The majority of Britons now don’t feel they have a 'local' - but traditional pubs still dominate
There were over 17,000 fewer pubs in 2011 than in 1982 in the UK, and 26 pubs now close across Britain every week. Despite the outsider view that the Great British pub is “still the centre of social life in England” (according to the Lonely Planet guide) new YouGov research finds that the British public are mostly now without a 'local'.
Pubs in decline
The majority (57%) of GB adults say there is no particular pub they would call their ‘local’ while only 38% say there is and 5% are not sure. The statistic is uniform across gender, age and region.
Most people (53%) think the decline in the number of pubs in recent years is bad, while only 13% are pleased.
A recent YouGov market intelligence report found that 63% say the pub is no longer the heart of the community – a view even shared by 55% of 18-24 year olds, though more prominent among those drinking in the heyday of British pubs. 40% also think pubs should do more to help organise local festivals and community events.
Traditional Pubs still desirable
All hope is not lost however. Despite the worry that the relaxation of opening hours would create a trend towards late-night bars, the pub is still second only to the restaurant as the most popular venue for a social occasion. 30% say they go to a pub most often for social occasions while only 4% prefer bars and 2% prefer nightclubs.
Despite the recent surge in chain pubs able to offer beer at low costs, it is still tradition that Britons look for in a drinking establishment.
The most popular kind of watering-hole is the "country pub" (cosy, quiet, countryside setting), favoured by 43% of Britons. Following closely behind is the "traditional pub" (no frills, traditional decor, local crowd), which is preferred by 38% and, interestingly, is even the most popular establishment among 18-24 year olds.
Chain pubs (inexpensive beer, more modern, no frills), in fact, are only preferred by 15% - the same amount as who favour gastropubs – though unsurprisingly are more popular among the young.
While predicting that between 2,500 to 4,000 pubs will close in the next year (to be replaced by only 1,000), the Good Pub Guide recently claimed: "The bad pubs are still being culled, just like lions pick off the slowest of the herd… It makes the pub industry more robust and far better placed for the future.”
However the editor of the Campaign for Real Ale's 2014 Good Beer Guide added: "How bizarre that a book called the Good Pub Guide should welcome the closure of as many as 4,000 pubs. Pubs need to be saved, not thrown on the scrapheap.”