to have a look at a couple as investments. I came away with the over-riding impression that at the time, part of the business model of the pubcos was to offer leases (particularly on the lower-performing pubs) with ingoing premiums almost exactly equal to the sorts of redundancy payments being made at that time. The incoming, usually inexperienced, tenant, looking to have his/her own business since redundancy frequently left them in a position of finding it difficult to get another job, was encouraged to sign up thinking that the terms were "normal". A couple of years down the line, the tenant can't carry on, gives up the tenancy and the pubco is then free to sell it on to the next person holding a freshly minted redundancy cheque. Was I being too cynical?
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Old 1st May 2021, 11:58
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Was I being too cynical?
When dealing with these companies, I don’t think that’s possible...
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Old 1st May 2021, 12:09
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Saving Britain's Pubs.

If you have access to the BBC iPlayer, have a look at this...https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000pb9j

Well known UK chef Tom Kerridge, pub owner and tv presenter started this series late 2019 to highlight the problem of failing pubs. He is no fan of PubCos.

Well worth a look, Especially to all you BBC whingers.
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Old 1st May 2021, 12:52
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Kerridge. Would he be the bloke that charges £50 for bangers and mash?
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